Most people when they start a website, they have no plan for it.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Here’s MY website plan.
It consists of 13 “ToDo” lists that I have my GUYS implement for me. Some of this stuff won’t be relevant to your business, but my guess is that most of it is relevant.
These lists were designed to be used to build and market an online business that I don’t want to be involved in. This is supposed to get the site ranked well in SEO and bring traffic in from lots of different sources so that the site makes money.
Also, this list has some things that are specific to building ‘review’ websites with WordPress. You might want to use some other plugins for WordPress than the ones I list here. Please think about it. Maybe some of the plugins listed here aren’t relevant to you, or maybe they’ve gone out of date by the time you get this. Nothing on this list is CRITICAL. Nothing on this list will make or break the process.
You DO NOT have to do everything I list here to be successful. These are just the things WE do.
Also, there are probably some things on this list that we don’t do anymore. Things change all the time. If something on this list doesn’t work for you, SKIP IT AND MOVE ON!
Most of the stuff on this plan was created with the idea of having someone else do the work.
Lists 10, 11, and 13 aren’t ‘todo’ lists. They’re more for ideas of things you can/should do with your website.
Website Building and Marketing Plan
Table Of Contents
Things to do before you build the site. When I wrote this it was based off the plan of building a website where we write reviews on all the products in the niche we pick. If your business plan is different, modify this list accordingly.
- Decide on a market (one way to find what’s hot is to record late night TV and watch the commercials/infomercials. Those are hot products/markets) Here’s how I do niche research
- Familiarize yourself with the market
- Do initial keyword research (familiarize yourself with the keywords)
- Buy a domain name (I recommend using godaddy) Here’s how I pick a domain name
- Buy hosting (I recommend HostMonster)
- Build a good keyword list
Things to do to get your site setup properly
- Set up domain on hosting
- Install WordPress (You can usually do this through “fantastico” in your hosting control panel, or you can download it from wordpress.org and install it yourself)
- Upload robots.txt file (in the zip file at the end of this post)
- Configure WordPress (Todo list #3)>
- Do a 301 redirect from non www to www (.htaccess example is in the Files tab)
- Set up mailing list (I recommend aweber)
- Set up GoTryThis
- If not using WordPress, figure out a way to do tag and ping, and blog and ping (an easy way is to add tags to your pages, and to use pingoat.com each time you add a new page). If you’re not using WordPress, I think you’re foolish right now.
All these things can be done inside the admin area of WordPress. This assumes you use Semiologic as your theme. We DON’T need to have every single one of these plugins. Some of the URL’s might not work. Try to find that plugin by searching google for it. If something doesn’t work, just move on and set up other plugins. No single plugin is absolutely necessary.
Depending on the theme you use, you won’t be able to do everything here. The really important part is that you get rid of ALL widgets. We don’t want any sidebars. All they do is distract people from our main marketing message.
- Plugins – Activate Akismet
- Plugins – Activate Contact Form http://chip.cuccio.us/projects/contact-form-ii/
- Plugins – Activate Exex-PHP http://bluesome.net/post/2005/08/18/50/
- Plugins – Activate Feed Control http://www.silpstream.com/blog/
- Plugins – Activate Full Text Feed http://cavemonkey50.com/code/full-feed/
- Plugins – Activate Google Analytics http://www.semiologic.com/software/marketing/google-analytics/
- Plugins – Activate Google Sitemaps http://www.arnebrachhold.de/2005/06/05/google-sitemaps-generator-v2-final
- Plugins – Activate Permalink Redirect http://fucoder.com/code/permalink-redirect/
- Plugins – Activate Singular http://jamietalbot.com/wp-hacks/
- Plugins – Activate WordPress Database Backup
- Plugins – Activate WordPress Hashcash
- Plugins – Activate dd sitemap plugin – http://www.dagondesign.com/articles/sitemap-generator-plugin-for-wordpress/ create a page called “Sitemap” and put into it and then link to that page in your footer nav
- Plugins – Activate Any other plugin you think you’ll need/want
- Plugins – Deactivate all the rest of the plugins (you don’t want extra crap going on)
