What makes a perfect website in 2019?
Imagine writing an article for your company. You do this once per week (on Sunday evening perhaps). It’s an article about one aspect your business, product or service. It’s not for you. It’s for potential clients to enjoy. Scratch that – it’s for everyone. You nervously upload it to your website. The excitement is palpable. You can’t wait to do it again next Sunday.
You’re a bit nervous because you were never great at “English” but with the help of MS Word’s spell-check it looks great.
The article may not be directly about your product but rather an idea loosely related to your business. In the article you wrote honestly. You also revealed something about yourself and the way you see the world through your business. You highlighted the particular way you like to do business. You spoke (anonymously) about an interesting customer you met during the week. Maybe you waxed lyrical about the philosophy and reasons you are in this particular business.
You found writing very enjoyable. You have so much to say.
Not you? I didn’t think so.
It’s not me either. I’d like it to be me, but it’s – just not.
Suffice it to say: Writing is the most difficult job in the world.
Website Creation, Upkeep and Regular Website Maintenance
When people visit your website, they immediately judge it. They judge you first. Then they judge your business. The thoughts go something like this . . .
- How pretty is it?
- How professional is it?
- How easy is it to find stuff?
- How much is stuff?
- When was it last updated?
- Can they spell?
- Are there any interesting comments?
- How do they dealwith negative comments?
1. Website Comments? ON!
How important are people’s comments?
One way to get people talking is to include a blog and comment section on your website. If you don’t do this, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. How will you ever know what people are thinking?
Allow others to respond to a new article by switching comments to ON. After all, you’d love to hear what others think about what you have to say, especially if they are talking right there on your site. It’s actually a bit exciting. Even if only 2 or 3 people (including Mum & Dad) actually read the article.
Actively seek out similar web-based conversations. Go harder. Leave comments on other people’s blogs, news or article posts. For business reasons, link back to your own website where you can, but don’t get obsessed by this practice. People will find you if they need to.
On your site, your own followers can comment on specific aspects of a topic or hone in on a general debate. Your aim here is not to garner quality back-links for SEO – it’s really just to enliven a debate you feel very passionate about.
2. Be Helpful
An article should aim to inform rather than make a sale
One week goes by and it’s time to write again. Your traffic hasn’t snuck up the charts much.
The kids are playing up, there’s a shelf to erect and other chores to finish. But you really want to give this article writing thing a go.
When finally everyone is in bed, you arc up the computer, log into your website and open up a new blog or news page. You read your last article and decide to write something completely different. You decide to write a helpful article. A tip or industry trick that not many people know about. You infuse it with your many years of industry expertise, adding a sprinkle of sage advice where appropriate. You aim to help a future customer (no – scratch that) you offer help without the aim of bringing in new custom or selling your product. Genuine philanthropy is your aim. You are sure you’re making the world (and perhaps your industry) a better place.
It’s a relatively short piece, but you enjoy writing it and fancy yourself as a bit of a writer.
Maybe you’ll write a novel one day.
3. Reveal A Secret
The following week, you decide to write something revealing. You’re a little bit hesitant as this is a bit like revealing your secret herbs and spices.
You let others in on a secret or two about your industry.
This writing lark is ultimately about attracting a following for your business, but you enjoy the process and you can always sell products later.
In the short term, you treat prospective customers as you would like to be treated. Over time you let loose more trade secrets. Not too many (your competitors might be reading this). Perhaps you hang on to your price list. But over the weeks, you consider some of the following ;
- How can you help people?
- How can you illuminate a bug in your industry?
- What advice can you give away for free?
- What do you really care about?
You’ve written four articles now, but there’s not a single comment. You check your web site traffic report. The numbers are going up, but only marginally.
Your bounce rate is a lot better (that’s the rate at which people come to your site and then leave in a hurry). The figures aren’t impressive, but people are staying on specific site pages for up to 3 minutes instead of the usual 2.
Five weeks have passed. You are building the perfect website. Albeit slowly.
4. Leave the Light On
and there’s someone at home
In the morning you get an email. Someone has written “Thanks for this [your name]. I wasn’t aware of [this thing] in [your industry]. You’ve saved me so much shoe leather. Great job. I’ll be back.”
You are over the moon. Who is this stranger? You don’t really care. This is all just business right?
But somebody has read your post. That’s great.
Your site is now up to date (at least since you started adding new posts) and you have a community of two people. You and . . . whoever this guy is.
5. Incy-wincy Googlebot
“Googlebot” is Google’s web-crawler
Google bot is a bit like Father Christmas. People who have been good are rewarded with a good position in search while really naughty bloggers are sometimes banned from SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) altogether.
The Google spider comes crawling along. Her job :) is to crawl the web and take note of everything written on it. This includes your image title and alt tags, but m0ostly . . .
Aching from the weight of stockholder pressure but steadfastly resolute and determined to present the best search results for web surfers, Googlebot is without bias. She’s a little piece of software, but like Pinnocchio, she longs to be human and do the best human-like job possible. She’s under a lot of pressure to hoist the biggest companies to the top, but has no particular allegiances.
Every week the spider is told (by an automatically written XML script on your site) that your site has been updated.
Every Monday morning, just before breakfast, Googlebot trudges over to your site to check out the new content that you wrote the night before. Or not. You did write something right? Googlebot then goes off and finds similar useful tid-bits like yours. She collates them, but is most impressed with your article because you have written a great and useful article for humans. Not for search engine spiders like herself. She hates writers sucking up to her.
