Owning a website nowadays is pretty important for anyone who wants to be known outside of their community. Whether you are building a website for your own business, a niche website for your favorite hobby, or a blog to let others know what is on your mind, it’s good to know the reality that is involved when you are first getting your website off the ground.
Do your research
The first thing every website owner should do is research their competitors. This is good for getting an idea of what to include on your site that others may not have, design ideas to help you stand out, and to pick apart what they are doing right and what you would do differently. Map out what you want in your website and get some ideas from what other people are doing. I suggest grabbing a white board or cork board and make a rough idea of the flow of your website. What’s included in the menu? Do you have any extras like a forum or a chat? Are you focusing on articles or blog posts?
Build the website with quality in mind
When it comes to building a website it’s always best to look at the differences in popular, high traffic websites and not as popular, low traffic sites. What are some differences that you can see? If you aren’t an amazing web designer look around for someone who is. Don’t just go for the first relative who took a web page development class one semester, look for someone who has experience and a good portfolio. Most people who land on your site will know within the first 5 seconds whether they want to stay and check it out or not. Things like load time, picture quality, and the look and feel of a website is your audience’s first impression so it needs to be a good one. Internet users have short attention spans so you need to grab their attention quick for them to stay!
Content is key
You did your research, your website is built with quality in mind, and the flow of the site is amazing. But people aren’t staying, what’s going on? Check your content. Internet users want to read or look at something that is unique and full of quality. If you are a blogger then you need to provide content that people are interested in and contains grammar that will keep the grammar Nazi’s at bay. If you are selling products, don’t just rely on pictures and reviews, make sure that you have a great description of what you are selling, if you have a niche website make sure your content is original and not saying the same thing that 10 million other websites about your niche is saying. Quality content is key to any website no matter what type it is.
Social media is this generation’s newspapers and radio’s. If you don’t have a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. etc. account then now is the time to sign up. There is a ton of free advertising on the internet so take advantage of it. On top of social media, forums and other websites that offer reviews of products are great too. If your website is about model airplanes then check out some forums and let people know that your website has all the info they need or review some model airplanes on amazon. If you sell homemade clown figurines go on Yelp, Yahoo Local, and Google Places to get your business listed.
Don’t Forget SEO
When I created my website, I had no idea what SEO was. I spent a lot of time researching and learning and I still should have hired someone to do it for me. SEO is search engine optimization, basically you need to get your website optimized with keywords so search engines can find you. Don’t just throw in one or two word keywords throughout your website like “clown figurines” because you will be competing against every person who uses that keyword and you may end up being beat. It’s best to use keyword phrases that link together 3 or more words like “handcrafted clown figurines” or “clown figurines that won’t give you nightmares.” Just some ideas of course! Here’s a nifty chart that will help you master SEO http://searchengineland.com/seotable it’s all about the right combination of keywords, content quality, and more!
Last but not least, have fun! Websites are a lot of work however they can also be very rewarding. Whether you are in it to make money, share information, or just for something to do, your website can become a success as long as you enjoy working on it!