The 3 Basic Elements of Highly Successful Websites
Many websites have one or two. Some have none. But the most successful sites have all three of these critical elements: Traffic, Information, and Conversion.
Element #1: Targeted Traffic
If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound? Same goes for websites. If you build your site and only your mother sees it, is it helping your business? It all starts with traffic. But not just any traffic — TARGETED traffic. There’s a distinction here. You can login to your Google Analytics and see you had a thousand unique visitors. But how long did they stay? Did they get past the front page? If the average time on your site is 30 seconds, and the bounce rate 80% (meaning 4 of 5 visitors don’t go beyond the first page) — then chances are your traffic doesn’t fit the profile of your ideal customer.
There are plenty of great ways to increase web traffic. There’s Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising for one (eg. Google Adwords). There’s organic search traffic. And then don’t forget social media — LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube and so on. There are many ways to attract attention these days, but the key is a coordinated plan in place to drive targeted traffic to your site.
So back to our falling tree: Yes, of course the tree makes a sound. It makes sound waves that travel through the air. Even if there was nobody there to hear it, a sound was made. Then again, if no one is there to hear it who cares? The same applies to your website. It exists on a sever somewhere as a series of 0′s and 1′s, but if nobody sees it, how does that help your business? Increasing web traffic is #1.
Element #2: Engaging Information
Which brings us to number two – information. No, make that ENGAGING information. Originally I had this as ‘content’ — but I think ‘information’ is a better word. These days we hear a lot about ‘content’ and ‘content marketing’. The problem is there is so damn much of it — and most of it doesn’t really inform or engage. Content is words on a page. It takes up space — maybe for better or for worse. But a lot of times mainly for the search engines.
Information is content that serves to INFORM (obviously). Informing your (targeted) visitors about your business, your knowledge, expertise and authority. Just remember the old marketing acronym AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action). Traffic creates ‘Awareness’, and drives targeted prospects to your website’s informative content about you, your services and offers. It creates the ‘ID’ (interest and desire).
Element #3: Conversion
So what about ‘Action’ — the final A in AIDA? That’s the third and final element to a highly effective website. All your hard work creating building traffic and creating information content is all for naught if your visitors don’t take an action. It may be to call or purchase an item. Or to sign up for a newsletter, fill out a form or download a white paper. How you get your visitors to act is through a sound conversion strategy — converting visitors to leads, then leads into prospects and finally customers.
The two biggest problems with poorly converting sites is either A) they don’t ask you to do anything, or B) they ask you to do too much. Identify one or two actions you would like your visitor take, and then build a clear path to these actions on your site — either prominently on your homepage, or via a targeted landing page dedicated to a specific action you wish your visitor to take.
One of the age old rules in sales is ‘always ask for the sale’. The same goes for your website. Your visitors are less likely to take an action without you clearly identifying the action they should take, then asking them to take it.
Google Analytics has built-in tools that allow you to track all the conversions in your site, create Conversion Goals, and then track the success of these goals. Through tracking, testing and some tweaking, you can optimize your response rates over time, and make your website the true conversion engine it wants to be.