What makes a successful website? Is there a simple recipe we can follow for online success?
You can define success as you wish, but for a successful business website it needs to have two main attributes:
- A continual flow of traffic – not just any traffic, but traffic consisting of visitors who actually have an interest in what the site has to offer (a.k.a. targeted traffic). This traffic might come from a variety of sources, such as paid advertising, links back to your site from content on other sites, referrals and recommendations, search engines, offline content, and so on.
- The ability to monetize that traffic – those visitors – into sales. So whether it happens more immediately or over a longer period of time, you build (or further strengthen) your relationship with the visitor, until purchasing from you seems to be the next logical step for them to take. And once that visitor becomes a customer of course, you then continue to build that relationship, selling them products and/or services of interest to them.
And then once you have those two attributes in place, you can make a successful website increasingly successful by …
- Increasing the flow of traffic … so more visitors for you to convert
- Improving your ability to convert that traffic … so a higher proportion of your visitors purchase from you (and you can take this further too by increasing their frequency of purchase, and increasing the amount they spend with you, but we’ll leave that for another day …)
So that’s what a successful website looks like … but how do you create that in the first place? And where does content marketing come into it?
Here are the five simple ingredients that make up successful business websites:
1. High Value Content
The initial focus of any marketing campaign should be to build up the value of your website. As you do so, you’ll find marketing it becomes a lot easier and more effective … and it’s difficult marketing a site that offers little value to visitors.
Your focus should therefore be on continually increasing the value your website offers to visitors through providing high value content.
For example, just from an SEO perspective:
- You’ll have more content available for search engines to make available for searchers, so your site will start showing up for an increasing number of different queries
- The fact that you have more content and more value to offer your visitors means they will stick around your site for longer (rather than for example immediately clicking back to the search engine to find an alternative site), which has a very positive effect for your site’s rankings
Start building value by creating web pages with information that’s very specific to your niche, whether it’s written content, videos, infographics or other images, surveys, audio and so on (and preferably a mixture of all of them!).
You could start by doing some keyword research to determine the sort of information people in your niche are looking for, and create information to satisfy that need.
[Download our free 8-page guide on How To Do Effective Keyword Research To Optimize Your Content And Attract Your Marketplace – it’s FREE].
2. Effective Delegation
Anything beyond your core competencies should be delegated or outsourced to professionals – firstly, they will do a better job than you could and therefore achieve better results for your business, and secondly, you’ll provide more value to your business by focusing your efforts on the activities you excel at and through which you can offer the most value to your business.
But there’s a third reason too. Activities you don’t like doing or don’t want to do, even when doing them would be beneficial to your business, tend to simply not get done unless you delegate the responsibility for that activity to someone else.
And for many businesses, this includes building up the value of their sites – the actual content creation. So it gets left, their sites remain devoid of any reason for visitors to either stick around or arrive in the first place, and then the site owner’s left wondering why they are stuck for traffic and sales, and why all the marketing they’re doing seems largely ineffective.
So if you don’t like writing or any other aspect of content creation, or if it’s simply not your core competency, get someone else to do it … it’s no excuse to leave your site languishing and unable to achieve its full potential.
Imagine your site for example with 100 pages full of interesting and engaging content that you’ve had created over the previous twelve months, attracting quality, targeted traffic round the clock while you sleep, building trust and credibility with your visitors, and boosting sales conversions (including lots of content you can use to keep in touch with your list and keep them coming back to your site).
Such activity should be central to most businesses’ marketing activities … for those not already doing it, it can be completely transformative. And often the main block is caused by a failure to delegate the tasks involved to those able to take care of them for you and ensure they actually happen.
3. Link Diversity
For good search engine rankings, as well as to attract traffic coming directly from the links, it’s important to not just have a good number of sites linking to you, but to also have link diversity … and to ensure those links come from relevant sources too.
Another benefit of building up high value content on your own site is that other site owners have an increasing number of reasons to link to you (as well as to share your content via social media, another indicator to the search engines of your site’s value).
Using a WordPress blog on your site is one of the easiest ways to both easily build up the value on your site in an ongoing way, and to provide easy mechanisms for other blog owners to link to you. Plus by building up your credibility through your own blog posts, you can gain guest posting opportunities on other blogs within your industry, and thus gain further credibility as well as valuable links to your site.
Other ways to build links in an effective way include press releases, article marketing, video submissions (e.g. video tutorials), social media sources, blog commenting (where you’re contributing in a meaningful way), and forums.
Part of building a relationship with your visitors is building a sense of community with them, so they feel a certain sense of ‘belonging’ with you, and have a level of trust in you above and beyond your competitors. And again, your content creation is absolutely essential to achieving that.
A sense of community can be built for example through forums, people commenting on your blog, social media activities … and interacting with your visitors as much as you can.
But it all starts with content creation … without that regular flow of content, the community finds somewhere else more vibrant to hang out.
A large part of website success comes down to consistency.
For example, compare the following two businesses:
- Business A regularly creates blog posts, sends updates to their list, and interacts with a steadily building community of loyal advocates and followers; and
- Business B that creates the odd blog post every now and again, and sends the odd update to a stale list which has largely forgotten who they are or have ‘moved on’
Which business do you think will be the most successful? Which business would you prefer to be the owner of?
Consistency is at the root of most trusting relationships and breeds commitment, contentment, and credibility.
Practically all effective website marketing is fueled by content creation of some kind … but it’s the consistency of output that makes it pay off in the end, and finding ways of ensuring that consistency will repay you dividends over the long-term.
So there you have it, five simple ingredients for a successful website – high value content, effective delegation, link diversity, community and consistency.
Now it’s down to you – how are going to use these for your own business?