Whether you are working in affiliate marketing, or simply blogging, you want to make your website all it can be. After all, your site is what links you to your readers and potential customers. But what if your site isn’t performing the way you would like it to?
While there are a number of factors that go into creating a successful online presence, here are 5 essentials for creating a high-performing site.
1. Create Your Brand
Who are you? What is your site about? What do you intend your online identity to be?
These are some questions to consider as you create your brand. Almost anything you do can be part of branding yourself. By having a clearly-defined brand, you are making yourself recognizable, which will create familiarity with your audience, and over time, trust.
This doesn’t just consist of the things you do on your site; it extends to your entire online presence. Are you on Facebook? Are you on Twitter and Instagram? Do you have a presence anywhere else? If so, be consistent across all platforms, but also strive to be professional in appearance. You don’t want your brand to come across as amateurish.
No matter how good your site may be, or how wonderful your content, if your image does not appeal to the audience that you are trying to reach, you will fail to have the impact you seek. Don’t think just in terms of what appeals to you, but also what appeals to those you are trying to reach. Present this image and maintain it as part of your brand.
2. Effective Use of SEO
There seems to be mixed views on the importance of SEO, but the fact remains that good SEO will help to ensure that your work is not only indexed, but more likely to be presented to your desired audience by search engines. Few people will go past the first two pages of search results, so you want to be as close to the top as possible, and good SEO will get you there.
Again, it doesn’t matter how good your site is; if you are not searchable, no one will find you. If no one can find you, you will have no traffic to your site. There has to be something to bring people to you, otherwise you are writing only for yourself.
Keywords, title tags, metadata and more contribute to effective SEO. Do not underestimate the effect this will have. Many companies hire professionals in SEO to oversee their online efforts for a reason.
3. Building a List
There is an expression that goes “the money is in the list”.
List building is an important part of building your site. There is a relatively small chance that a visitor to your site will convert right away, but your odds improve if and when they return.
Given that visitors are more likely to convert of following visits, you want to ensure that they come back, and a great way to do this is through newsletter subscription and list building.
In order to build your list, try offering your visitor something of value to them. This may be just about anything you can image, from an e-book to an audio file, a PDF report to a video series. Anything of value that you can provide in exchange for the user providing you with an email address and the ability to follow up with them.
Once you begin to collect names and email addresses, keep in touch with those on your list. Continue to offer them good value and build a relationship with them, earning their trust and providing them with reasons to come back to your site again and again.
4. A Responsive Site
As Google moves toward a mobile-first index– meaning an emphasis on mobile users and sites that offer them a good user experience– it is important that your site be responsive on phones and smaller screens. With smartphones becoming the preferred way for many to search online, you need to keep their needs in mind.
A good, responsive website design will change its display to match the device being used, maintaining the same information and being easily usable.
Google places a great deal of importance on mobile usability, so if you do not have a responsive website, you may want to address this.
5. Problem Solving
A number of websites that you can find online will tell you all about the owner. You’ll see articles about who they are and what they do, but you won’t always see how they intend to help their readers. This can leave visitors wondering if there is anything of value for them on the site (as you can see, value is a recurring theme).
You want to let your visitors know not only who you are, but how you can be of assistance to them. Instead of writing your articles with “me” and “I”, focus more on “you” and “your”. Involve your reader and get them excited about what you can do for them, because if you offer them nothing, then, frankly, they will move on to someone who can.
6. (Bonus) Accessibility
Once you have created your site, crafted excellent content, made it highly searchable and valuable to your reader, make sure that they have a way of keeping in touch with you.
As mentioned, email lists and subscribers are great for contacting you audience, but let them know how they can reach you.
Leave links to your Facebook page, Twitter account, or any other convenient means that will allow for communication. This will also help engender trust in your audience as they know you are a real person that they can reach out to, and not some nameless, faceless entity. That trust will lead to repeat visits and greater conversion.
Make sure your audience has a clear manner in which to act and provide them with a strong CTA or call to action.
While there are other factors that will also have an impact on the performance of your site, these are some essential ones that should be in your mind as you create content and build your business. Your website is the heart of your online business. Make sure it’s healthy.