When I say a success, I don’t mean that you’re making millions of dollars out of it. If you’re generating a significant amount of traffic and making a nice revenue from either advertising, working with clients or selling products, then you can call your website a success!
I’m not going to lie to you.
Building a successful website today isn’t an easy task to do, especially with the gazillion of websites created each day. Everyone and their dog have an online presence of some sort these days, and many start a website looking to sell their products or offer their services, but…
Unfortunately, most of them FAIL!
The vast majority of websites out there don’t make a dime.
To prevent that from happening to you, here are 5 essential elements that will make your website a success:
It’s really hard today to build a successful website without having a blog. Today’s consumer is more content centric and he/she won’t really care about your 5 page website!
A blog doesn’t only bring you more traffic to your website; it also helps you learn more about your target market so you can improve your products and services.
Here are some interesting stats!
The above chart shows that blogging leads to 55% more website visitors. While this might look impressive to some, I believe it doesn’t really give blogging what it deserves. Let me explain:
This study was done by analyzing 1,531 HubSpot customers. HubSpot is an inbound marketing software that costs $200 per month for the very basic plan.
If a business can invest $200 per month on a software, don’t you think they already have some sort of traffic coming to their website?
The engine of inbound marketing is traffic, and if these businesses are investing in an inbound marketing software, then they’re definitely receiving some traffic that they can convert into leads, which is not the case for the average website.
For a more general study, I would say that blogging can increase your website traffic dramatically. The great thing about it is that even if you stop blogging for a while, there will be always traffic coming in to your website. I have a blog that I created more than 3 years ago, and it’s still generating traffic to this day even thought my last blog post on that website was on April 2010!
For more blogging benchmarks, check out this HubSpot post!
2- Good Design
You may have noticed that there is a huge focus on conversion optimization these days, and it’s for a very good reason!
You may have also heard of how a simple call to action tweak can dramatically increase your conversions.
It’s not easy to generate quality traffic these days, and if you’re getting any, you should know how to convert the maximum amount of that traffic.
You probably know that the vast majority of people who leave your website won’t return to it again, and unless you capture their information, you’re going to lose them forever.
To simplify this, let’s say that you’re spending some money on advertising.
You’re spending a $1,000 for every 5,000 visitors. If you have a conversion rate of 1%, then 50 visitors will buy your product.
Imagine that you improve your conversion rate by 200%. That will make it go up to 3%, which will get you 150 customers, which means that now you only spend a third of the initial budget ($333,33) to make the same amount of money that you made spending $1,000!
You may think that a 200% increase in conversion is exaggerated, but take a look at these dramatic increase in conversion from a post on Neil Patel’s blog!
Buy Now Vs Free Trial (Free Trial increased signups by 158.60%)
Helping Vs Selling (Helping people increased leads by 349%)
At this point, you may be asking what does design has to do with conversion optimization?
The answer is simple, your website design should offer a great user experience to your visitors, and it doesn’t, it won’t convert!
You may think that you just make a good looking website and your conversions will jump up!
Designing a high converting website today requires some special design/conversion/copywriting skills. If you hire a designer just based on their design skills rather than their color psychology, behavior tracking and copywriting skills, then you’re just going to build another pretty website that doesn’t convert!
Sure those designers cost more, but you’ll be able to get your investment back in a very short time.
For a more in-depth analysis on how design could dramatically increase your conversions, check out Neil Patel’s blog post entitled “How Saving On Design Could Cost You More In The Long Term”.
Note: You may have noticed that I made a complete redesign for my website recently. I wanted to go with a more simplistic design that has more focus on content. I used StudioPress to get the genesis framework as well as the child theme. Now I believe my website looks much cleaner and simpler and we’ll have to wait several weeks to see if it converts better than the old design. Please let me know if you like the new design in the comment section below
3- Social Sharing
Social sharing should be a major component of any modern website.
If you have any sort of content on your website, then strategically placing social sharing buttons will definitely increase your website’s traffic.
Social sharing buttons aren’t only effective when placed on blog posts, they can also increase traffic to your Ecommerce products. If you have anything of value that you offer on your website both free or paid, then you should include some social sharing buttons of the platforms you know your audience are using. It’s also recommended that you always ask people to share your content on their social profiles, because oftentimes they forget to do that!
If you’re using WordPress like I do, then you can check out: Digg Digg which is the floating social sharing bar that you see on the left of my blog posts.
4- Lead Generation Form
This is probably the whole reason of starting a website or blog!
If you’re not capturing your website’s visitors’ information, then you’re definitely losing money!
You should include at least one optin form on your website whether on the top left/right sidebar, at the end of your posts, below the header or on separate landing pages.
We’ll use the previous example to simplify this one:
Imagine that you spend $1,000 to drive 5,000 visitors to your website. If you direct them to a sales page, and you get let’s say a 1% conversion rate, you’ll have 50 customers, right?
So 50 visitors of those 5,000 bought your product, but what happens to the other 4,950?
They leave and probably never come back!
Even if you hire a professional copywriter to craft your copy and double or triple your conversion rate, there still be lots of visitors who will leave without taking any action.
That’s where email marketing comes in handy!
You already know that those 5,000 people are already interested in your product or service. However, they didn’t buy from you NOW for a variety of reasons including: you didn’t really convince them, your product is too expensive for them at the moment, they don’t know you, they don’t trust you, they don’t know if your product will help them…etc
You shouldn’t really let those people go just because they’re not ready to buy yet. You should capture their emails in exchange for a valuable free gift. You’ll still lose many of them because that’s how business works, but at least you’ll manage to convert those who optin into paying customers by overcoming their objections with very helpful and valuable emails.
Let me give you the same scenario, but with email marketing in mind!
You spend $1,000 to get 5,000 visitors to your website. 1% of them buys and that means 50 people. Let’s say that your product is priced at $37. You’ll be making $1,850. That’s a $850 profit.
Now imagine that you offer some valuable free gift to the 4950 people who leave and let’s say you get a 10% conversion rate. You’ll get 495 people to optin into your email list without buying your product.
Now let’s say that you have a 10% conversion rate on your email nurturing campaign. That should bring you an additional 50 customers. These 50 customers will make you an additional $1,850. That will make the whole revenue come up to $3,700 for just spending $1,000. That’s a 270% profit!!!
Bottom line, you should have some lead capturing mechanism on your website!
5- Social Proof
Robert Cialdini puts “Social Proof” as one of the most powerful principals of influence that a business owner can use.
To explain this principal, here is my all time favorite restaurant example
Let’s say that you want to eat outside and found 2 restaurants.
The first one is full of customers, while the second one is almost empty.
You would go to the first one because all of those people can’t be wrong, right?
The same thing applies to your website.
If people come to your website and see on your left sidebar that you have 10,000 Twitter followers, 15,000 Facebook fans and 7,000 email subscribers, they will assume the same thing, that if all of those people are following you, you must have something really valuable to say or offer.
Social proof doesn’t only stop at that. You can leverage anything that your visitors perceive as high value.
If you’ve been mentioned on Forbes, NYTimes, HBR or any popular blog/magazine on your industry, then why wouldn’t you want to share that with your visitors? It’ll give you authority and they will trust you more because of those authority mentions.
Here are some examples:
Source: Neil Patel
Source: Social Triggers
If you have anything that would be perceived as authority to your website’s visitors, then show it to them. This will help them get through that last barrier of trust and buy from you, because you know, people buy from businesses they know, like and “TRUST”!
That being said, which one of those elements is missing on your website?
Image Credit: craftivist collective