3 Key Steps to Great Website Content & Functionality

Summary

The old marketing funnel that some learned in school is out with Web 2.0.  Visitors want quality content, but they also want to be engaged, asked to contribute and respected for their contribution.  They may trust you, but they trust their friends and others more.  To attract and keep visitors, you should ask:

  1. Who is your audience and what are they looking for?  For example, if your website is about Pro Basketball, are visitors interested in players’ lives or fantasy teams?  You can have many sub-audiences, but think about which is largest and most profitable.
  2. What unique and compelling content can you offer?   This may include narrowing your focus to attract a specific sub-audience and/or serving up your content with new simplicity or pizzaz (e.g. mapping, videos).  Maybe a competitor posts articles about players’ lives, but you could link/embed videos or photos that would be more compelling.
  3. How will your users get involved?   The web has gone from dissemination of information to multi-way sharing of information – from  facts and figures to opinion and perspective.  Some examples include blog comments, polls, user ratings, forums, suggestion boxes, user-contributed articles, photos and links.  How will you use these and other tools effectively without leading to utter chaos?

 Answering these questions well should lead to functionality and content that draws visitors in and gives them a reason to stay. 

Head-Spinning Can be Fun
Head-Spinning Can be Fun

Bonus – Enough to Make Your Head Spin. 

For success, your users must help you build community and loyalty.   They must think of you when they’re elsewhere online or offline altogether.  You must prompt them to do this.  There are way too many options – Newsletters, RSS feeds, social bookmarking, social networking, pinging, trackbacks.  It’s all enough to make a novice’s head spin (it did mine).  We’ll cover this more later, but bottom line, you want your users to help you build community by sharing the good news like any good evangelist. 

Background

Previous Post.  5 Steps to Choosing Your Website Niche

When I started this journey, I knew what content I wanted.  I saw what I thought was missing.  Unfortunately, after keyword research, I found that it was missing because most of my audience didn’t care much about it.  Don’t make that mistake.  Do your homework.

In marketing they teach about a “Marketing Funnel”  with 5 basic components.

  1. Awareness.  Your first responsibility is to make your target audience aware of you (e.g. high ranking in Google search)
  2. Consideration.  Once they know you’re there, they must consider you one of their top choices to become a . . .
  3. Preference.  Once you’re considered, you’ve got to get them to prefer you over the competition in order to get to . . .
  4. Trial/Action.  This is where they try you out.  Notice, that the first 3 steps of the user experience happen BEFORE they even get to your site.  Now that you’ve got them there, is the experience compelling?  If it is, you have a shot at . . .
  5. Loyalty.  In most businesses, return customers/users are the holy grail.  To be successful, you want people to come back.  We want them to come back and bring their friends.

This advice used to be good enough for building sites and even finding a mate ;-)  However, the funnel is changing to respond to the greater interaction available online compared with print.  Now you need to interact with your users and allow them to interact with each other.  Some will be visitors, some contributors and some may become moderators that become the “elders” of your community.  This is what makes for a truly “sticky” website.

Marketing Funnel - Then and Now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketing Funnel - Then and Now

Resources

In your comments, don’t forget to add other resources that might help readers. 

Thanks for stopping by.

5 Steps to Choosing Your Website Niche

Summary

  • Unless you have a specific product to sell, us small frys make our money through affiliate marketing (e.g. selling/allowing ads on our website).
  • Advertisers like to target their ads so our goal is to choose a profitable niche market where we can be successful.

Here are the steps to choose wisely:

  1. Create a list of things you’re passionate about.  Could be hobbies, political topics, your kid’s education.  As long as you can maintain your interest to research and write about the topic, it matters less whether you’re an expert.
  2. Add keywords from sub-areas of your passion (e.g. from fishing to deep sea fishing). 
  3. Determine popularity and profitability by using keyword searches (some listed below) determine how frequently your topic is searched and the CPC (Cost per click) advertisers are willing to pay.
  4. Search for competing websites.  Don’t be discouraged by a couple of quality competitors.  Maybe you can narrow your focus and get a good audience in a sub-area.  Maybe there is enough money to go around.
  5. Relax!  Have fun!  Remember, our goal is not to get rich quick, but make some money, have some fun and have a life.

Background

Previous post – Can you make money from a free website?  Yes.

OK, I decided to do a website.  As with most business ventures, the majority FAIL.  Undaunted, I want to have a leg up on the competition, but not become so obsessed it’s unmanageable or no longer fun.  I learned that affiliate marketing is the way to go.  Google Adsense is the 800lb. Gorilla, but there are many other ways to make money which I’ll discuss in later posts.  Regardless, you need a quality website, in a niche market with a good following of visitors.   

Choosing a niche.  To make money, the goal is to find a topic that is popular, profitable and not competitive.  Good luck with that!  After researching several hobbies, I decided that if even I found the perfect topic, I wouldn’t be having enough fun to keep it going – and stay employed.  Instead, I’m keeping with my passion and refining based on research.

With my niche mostly determined, I decided to go for it!

Resources

No YouTubes on this topic – they all appeared to be scams or sales jobs.  Nothing wrong with selling, but I’m trying to point you to free or nearly free resources if quality ones exist. 

In your comments, don’t forget to add other resources that might help readers. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Can you make money with a free website?

Summary

Question:  Can I turn a hobby into a few extra bucks on the side with minimal investment or is this stuff really for the big boys? 

Answer:  I believe so. 

I’ve found many sites that I know or appear to be run by one or a couple of people and they earn their money through affliliate marketing or straight advertising related to their hobby (i.e. niche).

Background

I found that there is free software, services, websites, tutorials, videos and many more to get you started to making money on the web.  I also found there are numerous scams to avoid.  I’ll get more into choosing your resources later, but the bottom line is there is money to be made.  How much.  I’ve seen solo bloggers making $4800/month through Google and I’m sure most make less and some are making more.

Resources

In your comments, don’t forget to add other resources that might help readers.  Thanks for stopping by.