- Presentation – Install Semiologic (the pro theme is better…but I believe the free theme will work) – Make sure you get Semiologic Version 5! this page: http://www.semiologic.com/resources/wp-basics/how-to-upgrade-sem-pro/ is a good resource for installing/upgrading
- Presentation – Turn off ALL widgets
- Presentation – Change Font to Verdana, Small
- Presentation – Footer – Uncheck “Kudos to WordPress, Semiologic and the skin author”
- Presentation – Pick a layout you like. I do Wide with “Main, Ext Sidebar” (this is assuming you’re using Semiologic)
- Presentation – Menus – Only Home in the header
- Presentation – Menus – No Sidebar Menus
- Presentation – Menus – Add these footer menu’s:
Contact – /contact
RSS – /feed
Sitemap – /sitemap.xml
Privacy – /privacy-policy
- Presentation – SEO – Add title, keywords, description
- Options – General – Let Anyone Comment
- Options – Writing – Set up your ping list (mine is available in the Files tab)
- Options – Discussion – Check: Attempt to notify, Allow Link notifications, Allow people to post, Comment Author must fill out name and email
- Options – Permalinks – Custom Structure /%postname%.php This is where the .htaccess file in the Files tab comes in handy. If WordPress has problems, just upload that file to your base website directory
- Options – Feed Control – Include Posts, Pages, and sort by modified date
- Options – Google Analytics – Paste in your google analytics code (this is a good time to sign up for google analytics if you haven’t already). Update: I have now stopped using google analytics because it really doesn’t show me the data I want to see. I now use statcounter.com.
- Categories – create one category for your default posts (always put stuff into this category)
- Plugins – install Custom Query String plugin
- Options – CQS – Add an “is_category” and set it to -1 (this will show links to all posts in all categories on the category pages)
Initial Site Work
Things to do to your site in the very beginning after it is configured
The business owner needs to decide what the “sales page” is.
- Write your first post about your topic
- Write your second post about your topic
- Write a sales page as a “page” in WordPress.
“Sales page” could be:
– an actual sales page if you’re selling your own product
– review page (where you review affiliate products in your industry)
– squeeze page (where you capture name/email and send them on to an affiliate offer)
– lead generation form
– whatever your goal is with the site
- Link to your sales page in the header section of Presentation -> Nav Menus
- Write a contact page and name it “Contact” – in the body of the page put [CONTACT-FORM] and that’s it. That will create a contact page using the “contact form” plugin you already activated
Things you should do for immediate SEO for your site.
- Make sure your keywords are in the title, meta keywords, meta description, and h1. If you can, add an h2 and h3.
- Submit an article to ezinearticles.com, goarticles.com, and articlecity.com. Link to your site in your resource box.
Initial Adwords Campaign
Adwords is how you should get your initial traffic. Make sure you monitor this to see that it’s profitable for you. If it’s not, turn it off. There is a full training on how to set-up and run and Adwords campaign inside my outsourcing training website
- Set up an adwords campaign
- Use only a few keywords (just enough to get traffic and see it working)
- Write 2 ads
- Turn on the content network
- Set up separate bids for content network and search network. Bid lower on content.
Long Term Linking Strategies
Tons of things you can do to get links to your site. This is the most important thing to do for SEO. Start doing these things now, and do them consistently. The more links you get over a long term period of time the better your site will do. If you get too many links, too quickly, search engines won’t consider it to be natural.
It’s important that you set up systems to do this stuff. If you don’t have systems (whether it be reminders from google calendar or be an employee doing it) they won’t get done and your site won’t progress.
This is a SUPER long list. Don’t do all of these things at once. Do them one at a time. When you’ve completed one, move on to another. Then do the first one again, then the second again, then move on and do a third.
These do not have to be done in exact order.
- Sign up for UniqueArticleWizard.com
- Use UAW to submit an article each week linking to your product. (There is NO SUBSTITUTE to using UAW) Create a reminder for either yourself or for an outsourced employee to get this done (use google calendar or rememberthemilk.com).
- RECURRING – Submit each UAW article manually to ezinearticles.com, goarticles.com, articlecity.com
- Use need-an-article.com or elance.com or guru.com to get articles written for you.
