Long gone are the days of "if you build it they will come." Simply putting a website online doesn't do the trick anymore. To get traffic, you must consider your audience from before you begin the build - making sure you craft a website that is user-friendly, provides information they want and need, and holds their visual interest. Then, you have to market the heck out of it to get it in front of eyes. It's a lot of work, but when done correctly, it can be a highly rewarding experience.
What are people in your niche looking for? What other websites are you out there competing with? Think about what you can to do make yourself different from the competition, and aim to become the absolute best resource in your niche. If people come to your website looking for dog collars, don't focus content on fish tanks.
As you build out your design think about the search engines, as a number of design features affect SEO. You want clean code that loads quickly, optimized images that look great, but don't take forever to display, something that looks amazing regardless of screen size, and easy for people to use.
Without SEO considerations while you're building the content and design, you'll be left with a website that may never achieve the high rankings you need to bring in traffic organically. SEO is a complicated endeavor that can't be mastered overnight, but with the right tools, knowledge, and dedication, it can work wonders in the ongoing marketing phases of your project.
Disregard what you think looks and works nicely, and put yourself in your target audience's shoes. Create a website that's easy to navigate, using an appropriate color scheme that's not too hard on the eyes. Think about fonts, text size, layout, etc. According to Adobe, 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout isn't attractive, and KoMarketing says nearly half (44%) of visitors will leave a company website that lacks contact information or phone number.
Visuals are an important part of holding a user's attention. Images can be enough for a basic website, but the more visual interest you create, the better.
Use high quality images, especially when showcasing your products. Make use of video on landing pages, product demonstrations, blog posts, etc. If it makes sense for your niche, include interactive elements like quizzes and games, surveys, and e-courses. These elements are not only visually interesting, but can also help increase engagement because they require active participation. Have a lot of boring data that your audience needs to know or would love to see? Transform it into a series of attractive infographics.
Once the website is good to go in terms of design, functionality, and content, it's time to market it to your target audience. Of course you can send the URL to friends and family, but there are countless ways you can market your new property.
If you want to be sure you've got a winning website, consider investing in usability testing services and split testing several versions of your website. Usability testing services can let you see what users are doing while they're live on your website, so you can see where adjustments need to be made. Split testing can take a while, because you want to test one element at a time - like layout/page position, copy, colors, and images, to see which your audience best responds to.
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