Why is someone going to visit your website over a competitor?
The most important building block of any website is knowing the intent of the audience you are trying to target. Take a moment to think about your own habits on the internet and how you spend time with the websites you interact with.
People go online to find information. Not many people get online thinking, “I want to browse advertisements and buy a bunch of stuff!” Its actually the complete opposite. When someone is shopping for something online, they are generally seeking information, not advertising, about those products and services.
In a world that contains 1.4 billion websites of every kind, creating a strong unique selling proposition is absolutely imperative. Why is someone going to visit your website over a competitor? What special value do you provide?
How do you keep users engaged and coming back?
The internet truly is an information superhighway where an average user spends about eight seconds on a website including click and load time.
If your website is basically just an online brochure, it has very little chance of selling anything in the crowded Internet marketplace. Here are some ideas you can implement to transform your website into a more functional information source:
1. Blog/Technical Documentation/White paper
In order to build more authority on the internet and gain trust among potential customers, you must put your expertise on display with highly informative and shareable web content. The goal is brand recognition and to give visitors a reason (fulfilling a need) for using your website – the conversion to sales is simply a byproduct.
Technical papers, press releases, company news, and how to guides are just a few ideas to get you started. You don’t need to publish content everyday but try and set a consistent publishing frequency that fits your schedule. If you have very little time, try publishing one good article a month.
WordPress is perhaps the most popular and simple way to get started publishing. You can have the platform up and running in less than an hour and its hosted on your own domain. As your content grows, so will your website authority. If you don’t want to host your own blog software, Medium.com is a very popular open blogging platform.
2. Unique and Informative Product Comparisons
When people shop online, they are generally seeking information about a product or service. They seek out demonstrations and opinions from others before making a purchase decision. Having product comparisons on your website is a powerful way to get this internet traffic on your website.
Several YouTube personalities have found success simply from demonstrating and unboxing various products. The key is consistency and staying on top of the latest popular trend. If you sell physical goods, you can reach out to these personalities for a review or make similar videos using your own products.
If going DIY, its not enough to simply put up a table of specs side-by-side, you must explain why one feature is better over another for beginner and advanced users. This will boost your authority, visibility, and ultimately convert to more sales.
3. Community Forums and Comments
Having a place for users to ask questions and build relationships is another powerful way to gain trust and authority on the internet. There are several community platforms available such as PhpBB and Discourse. You can also find plugins for WordPress that will add a forums section to your website in just a few clicks.
For a new business, it will be difficult to get users on your forums and conversations started. Empty forums are not very appealing to a user and nobody wants to be the first one to start a topic that may land on deaf ears. Don’t get discouraged for at least the first year.
Frequently Asked Questions
One tactic you can use to drive engagement is to create a frequently asked questions section about your product or service. Create topics answering many of the common problems your customers have. This will allow users to comment on existing questions and post new ones.
Another great way to get content on the forums is to create a product review section. Encourage your customers to leave a product review in the forums for a special bonus or discount.
You can also have a news section and present news and opinions about events happening in your niche or industry. As you gain readers, users will start to comment and post their own topics.
4. Glossary of Terms
Create a page or series of pages for common terms and definitions in your niche, its and easy way to get started creating content and makes for a great bookmark. Try and aim for about 100 technical terms, including a standard definition for each written in your own words.
5. Directory of Links
In the early days of the internet, before search engines were a thing, people found new websites via a web directory. These are nothing more than a phone book or travel guide for the internet, listing websites organized by various categories.
Several websites operated web directories and formed “web rings” with related websites linking to each other until the search engine took over. Now all you need to do is type a term and you are instantly presented with a sea of relevant results.
Although more widely used, search engines are not a replacement for web directories. Search engines often promote big corporations, giving smaller websites less visibility. They also lack the personalized flow and quality that a hand curated web directory can provide.
Starting a web directory is easy and can be fun. All you need is a list of websites related to your industry or niche. Chances are you already have a bunch of sites and tools you frequent on a daily basis, this is a great way to start. Organize your links by category and include a short, unique description of the website written in your own words.
If you want to take the web directory idea a step further, you could write a collection of articles comparing websites for each category. For example, “The 5 Best Websites for Stock Photos Compared” becomes a de facto web directory for stock photo websites in long form.
6. Quiz or Game with score tracking
Engaging activities are what keep people coming back to a website. If you give a user a way to tickle their brain, they will come back for more.
Games offer the most engagement but are often the most difficult to implement for various technical and copyright reasons. You can find free games to include on your website but they are often not very good.
Quizzes are more primitive but can be highly engaging and easy to implement. Having a public leader board gives users a sense of where they stand compared to others and gives them a reason to keep trying harder. WordPress has several quiz plugins you can use to get started in just a few clicks or you can implement a custom solution.
7. Productivity Tools and Utilities
If your website niche is positioned in a highly technical field, hosting productivity tools is a great way to drive traffic. Anything you can do to save a user time or teach them something new will boost your authority and trust.
8. eBook or Webinar
Creating an eBook or webinar is another great way to provide a unique value proposition and its not very hard to implement. Many times you can simply repackage your blog content into a PDF or Video format. Offer the eBook as part of a special download to your email subscribers. Host the webinar on Udemy as a paid course, post clips of the webinar on YouTube with links to the full version in the video description.
9. Custom quotation or lead generation
Several websites have found success simply by customizing a product or service for their users. You can create a custom form on your website that will generate a custom response based on the input criteria of the user.
If you are a web designer, for example, you could create a form that finds the best web hosting provider for a user based on their required budget and technical requirements. Many companies even have affiliate programs you can leverage to gain a small commission on the users you refer.