- (Education) Always use different keywords as anchor texts when linking – If you don’t it doesn’t look natural to search engines. Use as many anchor texts as you can, but focusing on your main keywords.
- Buy links from high PR sites. www.text-link-ads.com or backlinks.com is a good place to start. Do this about 2 months into your site. You should be able to get a pr6 or 7 for $50 or less per month.
- Use buyblogcomments.com or hire someone to do what they do for you (bbc has become somewhat unreliable)
- Submit to directories (do both: pay seoster.com to do it, use directory submitter software to help you). There are ton’s of directory submitter softwares. Most will give you a free trial of like 300 sites to submit to. Submit slowly (like 5-10 directories each day).
- Submit to DMOZ.org
- Submit to Yahoo Directory (it costs $300 and is well worth it)
- Build a blog on blogger.com that links to your sales page/other pages on your site
- Build a squidoo page and add content to it every few days. Make it link to your site.
- Squidoo site notes:
– Use lots of tags
– Create a bio
– Use the Guestbook module at the end of the lens
– Use the links module. Add affiliate links to your page
– Use the write/text modules to add content
– Add an opt-in form to your lens for your mailing list
– Use the YouTube/Flickr modules to add relevant video/pictures to your page
– Don’t forget to promote your squidoo page just like your other sites (submit articles linking to it and submit it to directories)
- Use Pingoat.com every time you add content to any of your sites (including your squidoo site, myspace site, and other blogs)
- Build a blog on wordpress.com
- Build a blog on livejournal.com
- Build a blog on clearblogs.com
- (Education) With all blogs write a few blog entries initially (1 every few days for 2 weeks) and link to your site. Afterwards, write at least one blog entry each month.
- (Education) Link all your extra sites together in a circle (don’t reciprocal link them, link site A -> B -> C -> D -> A)
- Use onlywire.com to do social bookmarking for your site.
- Create a blinklist.com space
- (Education) Don’t link every page on your site to every other page on your site. Only link one way. (this isn’t totally possible if using software …just use it as a general rule).
- Set up a Wikipedia page for your topic (or add a link to your site on an existing page). Make sure you put legitimate info or it will get taken down.
- Build an MSN Spaces blog.
- Answer a few questions on yahoo answers and link to your site/sales page.
After answering a few, answer one more each day.
- Get an account and put your link on your profile page on these sites:
- Make some posts in forums that link to your site. (add your link to your forum signature)
- Make some comments on blogs that link to your site (make sure they’re legitimate comments)
- Use trackback spider to get links to your OTHER sites. Don’t promote your main site with this (unless you know what you’re doing)
(WARNING: This is very black hat. It is spamming.)
- Add listings to Craigslist.com. Link to your sites.
Make sure you don’t look like you’re blatantly posting ads, the craigslist community doesn’t like it. This can bring you TONS of traffic.
- Add your site to stumbleupon.com
- Pay prweb.com to do press releases for you.
Come up with something interesting about your site and pay them the full $200 to get them to do a good job with your press release. It’s worth it.
- Give something away that links to your site (templates for your industry, site award, software, widget that does something cool)
Testing is critical to getting conversions correct. You should always be testing.
- use a multivariate testing program on your sales page (or your review page, or your squeeze page). Try and increase your conversions.
Google Website Optimizer – Free
SplitTestAccelerator.com – $900
KaizenTrack.com – $500
- Test the headline and any other pieces of the page that are “important”. If you do nothing else, test your headline.
- Enter wildly different variations of tests. Don’t just test different variations on the same concept.
- Test using wp-cloaker (if you can find the plugin). It cloaks or redirects visitors that come to your site who have used certain search terms that you define. You can send those visitors to any page you want. Last I tried I couldn’t get the plugin to work, but if you can, it’s super powerful.
- use a multivariate testing program on your sales page (or your review page, or your squeeze page). Try and increase your conversions.
Obviously I can’t give an entire adwords tutorial right here. There is a full Adwords tutorial inside www.ReplaceMyself.com. These are just things I’ve written down to serve as a reminder to me (and you) to do certain things.
- (Education)Put benefits in your ads (put them on the first description line and test the CTR)
- (Education) There are 3 types of buyers:
Browsers, Shoppers, and Buyers
Cater to the Buyers. Use buying keywords like discount, buy now, purchase, get, sale, limited time.
