In today’s digital world, your company’s website serves as the cornerstone of all of your marketing efforts.
One of the top goals (if not THE top goal) of your marketing is to drive qualified traffic back to your website and convert those visitors into leads (and ultimately customers).
The thing is, though, it’s not enough to simply build a nice-looking website and then sit back and watch the business roll in. It simply doesn’t work that way. Once you launch your new website, that’s when the real work begins.
This guide will take you through six important steps along the way to building a high-quality website and growing your business online.
Know Your “Who” and “Why” When Building Your Website
Before you take any action on your website build, you need to understand the “who” and the “why.” What in the world does that mean, right?
It means you need to understand your audience and why they would be visiting your website. What problems are you helping them solve? What advice are they searching for?
Research your audience and develop personas. Then use these personas to craft content and website copy designed to connect with members of your target audience.
Don’t skip this step.
It’s critically important that you understand who is visiting your site and why they’re visiting. Armed with these insights, you can build a site to meet their needs and convert business more easily.
Content Management System
To launch your website, you’ll need to select the Content Management System (CMS) that’s the right fit for you. Or, if you have a website but it just isn’t performing, maybe it’s time to move to a new CMS.
The good news is that there’s no shortage of options here. And with all the great options you have available, you don’t have to break the bank, and you don’t even have to know how to code.
My personal favorite is WordPress (which is the CMS I use for AnthonyGaenzle.com), but there are many others. I love WordPress for the user-friendly site-building experience, the excellent templates available, the plugins for virtually any need and so much more.
Outside of WordPress (and WordPress has options for all of these types of sites shown below as well) here are a few additional options. Keep in mind, however, that there are many more great options, so I encourage you to do your research to determine the best fit for you.
These are all great options, but again, I highly recommend checking out WordPress. I’ve led teams through numerous website builds, and WordPress has always been the smoothest and provided the best experience for the companies or clients I’ve worked with in the past.
Once you’ve figured out the answer to your CMS question, you’ll need to host the site somewhere. Hosting is the server where all of the info on your website is stored. It’s a very important consideration for a number of reasons.
- Speed of your website
- Sufficient memory and storage
Each of these things, among other considerations, has an impact on how your site runs and ultimately affects how visitors experience your site.
Your hosting decision should not be taken lightly. You can create your own server at home, but I warn against doing so. The easiest route to take is to use an existing, managed server. This guide provides some excellent insight into the decision to use a home server or opt for an existing, managed server to host your website.
Just as with Content Management Systems, there are numerous options for hosting as well. You can pay as little as $2.95 per month to host your site, but if you want better performance, you will likely pay a bit more.
Bluehost is one of the most popular options. It has a range of options with different plans starting at $2.95 per month and going up to $79.99 per month. If you’re just starting out, the basic, shared plan is great. As your traffic grows, however, you’ll need to consider upgrading.
For my site, I use Rocket.net. You can get a discounted offer to speed up your site here. Get Rocket.net
With this service, I’ve found that my site speed has increased significantly, and the level of support is something that I haven’t received with other hosting providers.
Rocket.net almost serves as another part-time team member, helping with any issues as they arrive (which is very rare, adding and optimizing plugins, and more.
It also comes with Cloudflare Enterprise, which helps the content pop up faster on the site, as it’s being loaded by servers as close to where the action is happening as possible.
Again, however, there is no one-size-fits-all option, so do your research and figure out which option is best for you.
Here are a few additional hosting options to consider:
- WP Engine
- Host Monster
- A2 Hosting
This list could honestly go on for quite a while, but you get the point.
Dig around, do your research and determine which is the best option for your needs. Each hosting option has its own perks and its own detractors, so dig in and make the best choice for you.
Content is essentially the spark that ignites the performance of your website. Without content, you basically just have an online brochure.
To keep your site from becoming stagnant, you need creative, engaging, educational, and helpful content.
This allows you to connect with your visitors, attract new traffic and boost your position in search.
A lot of website owners think this means simply creating a blog and writing a few articles. That’s not the case.
