Whether launching a new business or redesigning your website to improve your brand’s online presence, building a website shouldn’t be done on a whim.
Your website is where you promote your brand, create lasting relationships with your customers, and convert new business. It’s the face of your brand and where you build your content kingdom.
Failing to get your website design and content right the first time can negatively affect your business. A poorly designed and badly optimized website can severely limit your conversions and has the potential to crush your opportunities for growth.
Whether you’re building a site for your small business, launching a major WooCommerce operation, or creating a new blog, there are several things you need to consider when building your website and crafting amazing content to fuel its success.
To help guide you in the right direction, we asked 17 web design, content marketing, and marketing pros for their top advice on creating an effective website fueled by content that drives business results.
Before we jump into their insights, let’s answer an important question. Why is having a website with engaging content so important in the first place?
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Why is it so important to have a content-fueled website presence?
Your website is the one piece of online real estate you truly own. Social media, forums, and other channels are excellent ways to promote your brand, but ultimately, you don’t own any of those spaces.
Your website is different. You own the messaging, the user experience, the content, and all elements of your website. This allows you to create an optimized experience to connect with your audience and drive business.
Craft your brand’s story to highlight the value your products and services offer and how they help solve problems. This is important in getting the word out about what you bring to the table. But, your website needs to go beyond just telling the story of your products and services.
To truly connect with your audience and grow your business via your website, it’s important to consider the impact of SEO and user experience. Those things are largely fueled by the power of the content you create for your site.
Your customers expect more from you today than ever before. Their need for more transcends your products to include the experience and the content on your website. If you don’t have a solid mix of that to keep your visitors engaged, they’ll leave and look to do business elsewhere.
How does the website planning process work?
So, as you build website, what should you consider to have the biggest impact on your business?
Start by thinking of building your website like a film production. The production takes place in several phases.
This is the planning stage. If you want to create a website that drives actual business results, you need to plan upfront. The magic doesn’t just happen.
Like in the movies, there’s a lot of work that needs to be put in place before you even take that first step into the production phase.
- Learn about your audience and their problems, as well as how you can solve them
- Understand the optimal layout, pages, navigation, and flow of your site
- Plan the static copy to promote your products and services
- Strategize for amazing content to tell your brand’s story
- Consider SEO to help your site show up in search
- Make a list of the keywords you want to target
- Plan your URL structure
This phase of the website project serves as your script – or your web design strategy. This strategy will be a key component in your success.
Once you have your website design strategy in place, you’ll move into the production phase. This phase will involve the actual design. It will also include things like SEO, content creation, and copywriting. You’ll need an entire crew in place to make the magic happen.
- Put an editorial workflow in place
- Assign pages and articles for your team to write
- Draft copy and content
- Work essential keywords into the copy
- Build your branding into the site, clearly and consistently
- Add images and videos to visually tell the story of your brand
- Incorporate internal linking to let search engines know what pages are important
I highly recommend starting with a wireframe to show the layout and flow of your site. The wireframe serves as a no-frills version of the site. This ensures everyone is on board with the direction.
Then jump into a staging environment and start building out the content and laying it out into optimally designed pages.
The staging environment allows you to test out different features of your site and content types in a safe space. This ensures the changes you’re making aren’t publicly visible until you’re ready to launch the site.
Before you launch your site into the world, there’s one more step, the post-production phase.
This is akin to the editing phase in film production. Fine-tuning the audio, cutting the clips together, and making sure the final product is flawless before releasing it into theaters.
The flow is similar in web design, as you’ll be doing a lot of testing and fine-tuning of your website and content to make sure it’s good to go public.
Once all the pretty things are in place, testing everything is important. Before you announce that you have a new website, make sure all your links are working, and test the user experience. Make sure your site is loading super-fast. Double-check all your forms and other functionality to ensure all is good.
Get Set to Hit the Theaters
Once you’ve completed all three of these phases, it’s time to launch your site and announce it. Watch the rave reviews roll in, the website traffic surge, and your business grow.
Time to dive into some expert advice from top web design and marketing minds who’ve been there and seen the results of doing things the right way, and doing them the wrong way. Read on to find out how to build a powerful website for your business, fueled by content and SEO.
The most important part of building a website starts before the actual building
Building a truly great website is challenging. It’s even more challenging when you lack a roadmap to guide your efforts.
“The most important consideration for building a successful website starts before starting the building process,” said Adam Connell, Founder of Blogging Wizard. “There are four components you need to consider. They all need to work together in harmony. Unsuccessful websites have these components, but they don’t fit together. It’s like having a jigsaw puzzle with the wrong pieces. You can spend huge amounts of time trying to fit it together, but it just isn’t going to work.”
The four components Connell mentions are as follows.
- Business model – This is your north star. You need a singular conversion goal to drive all of your efforts.
