5 Next Steps for Website Success
Last week, we talked about how you can plan and design a successful website in five easy steps. This week, I’m going to tell you what you can do next once your website is set up to attract visitors, and develop your site to maximize its chances of becoming successful.
The steps I talked about in the last post are still important, but the suggestions I make below now build on those and take your website to the next level. Once you have the foundations in place for your website, you can focus on making it user friendly and promoting it to potential customers.
Choose an appropriate, high quality theme
I mentioned this briefly in last week’s article but want to discuss it again this week as it is crucial for the success of your site. When you first set up your site, you might have been reluctant to spend money on a good WordPress theme, and simply used a free theme instead.
As your website and visitors numbers grow, however, you need to make sure that your theme stays appropriate for your website’s needs and development. Free themes often come with little user support and can look outdated very quickly, which can make your site look unprofessional. You need to ensure you install a theme that adds credibility to your website, rather than takes it away.
I love Elegant Themes because their theme package is great value for money – far better than a lot of other premium theme providers – but still give customers excellent support and constantly update their themes. If you ever have a question or issue with your theme, it’s easy to get in touch with someone from their customer service team, who will guide you through the issue.
Elegant Themes are also incredibly easy to use, while providing advanced features. One aspect of choosing a theme that some new website owners can find daunting is that it can be difficult to make a decision when you don’t understand the terminology used, or know any coding. With Elegant Themes, their control panel is intuitive and user friendly, so you won’t have any problem customizing their themes to your requirements.
Elegant Themes do all the hard work for you, so you don’t have to input a scrap of code to get your website running and looking exactly the way you want it to!
Even if you’ve built a beautiful, informative and user-friendly website, it isn’t going to help you if no one visits it. Once you’ve laid the foundation of your successful website, you need to start telling people about it in order for it to have a lot of visitors and readers.
There are two key ways you can do this without having to spend any money on advertising:
1. Content marketing
2. Social media marketing
Content marketing involves creating informative content that represents your website’s brand and distributing it for free. Many people choose a blog as their main medium, as it’s easy to set up and maintain. Other methods you could also consider include creating a podcast, which you can distribute through a network like iTunes, or producing videos, which you can then distribute through channels like YouTube.
Start with one format of content and, when that is established, consider branching out into a second. Once you have a blog up and running and can maintain a regular posting schedule (see below for more information about frequency), I recommend branching out into producing a regular podcast or video series. Blogging is useful for people who already visit your website, but posting content on other websites is a great way to bring traffic from that site to yours!
Like content marketing, start with one profile on one website and focus on establishing that first. When that is up and running, consider adding a profile on a second social networking website!
Connect and collaborate
Another useful way to get your website noticed and build more traffic is to not only connect with potential clients, but also with potential peers and colleagues. This serves a dual purpose:
Connecting with with other professionals in a similar niche can lead to fruitful collaborations.
This might be anything from you writing a guest post for their site or interviewing them, to both of you collaborating on a product or service and effectively going into business together. This encourages your colleagues’ readers, who might not have been aware of your website until now, to cross over, becoming potential clients of yours! It also provides you with credibility by association, which can be helpful if you’re a new website owner.
We’ve already talked about content marketing, and how it can help develop the success of your site. Not only does it give readers a reason to visit your website, but it also positions you as an expert in your field, building your credibility with readers and making them more likely to transition from readers to customers.
Updating content on your website on a regular basis is an important part of content marketing. The frequency with which you update will depend on the kind of business you have, however creating a regular schedule and sticking to it will again improve your credibility with your readers.
Posting new content to your site at least once per week will also improve your SEO ranking, which will help people find your website through search engines like Google.
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team says updating your website regularly is important, but you should prioritize providing valuable content over posting frequently to help your website become more visible. WordPress is great for posting regular content as you can schedule posts in advance to publish on a certain day each week.
Work on your SEO
Speaking of rankings, that brings us to the fifth step: developing your website’s SEO so that people can find you through search engines like Google and Yahoo.
Improving your SEO takes time, so don’t expect to see results immediately. Instead, implement a set of regular SEO practices that become habit and, over the long-term, you’ll start to see more traffic flowing in from organic searches. Good WordPress themes should include tools to help you improve your SEO without needing any specialist knowledge.
Good SEO practices include, but are not limited to, the following:
select relevant keywords and use them where necessary. Avoid keyword stuffing (needlessly using the same terms over and over again) as Google now penalizes websites that do this and actually drops their ranking.
Encourage backlinking from authoritative websites with high rankings. The guest posts mentioned above can help with this.
Try to insert keywords into your website’s H1, h2 and h3 tags, as well as in-code text like image descriptions.
We will discuss in more in-depth on good SEO practices in future articles.
In some ways, setting up your website is an easier goal to measure – you have objective results to show for your hard work when your site is finished. With these five next steps, the process takes longer and it can be hard to identify when you have “succeeded” with a particular step.
To keep yourself motivated and stay on course, set yourself targets at the beginning. This might be to increase your social media followers, to increase your website traffic, to increase the number of product and service sales, or something different that is relevant to your business.
The important thing is that you can choose a goal that’s both realistic and indicative of success. With something to work towards to, you will more likely take action on each of these five steps every day to get yourself closer to your goal!