The most important part of any new website is that it accomplishes its goal, and there are certain things anyone can do to make that happen. Simply follow these 8 steps to ensure success with your new website!
1. Craft a mission statement.
Think of your website’s mission statement as the backstory to a fictional character. Even though you might not explicitly tell readers the character’s backstory, it guides and influences everything that character does.
Your mission statement will guide and influence every decision you make with your new website. You don’t necessarily need to share your mission statement with viewers – though you certainly can – but you need to know exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
Without a mission statement, every decision you make for your new website becomes scattered. Viewers will pick up on that, and might not stick around because of it.
As an example, Lifehack’s public mission statement is:
“Lifehack is your source for tips to help improve all aspects of your life… This site is dedicated to lifehacks, which is a phrase that describes any advice, resource, tip or trick that will help you get things done more efficiently and effectively.”
This is their guiding clause. Everything the company does and everything an editor publishes is done in response to this statement. A mission statement helps everyone involved fulfill a common goal, and is necessary to success with your new website.
2. Research your competitors’ choices.
This will come into play a lot when designing your new website. Take a look at a handful of other websites that are generally doing the same thing(s) as you.
What are they doing that you like, or that you dislike? What can you learn from them, or do better?
If you don’t know your industry well, you need to do some research there. But you definitely need to learn from others in your same space.
Most brands do what they do because they’ve learned it’s a good way to do things. I promise you they each made plenty of mistakes along the way.
Doing this research – seeing what you can copy and what you can improve upon – will give your new website a jumpstart. It will keep you from making some of the same mistakes others have, and it will help you better understand how your new website can be successful.
3. Choose the right website builder.
There are plenty of places that help you build websites, but they’re not all meant for the same thing. Some builders specify in e-commerce, some in blogging, and some in photography and design, among others.
The most popular website builders seem to be WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace. They each work wonderfully for millions of people, but one of them might or might not be right for your specific needs.
If you don’t have much website building experience, it will be good for you to look at who the best website builders are for your situation. Whatever your goal is, having the right framework to build upon is critical to ensuring success with your new website.
4. Pick an easy domain name.
When choosing a domain name (your website URL), practicality will almost always beats creativity. If you can meld the two, you’re doing great, but it’s a risky attempt.
The reason being practical is better than being creative is search engine optimization (SEO). When someone searches Google to find an answer or a product, Google’s goal is to provide that person with the most relevant results.
If someone searches for, say, “running shoes,” a website like NewRunningShoes.com stands a better chance of being found than a website like SpeedyKicks.com. The first is naturally more relevant.
Can you win with creativity? Sure. But it usually takes more work and more money than if you’re practical. Keep in mind, your domain name is essentially your brand. It’s okay to spend a lot of time coming up with a good name. In fact, that would probably be best.
There are always exceptions to this “rule,” but you should generally make it easier for people to find you. Be simple, be relevant, and you’ll stand a much better chance of finding success with your new website.
5. Create your logo.
In truth, creating a logo is one of the more important steps to success with your new website. Name one reputable brand that doesn’t have a logo…
Creating a logo gives you a certain level of clout and legitimacy that’s needed to succeed. If you’re not sure what your logo should be, try answering these questions:
- What have others in your space done? You don’t have to copy what others are doing, but you can use their decisions to help you make your own.
- What do you want people to think when they see your logo? And how can you design something to create that impression?
- How easy will your design be to understand, now and down the road? You want to make sure that your logo will always send a clear message.
Now that you have a better idea of what your logo should be, you have two options. You can start your logo yourself, or you can look into having a professional designer create one for you.
6. Make it easy to share and subscribe.
Traffic is the currency of the internet, and you need a lot of it to ensure success with your new website.
Two things that help immensely are making your website easier for viewers to share with others, and making it easier for viewers to subscribe to your new website.
Social sharing buttons, email subscribe forms, and prompts or call-to-actions around nearly every corner are needed to get your website more traffic. Fortunately, there are a handful of tools you can use to do this well.
SumoMe and GetSiteControl are both popular choices that come with a suite of widgets like social sharing buttons, subscribe form pop-outs, and many other customizable features to help you drive traffic to your website.
Pick one, pick both, pick something else entirely, but you need as much help as you can get because you need as much traffic as you can get.
7. Update your website regularly.
You should be adding new items, posts, and updates to your website as often as you can without sacrificing quality. That could be anything from one new blog post a week to 100 new items every day! Just do what you can.
Updating and adding content to your new website does several things. It provides something to share with your email subscribers and social media followers, which can bring you more traffic.
In most cases, updating and adding to your website creates new web pages, which creates more opportunities for people to find your website.
Regular updates like these also send signals to Google and other search engines that you’re being active. This generally prompts them to send you more traffic.
Basically, updating your website regularly should bring you more traffic, which is necessary to ensure success with your new website.
8. Get people talking about you.
You’ve done all the right things to get your website setup, and to get those initial visitors. But in order to grow, you have to get the word out to more people. The best way to spread the word is to get people talking.
Reviews are generally the easiest way to get people talking about you, because, well, you’re directly asking them to. Just prompt your customers to leave you a review on Google+, Facebook, or whichever platform is most applicable.
You can also offer incentives to customers or users who get their friends on board, such as free or discounted products. And then social sharing and email subscribers (covered in point 6) are great for spreading the word, too.
If you haven’t read it yet, the book Contagious by Jonah Berger is a must. He breaks down how and why people share things in a way that’s easy for anyone to understand. Of course, understanding why people do things is an important step to getting them to do the things you need.
Now that you have these steps to ensure success with your new website, the only thing left for you to do is put them into practice! Follow these steps, and one day soon you’ll be recounting the story of how you built a successful website. Who wouldn’t want that?