10 Steps to Create a Website that Drives Traffic and Conversions
Fact, your website is one of the most important elements of your online strategy. It’s your business card, virtual shop window, and the platform where you engage and interact with customers. A well-designed, high-performing website is essential to drive brand awareness, traffic, and ultimately, leads or sales.
However, building and managing a website can be a daunting task, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the process.
The quick guide below is a practical, step-by-step approach to building and managing a successful website, based on my experience as Website Manager at Outbrain. It covers everything from planning and content creation to design and website security. We also explore how to analyze web metrics, develop a social media strategy, and keep your website up-to-date – all in bite-size nuggets to get you started even today.
Let’s dive into the ten essential steps to create a website that drives traffic and conversions.
1. Determine Your Website Objectives
Define your goals for your website, whether it is increasing brand awareness, driving traffic, improving user engagement, or generating leads. Determine what resources you need, what your budget is, and who will be responsible for the different aspects of the project.
2. Identify Your Website Target Audience and Competitors
Identify your target market and competitors to create a website that addresses their needs and stands out. A key part of this process is creating buyer personas. These help you to map out the personality, pain points, and needs of your potential customers, so you can craft a website UX and content that will resonate with them. Examine your competitors by diving into their website experiences, navigation, and design, and explore their website data and SEO information via tools such as SimilarWeb and SEMrush. Also, take a look at their social media presence and online interactions to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Based on a deeper knowledge of your target audiences and competitors, you can create a website that provides a better user experience.
3. Choose a Content Management System
A good content management system (CMS) is one that fits your business requirements. For example, Wix is a user-friendly CMS that is great for small to medium businesses to DIY their website design and experience. Shopify is the platform of choice for e-commerce websites, while WordPress is a favorite among businesses that have internal development resources and can leverage the platform’s technical capabilities to create a more advanced backend.
Consider factors such as ease of use, design templates, integration with other software, and customer support. A good CMS should allow you to create and manage web content efficiently without technical expertise.
4. Create a Content Strategy
Develop a content strategy that aligns with your objectives and target audience. Conduct keyword research, create a content calendar, and produce quality content that adds value to your readers.
A good content strategy is a measurable one. By tracking engagement and conversions, you can asses content performance and adjust as necessary. Some of the key metrics for web content performance include organic traffic, time on page, CTR (click-through rate), scroll depth, bounce rate, and exit rate.
5. Design Your Website for Performance
Ensure your website design is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and aligns with your brand identity. Design pages that offer a positive user experience, use white spaces effectively, and rely on visual content. Optimize images, videos, and other multimedia content for faster loading time.
Good website design isn’t just about looking good; the design should always support the goal of the page. That’s why CTAs (calls to action) are such an important element of the design. If the goal is to convince the visitor to book a demo, then the CTA should encourage them to do just that.
6. Practice Good SEO
Optimize your website for search engines to help customers find you online. Create meta descriptions, optimize images and videos, use internal links, and create a Google My Business listing to improve your online visibility. Conduct regular SEO audits to improve website performance. There a several free tools available that can help you, such as Google Search Console, SEMrush (freemium version), AnswerThePublic, and more.
7. Monitor Site Health, Security, and Performance
Ensure that your website is safe and reliable by enabling secure encryption, keeping CMS and software updated, and installing firewalls and malware detectors. Test your website frequently for broken links, accessibility issues, and slow page speeds.
8. Develop a Social Media Strategy
Develop a social media strategy that supports your website objectives. Engage with your audience on different social media channels, create a consistent brand voice, and share content that adds value to your readers.
Why is your social media activity so important to your website? Traffic referred from social networks is not just free traffic, it also signals to Google algorithms that your website is engaging and popular, which will help it to rank higher in SERPs.
9. Analyze Data and Metrics
Analyze data and metrics to measure your website’s effectiveness. Use tools like Google Analytics or other website analytics applications to track visitors, engagement, and conversion rates.
The top three metrics you should be tracking include:
10. Update and Adjust Your Website, Continuously
Continuously update and adjust your website to keep it relevant and effective. Monitor changes in the market or trends in customer behavior, update content regularly, and enhance website features. Conduct website testing and audits to ensure your website is performing at its optimal level. HotJar is a highly recommended tool that helps you see how visitors behave on your site and remove any obstacles to good UX – plus, it’s free.
By following these ten steps, you can build a website that aligns with your business goals and engages your customers. Even more, a well-designed, secure, and optimized website can elevate your brand above the competition, enhance your customer loyalty, and drive revenue growth.