First, you have to understand that growing your site and boosting your traffic takes time and dedication. And it also takes a bit of a different approach. Besides your basic all-text articles, you’ll want to create other types of content.
Consider creating some of these types of content:
- Interactive media
Blogs and other types of articles are great, and they should be a key component of your content strategy but adding additional types of content helps improve the user experience on your site. It also helps keep visitors around longer, thus reducing your bounce rate and increasing time on the page.
So, engage your readers beyond the text on your pages and create content that takes their visit to a new level.
Creating great content takes time, resources, and money. As such, it’s critical that you have a plan in place to promote the content you create and get it in front of the right people. People in your target audience.
SEO should be an important component of each piece of content you create. SEO is an absolutely monster-sized subject with too many considerations to note here, but I recommend visiting our SEO section for some great advice to help boost your site in search.
In addition to content creation and SEO, try the following tactics to grab attention and bring more visitors to your site.
- Social media – Social media is great on both a paid and organic level to connect with your audience and drive traffic back to your website.
- Google Ads – While Google Ads can be a bit more on the expensive side than other tactics, there is a lot of value in being able to target specific keywords to more effectively reach the right audience.
- Collaboration – Working together with other likeminded pros from complementary companies and professions allows you to help one another boost traffic through sharing and other collaborative efforts.
- Guest posting – This is a great way to gain links back to your website from authoritative sites in your space, and it allows you to reach prospective customers on other websites who might be searching for what you offer.
- Affiliate programs – There are lots of great apps available to help you manage affiliate programs, and the best part is that your affiliate partners essentially do most of the marketing and sales for you.
- Press releases – When you first launch your company, introduce a new product to the market or do anything noteworthy, a press release sent to the right outlets can help you get noticed and drive traffic to your site.
There are so many great tactics out there to drive traffic to your site. These are just a few. I suggest testing out a few tactics at a time to see what works and what does not. Going all in trying to take on every marketing tactic available to you online is just plain unrealistic. You’ll overextend your resources and burn out quickly while generating little to no results.
Figure out what the right promotional mix is for your brand and then create a focused strategy, which should have goals and objectives included so you can measure the impact.
You’ve created a website, filled it with tons of amazing content, and pushed traffic there via social media, ads, and other impactful marketing tactics. The next step is to measure the results from your efforts to ensure they’re working.
There’s nothing worse than pouring $250,000 into Google Ads and only converting $20,000 in revenue as a result. Do the math. Do you want to take those numbers to your CEO at your next presentation?
It’s critically important that you analyze various metrics to determine which tactics are working, and which tactics are not working, highlight opportunities for improvement and focus on gaining insight into performance.
Consider the following metrics as your track your site’s progress:
- Traffic to your website
- Source (organic, paid, social and other mediums)
- Time on site and bounce rate
- Pages performing both high and low
- Lead collection (and the quality of those leads)
- Cost-per-conversion (for ads and other paid efforts)
- Comments on your blogs
- Shares of the content
This list really could go on for quite a while, but this gives you a place to start. The point is, if you are going to take on any type of marketing activity, you need to have a plan in place to measure the effectiveness.
To help guide you on your way beyond this article, I want to pass along a few links to valuable resources that can help make you more successful and make your efforts more efficient in each of the steps listed above. Here are a few great websites to check out.
- WordPress Support– The official support page for WordPress.org and offers lots of great resources to help you get started
- Satori Webmaster Academy– A great (free) knowledgebase of actionable guides to help you create, optimize and promote your website
- Content Marketing Institute– The ultimate authority on all things content marketing where you can find original research, advice and insights to help you grow
- The Moz Blog– SEO, while not detailed in this article, will be a key component of your website’s success, and Moz is a great resource for all things SEO
- Convince and Convert– Lots of great content focused on helping you drive your digital strategy and create business through your website
- AnthonyGaenzle.com– Of course, I had to mention the site you’re currently browsing! So, dig around and you can find lots of great advice on content, SEO, strategy, websites and much more!
After reading this article, you should be in a solid position to get started building and growing your website. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a line on the contact page or leave a comment below!
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