- Audience – You need to know exactly who you are serving. Try completing this sentence: We help _____ to ______. “Everyone” cannot be your ideal audience. Specific is better.
- Content – Your content strategy needs to align perfectly with the needs of your audience and business model.
- Marketing – How will you market your content? And how will you market your business in general?
Start with the business model and walk through all of the necessary details before you launch into building your website or creating any content. Jumping in too early without direction can have a lasting, negative impact on your business.
“If anyone tells you the absolute best thing for your business without understanding the needs of your business, ignore it,” continued Connell. “If you read an article that says you should do X, Y, and Z to grow your business, you should always view it in the context of your own business needs.”
“Don’t let random pieces of advice without context steer your business and the direction of your WordPress site design. Work to understand your business model, your audience, and the best content.”
Understanding who your website is designed to target
Never build your website or create content for your own needs. Any digital property you leverage to grow your brand should be built with your audience in mind. That takes planning and deep knowledge of your audience, including who they are and what makes them tick.
“The best tip I can offer is to determine beforehand who the ideal site visitor is, and what the primary objective of the site would be,” said Brady Williams, Digital Marketing Strategist and Web Designer at Uncle Jake Media. “If the primary objective of a site is to attract ideal clients, do so by presenting helpful solutions to the biggest problem that potential client would be looking to solve.”
It goes back to knowing the “why” about your business and your website. It’s not about why you launched the business or what your product does. It’s about knowing why someone would benefit from your products based on the problems they face and the things going on in their lives.
Tell the story of your brand and products through clever copy that explains why you do what you do and how deeply you understand your audience. Draft blog articles and other content to provide valuable advice and help your audience solve problems.
Authenticity is key
To connect with your audience once you understand who they are, authenticity is key. Your audience doesn’t want to interact with just your digital presence. They want to know that there are people behind the brand and behind the digital presence.
“Be authentic. This means you need to present yourself as who you are,” said Adam Silver, Owner at ConciergeWP WordPress agency. “You (and the brand) need to help solve the problem at hand for your visitors and realize that not everything needs have a fee associated with it.”
Create for your audience, and don’t always ask for something in return. Plan to deeply understand the needs of your audience and create your website and content around that knowledge.
“Like any business website, businesses are also dependent on factors like demand, supply, problem-solving, and so on,” said Chayan Chakrabarti, Founder of Simple Facts Online. “In a nutshell, a webmaster should identify the target audience and their demands, and then find and exploit the gaps in the market. Be authentic, and help fill those gaps for your audience.”
Get all the necessary elements in place
Building a website and creating your content kingdom is a big undertaking. In setting out on your website journey, the overwhelming nature of designing your website can make it easy to overlook the little details as you focus on the bigger picture.
“Take care of all of the little details during the planning stages,” said Sameer Khan, CEO of Social Champ. “Get a domain name that creates a good impact for usability purposes and search engine optimization (SEO).”
“Host your website on reliable, secure, and fast web hosting,” continued Khan. “Additionally, the Logo, messaging, and design of your website should be set up in a way that it talks with the audience. And, of course, we can’t ignore Core Web Vitals – so try your best to implement all the strategies to hit the perfect score.”
Do your research
It’s critical that you get things right the first time. Put in the time to do your research and get the right resources and knowledge in place before you take your first step into the design phase of your project or begin creating any content.
“Do your research so you’ll be able to choose the best hosting company, the theme or design that’s the right fit for your business, and also so you can learn what you need to know about content writing, SEO, and other important aspects of running a website,” said Sabina Lohr, Founder of World of Freelancers. “You want to do things the right way the first time, so you don’t have to waste time fixing mistakes and doing things over later. Spending some time researching now will definitely help you and your website in the future.”
Develop and execute an SEO strategy from the start
If you wait until your site is live to consider SEO, you’ll face an uphill struggle getting your website to rank in search results.
“My best tip for building a successful WordPress website is to take the entire vast field of SEO, divide it into pillars, and then create your site’s standards and SOPs for those,” said Nikola Roza, SEO Consultant. “What do I mean? I mean that SEO is multifaceted; it’s not just links or content, it’s everything combined.”
SEO is an entire universe. Google looks at approximately 200 ranking factors to determine the value of your site. So, just how do you take on that big of an endeavor to ensure your site is ready to show up in search once it goes live?
“You need to divide SEO as a whole into branches (I call them pillars), and then you need to develop your site’s standards for each,” continued Roza. “And after you have your standards/guidelines and objectives, you must build SOPs, so you know the steps you need to take to get there. The goal is to have a predetermined string of actions you do for every facet of SEO to get it in tip-top shape so that it contributes to your overall SEO.”
For example, Roza cites the following as pillars for his site’s SEO.
