Website Success Factors
How to Plan Your Website
Building a creative, income producing website requires a plan and several strategies. This article is about the necessary components of website success. You need a compelling brand, on site search engine optimization, an on site content strategy, and the piece de la resistance is the off site strategy to raise your site's PAGERANK and bring traffic to your website.
1. Build Your Brand
It's not enough these days to put up a website banner with text and hope that you'll have a successful website. You only have four seconds to capture visitors' attention so you need to build a strong creative brand to visually entice visitors to stay on the page by focusing on value and benefits.
As consumers, we are spending more of our time on the internet in our quest for products and services we want to purchase, and we are spending far less time in physical stores. Make sure you keep visitors on your site by designing a compelling brand that is creative and stands out from the competition. Think about it. We are bombarded daily with thousands of marketing messages on the internet but we click away from the majority because the visuals are not designed well and they don't hold our interest.
The more expensive your product or service, the more important your brand is for business success. If you have to choose between allocating your budget to advertising versus branding, a professional brand will give you much better return on investment (ROI) than advertising, because you'll repeatedly use your brand over many years. For more information see Why Design and Branding Are Important When Positioning Your Business.
2. Plan Your Website Using On Site Search Engine Optimization
Custom websites are the way to go to attract unsolicited internet traffic. A template website has extraneous code that confuses the search engines while custom websites are built for the product or service you are selling using the right coding and keywords.
Careful thought by the site owner needs to go into the keyword strategy development. This means a careful analysis of the main pages you would like on your website, the keywords associated with each page, and the description of the page content – all these components are programmed into the background of the site. You should work hand in hand with your website developer in making these decisions. For more information see What to Consider When Planning a Website.
3. Plan Your On Site Content Strategy
If the purpose of your website is to sell your products or services rather than act as a static brochure, AND you don't mind continually working on your site, you'll need content to bring traffic. The best known phrase on the internet regarding what makes a website successful is:
Content is King
To stay fresh and relevant and bring traffic you will need either an Articles Page or a Blog hosted ON your website. Be aware that a blog is more costly to add into the website structure than a regular webpage. A blog is also a commitment. If you don't plan to blog at least once per week you could be hurting your reputation by having a blog. You'll hurt your brand if visitors find that your last blog post was made six months ago. This leaves the visitor thinking that the site owner is either unsuccessful or lazy or both.
An Articles Page on the other hand is not date sensitive. Your website developer can add a new article page to your website without time stamping the page or using any special tools. When planning your article content, select one to two keywords per article.
4. Plan Your Off Site Search Engine Optimization Strategy
After you launch your new website it will take time to bring in traffic. Your developer should submit the site to the search engines for you so that they know your site is available. Your site will get many a "look see" from the search engines as they wait to make sure that you are not a fly by nighter or spammer. After a period of six months or so, you should achieve a PAGERANK of 1 or 2. In order to rise to a level of 3 or 4 where you will draw more traffic and close more sales, you will need to invest in a search engine marketing company to build links back to your site. Or you can launch a link building campaign yourself using blog commenting as one of your strategies.
Marketing your site and spending time on link building are essential to the success of your website if you intend to use your site to sell your products or services. I don't know of any websites that were launched and remained at a pagerank of 1 or 2 yet were successful at earning income.
I hope you now have an understanding of website success factors and how to plan your website. You'll need a strong creative brand that communicates values and benefits; you'll need on site search engine optimization to allow the search engines to see your website; you'll need an on site content strategy to bring traffic; and finally you'll need to point ideal clients surfing the internet in the direction of your new website.Good Luck!
About the Author: Dana W. Ball, The Art Guy, is the creator of The Branded Business™, a design process that helps clients sell more of their products or services by illustrating their benefits through branding across print and web. Visit www.ArtGuyCreative.com to learn more.