Browsers don’t know what they want.
Shoppers are looking to compare stuff.
(These are notes I took from Mr. X)
- (Education)Keywords that don’t convert, add them as negative keywords
- Set up winneralert to test your ads. I bolded this because so few people actually do this, yet it’s so important.
- Set up site specific targeting (the adwords180 concept).
- Once the campaign is profitable, duplicate the campaign in a new adwords account (Thanks Kirt Christensen). With a new adwords account you can show 2 of your own ads on every search page. Get more clicks. Get more sales.
- Set the campaign up in Yahoo
- Set the campaign up in MSN
- Set the campaign up in second tier search engines:
These pieces are more notes than things you have to do. They help you build trust with your users. Some of them might not be appropriate for your website. This is more as a set of reminders for me (or you) to add things to our site to help increase conversions.
- Add testimonials to your sales page
- Add live chat to your sales page
You can use skype to do this http://www.skype.com/share/buttons/index.html
You can use http://www.liveperson.com
There are ton’s of these (search google for “live chat” or “free live chat”)
- Interrupt your users while they’re on your site and chat with them about what they really want to find (liveperson.com will do this). This helps you get into the head of your customers. Doing this allows you to write a better sales letter.
- Put your contact info at the top of the page and make it obvious. Tell them to read the whole page and then contact you if they still have questions.
- Tell them the flaws/negatives in the product (this really makes you sound honest)
- Don’t charge their card until their trial period is up (30 days, 14 days, …). Just authorize the money, but don’t charge the card.
- Use the plugin “What Would Seth Godin Do” for WordPress. It allows you to display something to the user after they’ve seen your site X times.
Find out why they keep coming back.
- Set up a broadcast phone message to your customers.
search google for “voice phone broadcast”
- Send a hand written letter to your customers.
Sales Copy Notes/Ideas
This is by no means a comprehensive list of things to do in your sales copy. It’s just a list of ideas/notes from different copywriters. It is stuff you should try and refer back to in building your site. Some of it might not apply to you.
- Your headline is a Problem + a Solution.
If you state people’s problem, they know you understand them. If you give them a solution, they’ll listen to you.
- Guarantee –
Give double money back if they do something extra.
Make an outlandish guarantee.
Remove the risk with the guarantee. This builds trust.
- Add a drop first letter (where the first letter of your sales page is bigger than the rest)
- Make it time/quantity limited. Create scarcity.
- Offer a coupon to entice them to buy.
- Offer a free trial/sample and then automatically charge their card at the end of the trial.
- Scientific Advertising – Offer Service, don’t ask for a sale.
“Try this for a week, then do what you want” (meaning either return it or pay for it)
- Scientific Advertising – The longer the copy, the better the response rate. But only if you’re telling people relevant information. You should test, test, test sales copy.
- Scientific Advertising – Copy other people’s ads, ads that have been used over and over again.
- Your headline is a Problem + a Solution.
Long Term SEO
Things you can/should do long term to increase your natural search engine rankings.
- Use a service to turn your blog posts into speech. Add the mp3’s to your rss feed. This makes them podcasts. Podcasts increase search engine rankings.
- Create a video and add it to your site. You can use animoto or eyejot or veodia to easily create videos.
- Submit your video to video sites (youtube, google video, … search google for video sites).
- Add your video to your rss feed.
Landing Page Notes
These are notes for specific types of landing pages you’re doing. This overlaps somewhat with the Sales Copy list. These are just notes/ideas that I’ve had or that I’ve taken from other people. They don’t apply to all cases.
- Review Site – Ugly does it. If it’s ugly, it’s a little more trustworthy. Not too ugly.
- Review Site – Make one product the clear winner. Don’t leave a doubt in the persons mind.
- Review Site – Test different products as the best product.
- Squeeze page – In addition to the name/email, have them give you something else (a checkbox, a choice from multiple check boxes, an open ended box, …). It makes them feel a sense of commitment because they’ve already given more info.
- Squeeze page – There is software to help you make it:
- Squeeze page – Test all the different elements of your squeeze page