- Technical SEO;
- Website architecture;
- Keyword research;
- On-page SEO;
- Social media;
- Link building;
- Content repurposing
- Relationship building
This will likely look a bit different for your site. What’s important is that you understand your SEO pillars and start putting steps in place to focus on these before, during, and after your WordPress website launches into the world.
Go beyond the SEO basics
SEO is more than just on-page or basic text-based content. It includes visuals and other components, and now it even includes audio considerations.
“Add audio to your pages,” said Ahmed Bouzid, Founder of Witlingo. “People stay 70% to 80% longer on pages with audio than pages without audio. This is especially true for pages with a lot of text in them. Adding audio to your pages, in other words, enables you to have your cake (lots of text content in your pages) and eat it too (have people spend more time on those pages).”
Use SEO tools to assess your site’s optimization
SEO is an important consideration when building your website. As we discussed earlier, it’s a big undertaking. For that reason, lots of businesses pass on SEO and neglect to benefit from its value.
If the amount of effort and lack of resources is holding you back from placing a strong focus on SEO, there’s good news. Plenty of SEO tools and platforms are available to make your SEO work more manageable.
“You can use tools like Frase or Surfer SEO that analyze top-ranking articles for your target keyword and gives practical recommendations like word count, the number of paragraphs, the number of images, the number of headings, important words, related keyword, and other important insights,” said Sumit Sao of Blogging Lift. “By following all these recommendations, you can optimize your website for Google and other search engines starting from the moment you launch and improve your ranking?“
Plan to use only the right (most necessary) plugins for your site
There are thousands of WordPress plugins for all kinds of purposes if you build your site on WordPress. Redirection, social media, analytics, security, just to name a few. Ensuring those plugins are always up-to-date is a critical component of your site’s performance. Alternative CMS platforms like Wix, Shopify, and others also have apps you can add to your site to give it a boost.
Installing too many plugins or apps, leaving a bunch of them inactive, or failing to have a plan to update them can be problematic.
“Manage your plugins wisely. Install the ones you need, delete the ones you don’t, and watch how many plugins are loading scripts or styles on the front-end,” said Jonathan Szewczyk, Web Designer, and Developer at Neur Designs. “If there is too much going on with all of your plugins, it may only make things worse.”
Having too many plugins in place isn’t the only problem. Updating plugins can be tedious and time-consuming. Fortunately, if you host your website with the right hosting provider, a managing WordPress hosting provider specifically, all of these updates will likely be taken care of for you.
Prepare to deliver the best user experience
Google’s Core Web Vitals is the latest attempt in Google’s effort to emphasize the user experience website’s offer. But, you shouldn’t just look to create a positive user experience to please search engines.
Your visitors will be much happier and more likely to convert if they land on your site and can get what they came for quickly and easily. It’s your job to create content for your visitors, not just for the bots.
”A sustainable website is the basis of a successful online business, and one of the best ways to build a successful website is to create an exceptional user experience (UX) for your site visitors,” said Moss Clement, Content Strategist and B2B Copywriter. “Web design and structure play critical roles in developing a successful web property.”
One way to improve the user experience on your site is to incorporate personalization. When someone visits your website and feels like the site was built just for them, they’re much more likely to resonate with your business and convert into a customer.
“Personalization is essential for providing unique experiences that will make users and visitors come back for more,” continued Clement. “HubSpot published that 80% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from brands that provide personalized marketing experiences. And that 90% of buyers say that customized marketing is more appealing. Also, 99% of businesses indicate that a personalized marketing experience helps improve consumer relations.”
“Therefore, start personalizing your website and marketing content to help attract more users and retain your customers. You can start by personalizing your landing pages, website home page, and blog content pieces to connect better and build your target audience.”
Consider technical elements of your site’s user experience
“Show excerpts on Home and Archive Pages,” said Brack Nelson, WordPress SEO Expert at Incrementors Web Solutions. “To avoid displaying the complete content of every item on the WordPress site, post excerpts are utilized on the blog index and archive pages.”
“All popular blogs display article summaries rather than the whole piece on their home and archive pages,” continued Nelson. “It speeds up the loading of specific pages, boosts page visits, and prevents duplicating material across your entire website. Although WordPress has built-in support for showing post excerpts, not every theme will use it.”
Create plenty of opportunities to get in touch
Nothing kills the website experience like wanting to reach out to the brand or site owner but struggling to find a simple way. You must offer ample opportunities for your site visitors to get in touch with you. Failing to do so can lead to missed opportunities to convert visitors into customers.
“My top tip for building a successful website is to make it easy for your clients/readers to engage with you or contact you,” said pro blogger SharlaAnn Matyjanka. “Don’t hide your contact page in some obscure location that is impossible to find.”
Place calls to action in prominent areas on your website. Set a live chat option in place. Make your phone number and other contact info highly visible. You can see this in practice in the screenshot of Gaenzle Marketing’s home page below.
