Most site owners think the first element to site success is a great theme. That’s a myth. I can show you several million dollar earners with crap themes. What constitutes site success seems to allude way too many folks, despite the blogosphere being full of helpful advice. In this post I’ll tell you the same three things I tell all of my training clients. In fact, I don’t even accept perspective clients into the Scratch to Published program until we have a live chat about how they want their site to meet the first two core principles of success.
#1 Site Success Secret
The number one secret to site success is to understand the goals of your site and the role it plays in your business.
What is the Top Goal of Your Site?
If you’re not clear on this point, your site will be a jumbled mess that proves it, publicly.
For successful site owners, the top goal of their site is to be a lead generator. That sounds sales-y, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. When folks first come to your site they may not be ready to buy anything. They may just be poking around, checking you out. Or maybe they were looking for something else when they came across your site. Successful sites capture those viewers so the relationship can be nurtured over time.
Lead generation means that you properly use elements of the site to guide visitors to:
- Subscribe to your newsletter
- Subscribe to your blog posts
- Follow you on their favorite social media platform
- Register for a free webinar
- Subscribe to your podcast
- Subscribe to your videos
- Download a free report
- Subscribe to a trial period or low-cost program via a member site
- Contact you for more information
All of those elements allow you the opportunity to nurture the relationship with your viewer. It keeps you in front of them and consistently gives them something of value all the while.
What’s on your site that leads your viewers to stay connected with you? It should be everything. No matter what page or post your readers land on when they come to your site, there should be multiple opportunities for them to stay connected.
What is the Second Goal of Your Site?
I’m betting the first thing that came to your mind when asked about your top goal was either to offer your readers something of value or keep them informed. Those are both great goals. They are not at the top because they involve getting folks to your site.
I can hear you screaming that you can build the best site in the world, but if no one comes to see it, what’s the point? You’re right. But look at it this way. Let’s say that you create a post that goes viral. That’s super! But you can’t build a successful, sustainable business on one post.
If your entire site is not built around lead generation as your top goal, you will not capture all of that traffic you generated with one viral post. Folks will see it, share it, and never return. You’ll get an exciting Mt. Everest spike in your analytics chart, and that’s about it.
#2 Site Success Secret
The number two secret to success is content, content, content. A great looking $2000 theme will not make up for lackluster content. If folks don’t find what they came there for, they’re gone in a flash. On the other hand, if you consistently deliver the helpful content your target audience wants, they will forgive an ugly site. There are plenty of people making six and seven figure incomes with sites that have horrible looking themes.
This concept is the biggest stumbling block to success. Nearly every one of the new site owners, or site owner wannbes that contacts me for a class has put a lot of time into thinking about their theme and zero time into thinking about their content.
Content drives theme design. Not the other way around.
I will not accept anyone into the Scratch to Publish program until they first send in a draft of their core content. That includes the Home page, About page, Product/Service page, and a couple of blog posts. You would not believe how many folks are willing to plop down anywhere from $600-$2000 for a theme when they have not written one word of this core content.
Honing your content creation skills will bring your site traffic. Learning how to properly display the right content in the right place on your site will help you capture that traffic into your lead generation stream.
If you’re going to spend money, invest in what will make you successful – learning how to use WordPress, SEO, conversion, and creating content that is candy to both readers and search engines. Then get an $80 StudioPress theme, tweak it to your liking, and start making money.
#3 Site Success Secret
The number three secret to success is relationship marketing. Be your target audience’s best friend. After all, that’s who you turn to for advice, right? Be the person that everyone goes to and sends their friends to for answers.
One of the best ways to do relationship marketing is via social media. But, it’s not just in the posts that you make. It’s by engaging with other folks on their posts. You can also do this by joining groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and G+ Communities. Engage with folks by meeting them where they are. In other words, act like a best friend, not a one-way billboard.
Another way to increase relationship marketing is to offer audio and video recordings where folks can hear your voice. Or, participate in a G+ Hangout or join a mastermind group. The written word is great, but so much more of your personality comes through in your speaking voice.
That sort of off-site engagement is what endears you to folks and drives loyal traffic to your site and to your offers.
The three secrets to site success are being clear about the goal of your site, creating quality content and knowing how to use it on multiple areas of your site to meet your goals, and finally, engagement through relationship marketing.
Most folks find it very difficult to do many of these elements for themselves, and all of the generic advice in the world brings them no closer to applying those tactics to their own site. Have you considered hiring a consultant to help make your site successful? Was the help you sought based primarily on design or on marketing?