The “perfect” website does not exist. One positive aspect of the internet is that it provides nearly instant feedback in the form of traffic flow. Build a great website and people come. Build a lousy website and people leave. It’s that simple. While “perfect” really exists in the eye of the beholder, building a great website seems to involve striking the proper balance between writing informative, engaging, and regularly-updated content and executing a great Search Engine Optimization strategy.
The first strategy to creating a great website is to start out with great content. Write content that is unique in the industry, controversial, or otherwise compelling in some way. Then, perform some basic SEO and distribute it via social media and virtually every other communication channel you can imagine. If you’re really lucky, people will find your product, service, or viewpoint to be fascinating and will spread the word to everyone. You’ll get free one-way back links, free advertising, and a very strong brand name! Basically, the general public will be performing your SEO for you! Many leading blogs and websites grew to popularity this way, but unfortunately, in today’s increasingly-competitive market, with thousands of new websites being added every day, this is very difficult to do.
For most people, growing a website from relative obscurity to immense popularity doesn’t happen. However, there are some steps which can be taken to create a website that is more likely to garner significant attention in the long-term:
1) Get the assistance of an SEO firm. For most of us, our sites won’t be so popular that people will do our SEO for us, so hire the services of an SEO firm, and do whatever it is that fits in your budget. SEO firms have tons of experience working with many different websites and can help you with every aspect of optimizing your site, including writing engaging content.
2) Research. Before you do anything, do your research! Either hire an SEO firm to research the keywords, or do it yourself. You don’t want to start on the wrong foot by choosing a URL with keywords no one searches for or keywords that are ultra-competitive. Additionally, you’ll want to know the psychology of your market so you can create engaging content that persuades your target niche to buy.
3) Design. Make sure that your website has a professional design that functions well across most popular browsers. Nothing turns users off more than a button that doesn’t work, or pages that say “under construction.” Also make sure that your site has a clear and simple navigation. Don’t make it take 4 clicks for users to contact you.
4) Create engaging content. Don’t copy and paste your content from another site – how is your site going to stand out if you’re doing the same thing as everyone else? Don’t keyword-stuff your content or just throw up the first thing that comes to mind either. Research your target market, discover its needs, and find a way to write emotionally-engaging content that solves your market’s needs. The marketplace, not you, determines what is a great product or service.
5) Focus on fast pages. Make sure your pages download quickly. “WWW” stands for World Wide Web, not World Wide Wait. You’ll want to make sure your site loads in 2 seconds at the slowest.
6) Check your spelling and grammar. Many, possibly most, websites have obvious spelling or grammatical errors. Writing to stand out on the internet doesn’t require the skills of Shakespeare, but it does require the ability to write interesting and error-free content.
7) Keep links current. Never, under any circumstances, let any of your links point to the wrong destination or destinations that don’t exist.
8) Be consistent and stop what doesn’t work. For most, building a great website with many visitors is a long-term (several months to a year) goal. Keep at it for a while, try some new things, and then refine your strategy based on what you learn.
If you keep at it long enough and learn from your mistakes, your site will do well. While there is no “perfect” website, great ones do exist, but they are defined by the marketplace, not the creator.
Last Updated on January 24, 2014 by Eman Nabih