We all want our websites to be successful. But success is not the same for everyone. While for some that would mean millions of visitors that read the posts, for others it would mean a much smaller visitor base, but one that features the right people who turn into customers.
Still, there are plenty of common points that websites with different goals can share in order to achieve success. They are in the same categories, but the way you use them can vary. So, let’s explore how to make a successful website.
Note: In order to achieve that you will need to put in some work. A lot of work. Making a successful website requires a lot of time, dedication and a fair bit of resources. Bear in mind that this is a constant process.
Victory loves preparation
Before you start working on your site, set aside some time to define your goals for it. Knowing what you want to achieve with your side will define a lot of your choices afterwards. For example, if you plan to build an online store, then a WordPress site won’t be suitable for you.
With your goals in place, create a plan of what to do. For example, hosting, domain, site building, content and so on. You can always change the steps in the plan, but you need something to get started with.
Get to know your audience
This is also part of the preparation phase. It means spending some time exploring similar websites to the one you want to make. See what works for them and what doesn’t. Research popular keywords in your niche. Also, look for feedback from users of these sites and see what they liked and didn’t like.
If you are creating a website to promote your company, then you will also want to make sure you include content that’s relevant to your potential customers. For example, starting a themed blog. For an online store, it may be beneficial to have a review section for the products.
Sort out the hosting
Again, this is something that will depend greatly on the type of site. For a shop or another type of site which can expect a lot of visitors, you may need a dedicated server. This way you can get the hardware you need and it will be accessible only to you. Scalable solutions are also an option if you expect bumps of traffic occasionally, but not always. And for simple, company-promoting sites, a regular hosting might be more than enough.
Also, pay attention to the domain. Some hosting providers do offer a free domain with their plans, but then the fine print says you don’t actually own it and if you migrate your hosting, you will have to pay extra.
Others really do provide you with a free domain, but the domain extension might not be the one you need. Most companies opt for .com, but there are uses for other extensions, too and your research will help you decide what’s right for you.
Build it or buy it
Right, it’s time to actually create the site. Here you have so many opportunities that it’s easy to get lost. The decision ultimately rests on your goals and available resources. If you want to show off your company’s technical abilities, then you should probably build the site with your team.
If your goal is to sell, then there are plenty of ready-made platforms out there. And most of them are ready to use as-is, but we recommend that you should add a custom theme or template on it. And if possible, get a professional designer to further spice it up and give it a unique look and feel that reflects your company. The site visitors will instantly recognize the extra effort. This is important for building trust.
Find your groove
A custom look is just one part of building trust among your visitors. The next one is the actual content of your site. It’s what will separate you from the rest. And it can take time to find the right balance between your style and what actually responds well with the visitors and potential customers.
Some may prefer a more serious tone, while others might like more of a lighthearted feel to the content. So, be patient and try out different styles to find one that reflects your company and goals but is also relatable to the visitors and customers.
Explore the use of quality images and videos. The exact combination will depend on the type of site, but quality visuals can really set you apart. Just don’t overdo it.
After you’ve built the site and added some content to it, it’s time to optimize everything. This means basically going over the site and looking for any mistakes, issues or missing bits. But that’s just the start.
The next step would be to run optimization plugins and features (they can vary greatly depending on the type of hosting and platform you’ve used). Run optimizations for the database, compress the images. Your goal is to have a site that loads fast but is also stable and doesn’t use too many system resources. Also, run an SEO check and see what you can be further improved.
Running optimizations will mean you will most likely have to change some things on your site. This is why it’s very important to review the site after the optimizations are done. Explore once again if everything works as intended. It’s not rare to change something on the site, for example, deferring JS scripts and as a result something doesn’t work like it should. In this case you should add an exclusion rule for the problem JS script or see if you can change it to restore proper functionality.
As you can see, the review process might take some time and can get quite complex. Still, it’s a very important part of building a successful website. Everything has to work properly, otherwise the site will get penalized by search engines and visitors. Usability and user experience are critical. Make sure all of the important information is easily accessible by the users.
What is the point of doing all of that hard work and then not having enough people to actually see it? So, the next very important step for a successful website is to actually popularize it. There is a plethora of ways you can do that. The easiest (and most expensive) is to simply pay for some ads to get your site on top of search results and be marketed to relevant users on social media.
However, it’s not that easy. You still have to really know your audience and goals in order to create relevant ads which you can then target to the right people. This by itself can take a fair bit of trial and error and the results might not be what you expect. Plus, the results will be temporary. As you stop the ads, the majority of visits will also diminish. Still, it’s a nice way to kickstart your site or promote it at certain times when you need.
There are a few other promotional methods you should use in order to build long-term trust and visibility. These include guest posts for other sites, link building efforts, social media presence and taking part in Q&A sites like Quora to provide relevant, quality answers to questions and occasionally slip in a link to your site (depending on the topic and goals).
Optimize and review again and again
Now comes the tricky bit. Yes, all of what we already did was just the start. Now it’s time to actually run the site long term. This means to make site maintenance, review and optimization a regular event. SEO requirements change all the time and you have to stay relevant to them as much as you can. They don’t include only the way you write and present content.
A very important side of SEO is the technical optimization. New formats and standards come along and some of them do become quite popular. For example, the .webp picture format that Google introduced years ago, but now it’s starting to gain traction.
This is why you have to be ready to make changes to your site often and sometimes they might be quite drastic on the back-end. It can get expensive, especially if your site is already big, but that’s the price that comes with success.
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