After a few weeks, you find yourself looking forward to your writing session. You’re in the groove. It’s kind of like meditation.
Googlebot adds your site to Google’s huge index so that others may benefit from your knowledge and solid advice. But you don’t disappear into a black hole. Because you’ve written such a beautiful and genuine blog entry, Googlebot ranks your site highly in an industry search.
Google wants other people in your industry to find information such as your very easily. That’s her job.
People may not want to buy your product right now, but they are keen and subscribe to your site while linking to it from their own. Another micro-boost in rankings.
The pen is mightier than the sword
Luckily, your article turns out to be the very thing many people were looking for. People tell all their social networks about your article. They might buy something from you later, but that’s not important to you right now. You seek loftier heights. After all, now you are a writer. With an audience.
Selling wasn’t even really your aim.
You are simply happy to have added your 2c to the great wealth of knowledge that is out there. Sure, people have subscribed to your site and will receive your new article every week, but that wasn’t your foremost intention.
6. Multimedia & Learning
Cater for different learning styles
Not everybody learns the same way.
- Some like to watch.
- Others like to listen.
- Reading is the obvious way
- Combination of ALL THREE is best.
And that often equates to using various types of media. Multimedia.
You decide, along with weekly articles, that you might do a monthly podcast. Some people don’t like to read much when they are surfing the web and you did get that voice recorder (that you haven’t used) on special. Some people like to look at presentation slideshows or hear talks.
Each time you put something up there, you try less and less to sell your product, taking your ego (and sales desire) out of the equation.
This proves difficult, because, over time, more and more people are subscribing to your website. You want to make the world a better place and, even though you could move a few more widgets off that back shelf, you now genuinely want to help people. Your aim is true.
6. Reap What You Sow
Karma on the web
One day, one of your articles appears in the number one position of a Google search.
You’ve written golden, useful content. And now this is your reward. You didn’t intend it to be THE number one article.
300 complementary (non-competitors) industry websites soon point to your article because what you are saying needed to be said.
You’ve single-handedly filled the communication gap between your industry and potential buyers. Your industry brothers and sisters become familiar with your regular posts and look forward to reading them nearly as much as you now look forward to writing them.
7. Competitors are not Rivals
We’re in this together
You get a call. A large competitor has too many requests for an item or service and wonders if you can help out?
Why not help?
Industry competitors are often seen as rivals.
What would happen if you saw them as possible business partners? After all, because of your regular updates, your peers already regard you with respect – indeed as a leader in the field. Some even take your sage advice and consider you a great teacher.
8. Leveraging Peer Power
Six degrees of separation
Six degrees of separation
Your perfect website popularity is positively affecting your bottom line.
Not only are people coming to your site (your statistics peak every Tuesday morning when followers read your blog) but someone has ordered two dozen widgets from you. You don’t really know why, because when you ask, they say they haven’t read your article. But they did. They just didn’t notice reading it because it was so good.
They didn’t buy because your sales pitch was great (you didn’t use one, but you do fancy yourself somewhat as a copywriter). A friend recommended your services to them. It turns out to be a not-too-distant friend of yours who regularly and secretly reads your article.
While many people are nosey and will check you out on the web, not many people will let you know that they read your stuff. Perhaps they are shy, or like you, a little ginger about revealing their poor grammar and spelling. Often they’ve just forgotten where they read it.
For every one person who leaves a comment, there are 25 who wanted to say the same thing.
8. Your perfect website future is bright
You’d better wear shades
Even though your product pages are aging, there are now hundreds (if not thousands) of warm bums sitting on seats, regularly ogling your website, waiting with baited-breath for each Monday post. They are happy to buy your old fare.
Some ride their bicycles while listening to your informative podcasts. Others share your monthly 2 minute videos with friends (the ones that don’t read much). Old Schoolers read your gritty industry articles on the train in to work. These strangers trust you – possibly because you didn’t break their backs with “a hard sell.” Others others trust you because they love the freshness and authenticity your articles exude. Some don’t quite have the cash to buy your widget just yet. Maybe they are not even in the market for your widget. But they know other people who know people who do want your product and they recommend you in a heart beat.
Your site is now close to becoming the perfect website.
- It wasn’t the design.
- It wasn’t technical wizardry.
- It was you. And your content.
Sure you sell widgets and you need to move widgets, but your regular visitors enjoy reading and consuming your thoughts. You have their undivided attention for at least five minutes every week.
Build the perfect website
It takes commitment to give someone a great website experience.
It’s not hard to do. It just takes time.
Selling your product doesn’t have to be the first thing on your mind. If people know you are a plumber, that’s probably all they need to know. You could hard-sell them a tap, but why do that? Helping them fix their own tap with a step by step article is a worthy enough objective. They will buy a tap soon enough. after all – you’realways ranting on about them.
In fact, if your product is the perfect product, then you are probably already building the perfect website – perhaps it’s in your nature.
Edwin wrote his first (Harrier Jump Jet) text adventure computer program in 1982 during the Falklands War. He now builds websites utilising best practice, future-proof web development, marketing & SEO. He lectured for 15yrs+ at Curtin Uni where (in 2007) he was voted 5th best out of 2,500+ university lecturers in Australia. Now he wants to share what he knows.