- Maureen Dillon 06.23.2015
We're going to start this blog with an original concept: If website is the royal court, then, content is king.
Ok, I take it back. We're going to start this blog with a little sarcasm and then continue to beat a cliche but effective analogy into the ground. Please enjoy.
Apart from great content, a great website should have a great design too. This, therefore, makes design the queen. However, despite having a well-designed website with great content, you may still be unable to generate traffic. Why? Because, you have forgotten another important member of the royal family: the prince. The all to often fogotten prince of this particular royal family is marketing. Let's look at how each of these members affect your website's visibility.
Content is King
Original? No. At this point, it's a given. Whatever else your website may (or may not) have, it needs to provide quality content to its visitors. Your content should provide the visitors the information that they seek. If you are selling a product, then the content should not only expoung on the need and use for that product, but it should addess peripheral needs and painpoints that come along with the need for that product. Promotional or pushy advertizing content is much lower in value in this content-dense age. Your content should be easy to understand, but substantive. When incorporating content in your website, you have to keep your target audience in mind. Blogs targeted at amateur photographers should have content that help them; if, instead, your articles require your readers to have a lot of experience, then, obviously, your blog is missing its target. Quality content (in terms of language and semantics) and relevant content are absolutely essential.
Design is Queen
While your website's content is the most important aspect of it as far as your readers are concerned, having a good design definitely plays an important role in retaining your follower base. The king and queen must rule together and should be complementary. If a kingdom's queen doesn't allow the king to meet anybody, then how is he to rule effectively? You getting the image here? Your website's design must help readers gain access to whatever they are seeking easily. It is essential that your website's user has a good user experience and intuitive navigation. Apart from ensuring ease of navigation, you should also include responsive design. Whatever approach to design you take, it must complement your content, not overshadow it. It should also not make reading the content an arduous task: take note of the fonts and the color schemes.
Marketing is Prince
It is not sufficient to have a well designed website with great content. Your website needs readers. But, how will your readers know that the site even exists? This is where marketing comes in. While definitely not the most important part of the royal family, the prince should, nevertheless, not be neglected.
Unless you market your website, people will never know that it exists. Yes, you may get a few accidental readers, and, very rarely, if your website has brilliant content and a good design, those accidental readers may be sufficient to gain an enormous follower base. But, much more often than not, you have to take measures to ensure that your website will be visible to those seeking the content, products, and/or services that you provide.
The Royal Flush?
No one member of the royal court is powerful enough by itself to really meet your goals, though. You want to keep them together. A royal flush, if you will. To emphasize the importance of having the all three members of the royal court on your website--the king, the queen, and the prince--consider the following:
Technically, you'd also need a ten and an ace to have a royal flush, but I don't want to push my luck with this metaphor. And, honestly, I'm not sure what analogical role they would play here. So...an almost royal flush is necesessary for a truly cohesive website that does the job of building you a favorable and effective web presence.
Marketing Your Website
Content certainly plays a role in your marketing, in that it give you something to market. But, you need a base of followers who will share the content all over the web. For new sites developing an initial follower base (which is required to generate more followers) can be a struggle. So, how do you do this?
Take the initiative. Don't wait for followers to discover your site. Instead, take the site to your followers. Social media is one of the best available avenues for marketing. Share your stories directly on social media platforms. You can also start a discussion involving some content that is present on your website. You social media activity should develop an interest to visit your site. You should also make it easy for visitors to your site to share any content. Having links to social network sites near every article is a must
Apart from this, you should also look at more conventional marketing approaches. For instance, your website should incorporate search engine optimization components. You can also place ads on other related websites to draw users to your own site. Guest blogging on popular sites (related to your niche) is also a good way to improve your visibility.
But, this is not all. You should also keep track of your follower base and what they respond to. Use analytics tools to determine the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. You can also track the comments on your site (and your social media accounts) and figure out what your users would like to see on your website. Keep in mind that it is impossible to make everyone happy; if, however, a large number of users indicate that changes need to be made, you should listen and consider making those changes. If you are not able to obtain a steady increase in follower base, you should implement changes in your marketing strategy and step up your efforts.
While your website is mainly content and design, they alone will not help you to gain a follower base. You need to actively market your site using any means possible (except spamming). You have to gain an initial follower base and that can only be done through active marketing efforts on your part. Once you gain a base of followers, however, your content should then market the site by itself, though you should still keep up your marketing efforts.