Today I wanted to do an extended list of my rules for creating and building successful websites. I have created 5 websites that have each gone on to have millions of visitors. What I have found is, to give myself the best chance possible to be successful with a website, I need to make sure to follow this checklist.
It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out or if you already have 100,000’s of people visiting your site, I find that most sites are forgetting at least a few of these tips, when it comes to creating the best websites possible.
My Top Tips For Creating and Running Successful Websites
2. Security from hackers is important. I lost my first big site because I didn’t have any. More embarrassingly I didn’t have a Back Up! Fortunately these days, most hosts will do automatic backups for you (although I believe you should always keep a fairly up to-date back-up of your site offline also) Additionally never pick a web host that hasn’t got 24/7 live support. When things go BAD, you will want their help. Since we added Sucuri website security to our website over 2 years ago, we haven’t had any problems. I highly recommend that you get it.
3. Always use a .com and unless there really is no alternative don’t use a DASH / Hyphen in between words in a domain name.
4. Build an email list from day one. Go get OptiMonk.
5. Websites do break! Sometimes for what will appear to be no reason, pages will stop displaying as they should or even links will get messed up. This often is caused by a conflict with one of the plugins we use. With regards to internal and external links becoming broken, I recommend you use Broken Link Checker.
6. Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. Pick one and dominate it, stop sucking at all 3. Or alternatively hire someone to look after your social media and make them responsible for the outcome.
7. Have a plan for your business (website) – I mean a bricks and mortar business without a business plan is pretty silly! Why should it be any different for your website? Have a plan for the coming month, 3 month, 6 months, 12 months! Where do you see you and your website 5 years from now? Do you have an exit plan? Do you have a revenue plan?
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
9. Consistency is key when publishing content. Daily, Weekly, Monthly, you choose how often to post and stick to it. (Gee, I am not always great at following this Rule myself – but really it is essential!)
“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”
~ Anthony Robbins
10. Make it easy for people to contact you. What is more, be open to some criticism or less than positive comments about your website. Sure some comments will come from generally negative people but my overall experience is that people want to help. For example I have received 100’s of emails from people notifying me of bugs and spelling errors.
11. The early bird catch’s the worm, a saying you’re probably heard often before. Take for example someone who bought Business.com in 1997 was able to sell it for $7.5 million 2 years later. OK, perhaps you can’t do that everyday but don’t think this is an isolated case, opportunities are all around us. Take for example Twitter.com – the first few marketers who got on it were able to take advantage of it before new rules came into place to slow you down from adding people. When you see a opportunities, take it!
12. Never retaliate to comments or emails. People will disagree with you and you might even think they are dumb, but they are entitled to their opinion. Frankly we don’t have the time or energy to prove them wrong. It’s also not so important that you need to waste your life trying to prove yourself right and someone else wrong.
This is one of my fathers favorite quotes – not everyone will get it first time, but think about it!
“Do you want to be Right or do you want to be Happy”
13. Ask! You can get a lot of things by just asking. When I was 18, I caught Glandular Fever in Ghana and spent a horrific week in hospital in Ghana before returning to England and spending a week in hospital here in the UK. I had to rest for months after that and decided I had nothing better to do then ask people to do interviews for Retireat21. I spent days emailing hundreds of top internet entrepreneurs for interviews. Three of the top 100 websites in the world came back to me and said they would do an interview, plus over 50 other successful CEO’s and entrepreneurs.
14. Regularly ask yourself – If in 10 years (or in one day, 6 months. I year, 5 years) you were to look back at your actions today what would you have changed? Do that. From my good friend Craig Ballantyne
15. These days there is an increasing trend that the people who make the most cash online, buy a high percentage of their traffic (pay for advertisements). Basically they have learned additional skills based on lead generation and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). If you are not also learning these skills, you are missing out. I now include bought traffic in my online promotions.
16. Top list articles still bring me 80% of my traffic, although it only took 20% of my time to create them.
17. In my experience, it’s easier to start a day productively then end it productively. (Well… so far today I’ve done nothing, I guess I will try harder tomorrow..)
18. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – in particular with how you monetize your website.
So often, people have only one or two methods of monetizing a website such as banner advertising. But advertisers come and go and no month is ever the same. Diversify your income with different methods such as affiliate marketing, email marketing, coaching, ebooks etc! And with affiliate marketing, promote multiple offers.
Also, don’t presume what you are doing right now, will be working in years to come. Keep innovating & educating.
Nothing is for sure in life or business, just because something has worked today, it doesn’t mean it will work again tomorrow. This applies to marketing, selling, traffic, advertisers. There really are No Guarantees – the only Guarantee you can rely on when it all comes down to it, is yourself!
19. Surround yourself with successful people. Retireat21, IncomeDiary & PopUp Domination all came from ‘hanging out’ with other like minded people.
20. Always have a written and signed agreement with your partners / Joint Ventures. People will rip you off for less money then you would imagine. Greed is a crazy thing. Read: 11 Essential Lessons From Going Into Business With People
21. What you Focus on is what you get – so if you want money, FOCUS on it! Always be aware of who owes you money, check that the payments you expect to receive are arriving in your bank account (Paypal account) at the correct time. If you still get paid by a cheque – bank it straight away and don’t leave it hanging around for days.
22. Don’t be afraid of highly competitive niche! The reason they are competitive is because there is money in that niche!
23. When negotiating, often it is more powerful to say nothing. I find that people don’t like silence and will want to say something, often lowering the price.
24. Keep moving forward. Don’t give up – The biggest difference between success and failure is not giving up.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time”
~ Thomas Edison
“The difference between greatness and mediocrity is often how an individual views a mistake.”
~ Nelson Boswell
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