Lots of people make the mistake of building a website strictly from a design template. While website templates are a great starting point, they often create subliminal barriers that can reduce a Web designer’s creativity. As a result, people can end up building the kind of “ho-hum” website that does little to call attention to itself or its products and services. If you look at several sites and can’t remember any that stood out from the pack, then all of those webmasters failed to spark your interest.
If you build the kind of site that you’d like to visit, then you’ll create a memorable experience in the minds of your visitors and customers. For instance, if you serve a certain local area, adding images of landmarks in your town helps you emphasize your connection to it, which distinguishes you from national lead generation sites that simply mention the name of your town.
A little-known secret to success in the online world involves solving your own problems, and then using the solution you figured out to help others. For example, if you’d like to know more about a certain topic, but you can’t find an obvious answer online, you can do some old-fashioned research and publish the results on your website. Chances are, you’re not the only person who wanted to know . . . and subsequent online searches for that topic are more likely to lead to your site.
Anything you can do to make your site useful makes it a better resource for the general public. If you have ever asked yourself, “Why can’t I find a site that tells me about (fill in the blank)?” then you may have identified an opportunity for learning and sharing. If you can’t find an answer online, but you know how to put together a thoughtful explanation, you can become the “thought leader” in that field . . . a well-regarded “guru” . . . simply because you started out trying to learn something.
Even though there are billions of Web pages on the Internet, you can still create a new site that organizes specific information, provides a useful tool, or helps people understand things in a different way. Many of the “overnight success” sites are based on simple concepts that are useful to consumers. The general pattern for successful websites involves helping people save money, helping them connect with others, or helping them learn something.
Quite a few websites include lists of interesting facts or show people how to perform a specific task. If you keep these guidelines in mind when you’re creating your own site, you can generate memorable content that sticks in the minds of your users—and will more likely turn their site visits into leads, phone calls, or sales. At the same time, you’ll be improving your online reputation and adding a new dimension to the way people think about your brand.
Creating a website that you’d like to visit is also a lot more fun, and as you make improvements to your site, you can take pride in knowing that you aren’t producing just another set of cookie-cutter Web pages.
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