Don’t Waste Your Time On A Website (If You’re Not Going To Do This First)

There is a lot of stuff out there on the internet. In July of 2008, Google announced that it had indexed over 1 trillion unique URL’s. The good news is that almost all of them are not optimized, marketed, or were designed based on any kind of market analysis. What that means is that there are almost a trillion URL’s in existence that are not producing anything of substance for their owners. Those are daunting numbers but having a productive website is not only feasible, it becomes highly likely if you’re willing to do some groundwork before you get started. Start with these six “to do’s” before you do anything else and you’ll go a long way toward building a website that is a true rarity; one that produces leads and revenues for your business. Here’s your list:

Determine who is going buy what you are selling – Selling the answer to a question that isn’t being asked is a sure way to burn both money and countless nights wondering why nobody is paying up for your brilliant idea. Being on the cutting edge is great as long as there’s enough demand to keep the lights on while you wait for traction. Just be sure that you’re efforts and expenditures are going to find some support, even if it’s a tiny niche at present.

Get information on who else is already doing what you want to do – If no one else is in your space, figure out why. If you can’t figure it out revisit the cutting edge “to do” above.  If there is competition, don’t be intimidated. In fact, a little competition can provide some intelligence on what is being done well in the market you intend to serve, where opportunities exist, and validation that there is a market in the first place.

Get your value proposition done – One of the best value propositions ever was developed in one of the most competitive businesses around. When Domino’s started saying “”You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less — or it’s free”, their business took off and never looked back. It’s alright if your value proposition doesn’t make it into marketing textbooks, but you still need one to differentiate your offering from everyone else.

Learn how your market is searching for what you are selling – A “deep dive” into keyword research will be one of the factors that will maximize your return on investment. Don’t be tempted into the shortcut of thinking that the associated keywords are obvious and that you can write the list in five minutes. High traffic keywords can also be highly competitive, making it difficult and/or expensive to get to the front pages of the search engines. Going with less competitive and long tail keywords, derived from analysis, will make moving up in page rank faster and will bring more targeted traffic.

Decide what you want visitors to do when they come to your site – Impressing a visitor is one thing, having them buy something is another. Long intro pages, special effects, and other distractions may look great but visitors will lose interest and bounce off of your site without some sort of immediate gratification. If the objective of your website is to sell products and services, make it easy and obvious to the visitor that you have what they want and how they can purchase it. Starting with the landing page, guide the visitor through the process in the simplest format necessary to get the sale. Giving them the information they need, a call to action, and straightforward navigation will go a long way toward getting conversions on your site.

The simplicity of setting up a website has lulled the vast majority of website owners into thinking that they can slap a website together and have it work miracles. It rarely works that way, but with some research and analysis you can beat the odds with a site that generates traffic, leads, and conversions.

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