Let’s start by talking about why you need a website in the first place. Your website is your home base. If you were opening a law firm, you wouldn’t meet clients on a street corner or in your backyard. It wouldn’t be professional. The same goes for being an internet authority.
You need to have a website that tells people you’re a professional. It’s the online equivalent of an office or store.
As soon as a potential customer lands on your website, you want them to be impressed. It should feel comfortable to them even though it’s their first visit. That means it needs to load quickly and be easy for them to navigate.
One study showed that the average amount of time most internet users were willing to wait for a website to load was six seconds. That’s the point when most of them will hit the dreaded back button to return to their search results and try another site.
Your site also needs to look professional. If you want people to take you seriously, your site can’t be a mish-mash of eye-searing colors and extravagant fonts. No one wants to feel as if their eyes have been assaulted. It’s fine to use bright colors or fancy lettering, but you need to do so in moderation.
Finally, of course, your site also needs to contain valuable information. You can have the best-looking site on the internet, but if it doesn’t include information that’s relevant to your area of authority, it won’t do you any good.
Here are some examples:
-You should have a well-written “About” page that explains who you are and why visitors to your site can trust you as an authority.
-Your blog can add a lot of authority to your site –it’s the perfect way to show people that you know your stuff.
-Some authority sites have a page where they list industry news –another way to demonstrate that you understand what’s happening in your niche.
-A well-organized and helpful resource page is another way of demonstrating authority.
I hope you get the idea. Nothing on your site should be there if it doesn’t demonstrate your authority.
Why You Should Consider a Professional Designer
You’re just getting started in your new niche and maybe you’re worried about money. That’s understandable, but I’m about to tell you about the one area where you can’t afford to skimp: the design of your website.
You should seriously consider hiring a professional designer.
Are you saying to yourself, “But I know a little HTML. I built a site when I was in high school on FreeWebs. How hard can it be?” If you are saying these things, you need to stop. This isn’t high school and you can’t afford to have a shoddily-designed website.
A professional designer can make sure that your site:
-Has good flow and is easy to navigate
-Includes all the features a good website needs, including a search function, professional menus, and working links.
I’m not suggesting you need to go overboard and try to make your website the best ever, although if you can afford that, then go for it. You do need to ensure that everything on your website looks professional and works properly. You can’t do that without a professional designer.
Also, if writing isn’t your strong suit, you should seriously consider hiring a professional writer to write the content for your site. If you do want to write it yourself, that’s fine – but get a professional to proofread it. You don’t want your website going live only to have people point out spelling and grammatical errors.
They won’t do a thing to add to your authority. A professional writer can also help you optimize your pages for search with artful use of keywords – although your content should always be written for people first and search bots second, you still need to use keywords if you want to have a top search ranking.
Link-Building and Authority
Earlier in the book we talked about internet authority, which is a rank Google assigns to indicate the relevancy of your website. Link-building can help with that kind of authority as well as the kind we’ve been discussing here. Link-building is the process of getting other websites to link to your site. When an authoritative and reliable website links to yours, their authority rubs off on you. I want to warn you here that you should never buy backlinks to your site. Not only is it something Google can penalize you for doing, but it can also dilute your authority.
You can’t control every site that links back to you, but you can avoid actively pursuing subpar links. Here are some ways to get quality backlinks that will build your authority:
-Get your website listed in industry guides and on other sites’ resource pages
-Write articles for industry publications (they’ll always include a link to your site at the end of the article).
-Write guest blogs for someone else in your niche.
-If you notice an outdated piece on another website, write an updated version of it and email the site with a link to your new piece.
Those are just a few ways to build quality backlinks. Link-building takes time, which is why some people try to speed up the process by buying links. If you’re tempted to do that, remember that your goal is authority. Paying for links isn’t going to help you reach that goal.
It’s always important to remember that your site reflects you. It will tell your potential customers everything they need to know about you.