What is the key to building a better website?
Well, you first need an idea. And it needs to be useful.
Next, you need to start with the right stuff, the right raw materials. You clicked on the headline of this post, so perhaps you’re already using WordPress or strongly considering it. Good choice. Continue down that path.
After that, you have to be willing to hit Publish. Whether you’re starting your own food blog, marketing your copywriting business, or building an audience for your coaching services … you have to put your story out there on the web for all to see. That can be scary. It’s also empowering.
What comes next?
Find a path for continuous improvement
A few years ago, I wrote an article on Copyblogger titled How to Immediately Become a More Productive (and Better) Writer. A book I had just read called One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer inspired that post.
The book takes its cue from the Japanese concept of kaizen, which means continuous improvement — or, to be more specific, the process of achieving sustained success through small, steady steps.
This concept spoke to me then. It continues to speak to me now.
It’s so easy, especially in today’s environment of ubiquitous distraction, to get lost in big ideas and forget about the inevitable series of small steps it takes to achieve them.
I am easily prone to this. I’ve learned this about myself. I have to be intentional about pulling myself down out of the clouds so that I can actually plant my feet firmly on the ground and put one foot in front of the other … then the other … then the other.
One at a time.
That is the only way to achieve continuous improvement — the only way to take a big, grand idea and bring it to fruition.
Now, with that as our foundation, let’s talk about your website …
The four pillars of a successful WordPress website
Building a powerful website that does everything a website should do — help you earn authority, build an audience, and drive business — is a big task.
There is a lot that goes into a successful WordPress website.
Some of the choices you have to make are big decisions, like where to host your site and what theme to use.
Other choices are smaller, more subtle, like what color to use for your call-to-action buttons and whether you should use “How to …” in two consecutive blog post headlines or change one for the sake of variety.
All of your decisions, big and small, can be categorized in one of the following four buckets:
They are the four pillars of a successful WordPress website.
If your website lacks any one of these elements, it might be okay, but it’s probably not optimized to help you achieve your goals. You could also be wasting time, effort, and money.
Think about it this way:
If you have useful content, a good design, and a strong technology foundation, but no strategy … your website’s “success” might actually be misaligned with your business goals. You’re not maximizing your efforts.
And if your website lacks two of these elements, it might fail altogether.
Consider a website with useful content that adheres to a smart, cohesive strategy. That’s a good start. But if the design is ill-fitting, and if the technology is lacking (think: poor hosting and security warnings), then visitors are unlikely to stay long … if they ever reach your site at all.
The rub in this example, of course, is that you can’t really have a smart, cohesive strategy with design and technology lagging far behind. And given how intertwined content and design are, content with poor design won’t be nearly as useful as it could be.
Point being: they all fit together.
Now let’s marry together the two big ideas we’ve explored so far in this post …
How to apply kaizen to the four pillars of your website’s success
You can’t build a successful website with one inspired 48-hour work binge over a weekend.
You can’t even do it by taking an entire month, or even three or four, to focus on nothing but your website. Not if you want your success to sustain beyond those three or four months.
Sure, through evergreen content, autoresponders, and the power of digital products, you can (and should) do a lot to earn ongoing, recurring, some might say “passive” revenue … but you’ll also experience diminishing returns if you aren’t:
- Marketing your ideas
- Tweaking or reworking your design to keep it fresh
- Updating WordPress and plugins to keep them secure
- Staying vigilant about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
In other words, you can’t just set-and-forget your content, design, technology, and strategy.
You develop, build, and launch your website in incremental steps … and then you continue taking incremental steps to avoid stagnation and drive your site toward continuous improvement.
If that sounds like a lot of time and effort, good. Because it is.
But it’s worth it.
If you are intentional about avoiding the myopia that so many people approach online business with, then the time and effort, along with the money, that you invest into your website will not be an expense. It will be an investment. And the investment will pay off.
That said, it’s still smart to save yourself little bits of time and effort where you can. 😉
Which is why we created a new podcast.
Introducing the Sites podcast
We want to help you make continuous improvements to your WordPress site while saving you the time and effort it requires to find all the best tips, techniques, and important developments that are out there. It can be overwhelming trying to keep up, and you already have enough work to do.
So let us curate the information, and then you decide what’s relevant to your situation, how you want to apply it, and when.
One tip at a time. One step at a time.
Sites is a podcast that delivers timely insight on the four pillars of a successful WordPress website that I described above: content, design, technology, strategy.
New episodes publish on Tuesdays. They are short and get straight to the point, with each episode focusing on an individual pillar. And they all include one hyper-specific call to action to help you take that kaizen-inspired next step.
You can also view the first four episode pages here:
- Episode 1: The Simple 3-Step Process to a Winning Content Marketing Strategy
- Episode 2: How Great Design Can Help Your Content Marketing
- Episode 3: Is WordPress Hosting Really That Important
- Episode 4: The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Content Marketing Strategy
And if podcasts aren’t your thing, we also have Sites Weekly — a curated email newsletter delivered to your inbox on Wednesdays. Each edition delivers four links, one focused on each pillar of a successful website. Click here to subscribe for free.
Together, let’s create better websites … one week at a time.