5 Top Tips On Building Your Website
A website is a company. Even though it might not have a huge HQ, or that people do not physically enter a space to browse it, doesn’t mean it isn’t one or that you don’t have a product. Even if your website is not focused on selling services or goods, and instead focuses on articles and sharing content – these are still products because you are using them to attract visitors with.
So anyway, here are the Top 5 Tips to Building Your Website:
1 – ‘What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ (Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare). Wrong. Pick a good name.
This is the one area that Shakespeare is wrong. When it comes to websites, there are a few good morals you learned when you were younger which do not apply. Names are very important, not just because you have to pick one in order to redirect someone to your space, but because naming your space also gives you a focus. If your name is well thought out, relevant, as well as original – you will be able to pull from that and remind yourself what the essence of your product is, no matter how many articles you’ve written or how long you’ve been working on your website.
A vague name, unless it’s Google, doesn’t do well. You have to pick something which captures the purpose of your website specifically, as well as what might be likely to come up in the search. In short – names are important, not only for directing people to your site better, and standing out, but for you as the owner and author, to continuously have something to go back to as your focus. The more specific it is the better, because then you won’t be blotted out by all the millions of others who have named their website the same way.
2 – Judge the website by its cover. Make that shit look good.
Okay, maybe it doesn’t mean that every bad website necessarily has a bad product – the articles may be written very well, may be insightful and educated. However it does mean you have a bad website, and that is not going to get you anywhere. If you go into a restaurant, you will judge the restaurant on the food yes, but atmosphere is also a part of it, and if the design is bad, then the restaurant is bad, even if the food is good. You got me? Nobody likes a bad restaurant, and no one is going to recommend it even if the prawns were amazing.
A good looking website by today’s standards means three things: user friendly, functional, and clean. Clean doesn’t necessarily mean minimalistic, though that definitely hits the mark. But even if you have a lot of content – clean simply means organised well. Make it look good. Again, spaghetti bolognese essentially is a big mass of noodles and meat, it’s the farthest thing from minimalistic, but laid out the right way it’s inviting. That’s the goal.
My best advice on this tip is do NOT trust yourself. (Unless you are a graphic designer and are selling your services as a graphic designer). Make a first draft and then immediately ask your friends, family, co workers or anyone what it needs more of, how it could be better. They will obviously be thinking of it as the visitor so their ideas are invaluable. Don’t be like those people on Gordon Ramsay Hotel Nightmares who think that what they like is the only thing that matters. Then once you’ve got a view of what would be perfect for what you might be selling – go and look for a paid theme/layout with these specific ideas in mind. Make sure it ticks the requirements, and then buy it.
Paying a one off $49 for a theme is an investment, and the most valuable investment you could do to your website before anything else. The rest of what you do might cost nothing but this is the one area you have to spend.
3 – Quality Content
Great, we’ve got a banging name, and a sleek, functional, modern looking website that makes you want to keep refreshing until your eyes bleed. But part of building and branding a website is also the actual content on your website because it will represent everything you’ve worked on. Someone might look good, but if when they open their mouth what they say is bullshit then it’s a deal breaker, amirite? People might come to the website once and like it because it looks great, but only the people who love your content will keep coming back and then tell others about you. Don’t focus too much on how it looks that you forget to actually produce the quality content it was made for, in an original voice and point of view.
Original can mean a lot of things – it can mean write about things in your own way, or it could mean producing your own vision. If your website focuses primarily on sharing media from the net rather than actual articles (like those dreaded 401 million video sharing sites that have popped up on Facebook) then – as much as I hate them – even that can be original, based on the overall collection of what you are sharing. So you might be a cute doggy video sharing site (which is common), but you might be sharing only videos of tiny dogs, or large dogs, or golden retrievers, or dogs which have rescued people or done something good. Or dogs which have done something bad and are hilariously caught in the act (which is uncommon and original).
The point is – even if you are just sharing content, you can create an original vision by what you choose to collect and share overall. This concept is very well used in Instagram, where accounts can be massively popular only because they have a niche – like a garlic bread only account which posts only pictures of garlic bread they find. It might not be your own garlic bread, but it’s original. And people like it.
Though it is definitely not as easy to build successfully as actually producing original content in the form of written articles, there is always a way to make anything original so don’t think that you are excused from this.
4 – Make a social presence
If you’re a person who hates having a social presence, the website business will not be for you. Maybe as a hobby only, but not as a business. Even if you’ve created a great looking website, with amazing content, your website will not become successful if people cannot find you. Make a Facebook, an Instagram, a Twitter, a Youtube. Pinterest. Whatever is most relevant. Just make sure to have several other social media sites and not only one. Build your presence so that you have extra links back to your website, and so that you can people can start to notice you and even recommend you themselves.
You go out and bring people to you, and they start to come, and then they start to tell others. The Snowball Effect. Also it’s really fun to share your stuff.
In the end of the day the website is meant to reach others, so do not underestimate this aspect of branding. People cannot know about you or your product unless you reach out, even if you have hidden gems in there.
5 – Advertise
It only cost us £20 to advertise on Facebook for a whole week, but what we got from that was invaluable. And we even did it before our website was in its final form. We had some content, the layout was good (not perfect), but we thought to try it. And from that we learned (using google analytics – you should NOT be advertising unless you have this installed so that you can figure out who is visiting and how many people are visiting) the type of people who come to our website. The demographics. Who they are, where they are from, their age bracket.
This is valuable because then when you make more ads in future, you know who to target to, to maximise views on your site. And yes you should be advertising at least sometimes. A social presence is great for getting your brand around, but unless you have 300 people doing it on Instagram for you, or you are willing to spend the long term building that Snowball, then it is not worth relying only on this.Advertising will reach tons of more people than you can reach alone, and more quickly than you could ever do it. Think of it as a nitro boost, but a much needed one.
This shouldn’t make you think that if you can advertise then you don’t need social media presence. They work together. Advertising is the nitro boost, but social media presence is the engine. And the content is the fuel. And the website is the car- okay I should stop now. You get the point. I like my analogies.
What you should take from this is that all of these factors are important, and contribute together in growing your company.