“When someone does contact you via your contact form, reply to them,” continued Matyjanka. “If they comment on a blog post or through social media, reply. Active engagement builds rapport which could land you a great client or many down the road.”
Place a strong focus on producing quality content
On so many levels, content is the key to the success of your website and your digital presence as a whole. Consistently delivering high-quality content on your website shows search engines that you’re active, and it helps keep your visitors coming back for more.
As you plan the content strategy component of your website design, aim to create helpful content that provides tons of value for your website visitors.
“For me, creating detailed content that solves my reader’s specific problems is the top tip for building a successful website,” said Ryan Biddulph, Founder at Blogging From Paradise. “Publishing helpful content makes the difference but doing so generously, patiently, and persistently for the long haul lays a rock-solid foundation for any online business.”
Content planning for the long-term
Plan for the long-term. Planning only for the launch is too short-sighted. The key is to plan your content strategy, so your team is ready to produce the right content at the right time to add value for your visitors and ultimately convert them into customers.
Blogging should be a vital part of any website launch plan. Blog articles can help boost SEO, increase time on page, and build strong relationships with your audience.
“When you create blog content for your readers, aim for 1000-1500 word or longer pieces of content dripping with juicy details designed to solve reader problems.” continued Biddulph. “Add depth to the post. Give away all of your gems. Readers who appreciate your free advice grow to trust you. Trusting readers evolve into loyal customers and clients.”
“Keep your website updated with fresh content on a regular basis,” said Richa Tiwari, Professional Blogger. “If you don’t update your site regularly, Google will penalize you by lowering its ranking in search results pages.”
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Leverage the power of content to build business-generating content
The power of content is that it brings new eyes to your brand, creates loyalty, and ultimately results in a boost in business.
“Ultimately, you could have a beautifully branded website which can drive sales, but you need to get a high volume of relevant website traffic for that,” said Poulomi Basu, Branding and Marketing Consultant at Ignite Marketing. “The key to that is creating a solid content strategy, developing killer content, and distributing it to the maximum (again, without being spammy).”
Distribution should be a significant focus of your content strategy. It’s not enough to create amazing content. You need to also have a plan for getting that content in front of the right people at the right time, as well as a plan to capture leads.
Mix of free and premium content
While most pros recommend giving away your content freely, it’s also recommended that you leverage content like eBooks, industry reports, and other more premium types of content to capture leads. Premium content doesn’t have to mean site visitors need to pay for it. You can still give this content away free but simply require that the visitor provides you with their email address or other contact info in exchange for the free content. This helps build your pipeline while not seeming too salesy or pushy.
Plan content and keywords
Create a content calendar that includes both free and premium content from the moment you start planning your website. Plan your calendar out in advance. Planning your content will ensure you stay consistent and produce content at a frequency that drives results.
“Know your topic, your niche, and your keywords. Do your research around your keywords, then spend time building high-quality articles, and be sure to be consistent,” said Corey Hinde, Founder at Good Oil Marketing. “Every month, every week, or whatever you decide to establish as your publishing timeline, stick to it. Then work hard to network and get your articles shared.”
“By implementing essential pieces of this content strategy from scratch on day one when creating new websites, we pave the way towards success by targeting targeted traffic with relevant keywords which increases awareness about what services/products are available via Google (and other search engines) searches performed at any given time (and throughout all days),” said Lisa Sicard, Marketing Consultant at Inspire to Thrive.
Plan for the power of proprietary research
Placing original research on your website can add a ton of value. When you launch your new site, if there are insights available to your visitors that they can only find on your site, that will significantly impact your site’s success.
“Proprietary research is key. If you can create a valuable, relevant, and unique research report on your industry, on behalf of your audience, there is, perhaps, nothing better that will drive organic traffic and social media sharing,” said Joe Pulizzi, Founder of The Tilt. “We’ve done this twice, and it’s worked both times.”
“First, we launched the Content Marketing Benchmark report for CMI, starting in 2010 and continuing on today. Second, we launched a Creator Economy research report for The Tilt in 2021,” continued Pulizzi. “If that wasn’t enough, multiple articles, charts, and infographics come from that one piece of research. You could put it at the center of your content strategy with confidence.”
Proprietary research, in its original form, is valuable enough. But when you consider the opportunities to break that content out into multiple additional pieces in different formats, you can extend the business value of your proprietary research in a seemingly endless number of ways.
Get started planning and preparing to successfully launch your website (aka, your ‘content kingdom’)
With the tips our experts shared within this article, you’re now armed and ready to build a website designed to convert new business.
Planning should start well before you jump into any designing, copywriting, or content creation. The planning and strategy should then fuel the direction you take with your design.
Things like SEO, content marketing, and a deep understanding of who you’re targeting with your WordPress website are the key to growth.
Keep all of these things in mind as you build your site, and you’ll be well-positioned to succeed.