If you could choose only one what would you choose?
A great looking car with an engine that's about to die out?
An ugly looking car with a fantastic engine?
I know many people who will still go for the great looking car.
It's called "vanity".
In fact, web designers call these sites "vanity sites". The term is not even considerered drerogatory.
OK, the example was a bit extreme, but I was simply trying to make a point.
This is a good analogy to your website.
Do you want your website to look great but have all the unseen issues that will eventually lead to it's death?
Do you want an ugly site that's going to make you rich?
I know your answer.
You want a great looking site that's going to make you rich.
YES you can have the cake and eat it too.
YES. You CAN have a great looking site that also works great under the hood.
The purpose of the article is to explain what looking under the hood of a website really means.
I won't go into details because some of it is pretty technical.
The outside look of the car = The design of your website.
Yes it's important, but not the most important.
It's important to have a professional looking website but not one with graphics that seem to light up like the night sky of Vegas.
The engine of the car = Everything else that actually makes your site generate revenue.
So what are these things that are so important to your website?
Here they are.
Have a lot of useful content on your site.
Videos, useful graphics (not colorful to look nice kind but the actually useful kind) and tons of useful articles.
So if you are dentist then fill your site up with information that people actually care to hear about from a dentist.
How to actually clean your teeth...are these products really useful...is it better to go with root canal or....
This is besides the standard About Us, Contact Us etc stuff.
Contet is King.
The content serves two main purposes.
Visitors love them (if they are useful).
Search engines love them (if they are original).
NOTE: For search engine purposes the text content are the best. That's why pure Flash sites have an extremely hard time ranking on search engines.
Make sure your site is search engine friendly.
The URL, the Title tags, the link structures, the navigation structure, sitemaps and there is more.
Several articles can be written on each of these.
If you are doing PPC then at least understand what the following are.
Campaign settings, Ad rotation (Taguchi, A/B testing), CTR, Quality Score, Ad positions, CPC, Max CPC, Exact search vs. Broad search.
Traffic is Queen.
#3. Usability for visitors
I have seen sites that have great content and lots of traffic and look professional and generate great revenue but have some usability issues.
I had an e-commerce client who was doing pretty well.
The call to action buttons are not the right size or color. The navigation is not setup optimally. The checkout process is not optimized. etc...
When the issues were fixed the revenue nearly doubled. My customer was doing over $20,000 in profit / month before. After the fixes it went to $38,000 / month in profit.
We used a couple of different techniques to figure out on improving the usability. That could be a whole new topic.
#4. Flexible CMS
CMS = Content Management System.
You need a site that you can maintain yourself.
I get this question asked frequently.
How much do you charge to maintain the site?
My answer. $0
You will maintain it yourself.
I am like parents. Parents teach their kids to manage on their own. One day the kids grow up and manage on their own.
I have clients who have been running their sites for over 15 years now. They call me sometimes to ask if I want to meet up for a drink.
I see their site change and grow constantly, but I never made those changes.
My clients did all the changes. They have the ability to do so.
I setup each site to be easy engough for my clients to add pages, add products, change pages, remove pages etc.
I feel bad for those site owners who have to call their web designer to make a one line change on their websites.
I sound like a broken record reminding everyone that it's not the look of the site that's going to generate the revenue it's what's under the hood - the non-visual aspects of the site.
Focus on the 4 points above and you will see the magic.
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