Does your website operate from a blueprint? Probably not.
Your website, as what many affiliate marketers have done, has been pieced together, over time, to replicate your current campaigns and goals. In some ways, it’s a Frankenstein website that receives cosmetic updates but, at its core, is a mish-mash of technology and code.
Don’t fret. Your website is perfectly fine the way it is especially if you’re already making money but you must consider the future and where the Web will take us in order to adapt and evolve; this goes doubly true if you want to dominate your industry with search engine optimization.
Whether you plan to start a new project or want to make some major revisions to your current website, this post is for you.
The Planning Phase: A Structural Foundation
What if I told you that planning a website can have foreseeable benefits that trump nearly every action you take later in the formation of your business?
A ‘mind map’ is a visual representation of your thoughts and ideas; you may have used this process, in the past, when planning a premium product or rolling out a marketing campaign. The technical equivalent to this mapping is ‘wire framing’.
Web developers spend a great deal of time writing a visual blueprint for their designs so they know how to best fit their code and streamline their work. However, this blueprinting doesn’t stop on the designer level – you can partake in the process, as well.
Planning a Website – From Scratch
The planning of a website culminates a variety of items:
- Visual mediums
- Sales funnel
- Customer support
In general, you will often notice a website take the usual Home – Services – About – Contact approach to its design (the bare minimum). However, this format of a website only leaves the site bare because it only has a handful of pages. Since digital “real estate” is virtually free – there’s no reason not to allow your visitors to go deeper into the site and, thus, reap the SEO “juice”.
Consider the following in place of a ‘general’ link structure:
- Services -> Service Page -> Sub-Service Page -> Contact
This is merely an example but it’s here to explain that you can always add deeper levels to your web design to add more “weight” to the website (this helps focus your message and build your authority).
Planning the design gives you specific pages for each of your services rather than having just a single page that lists everything. The specific pages become indexed in search engines and can be specifically tailored to your visitors and selected keywords.
Here are two visual examples of the subject:
As you can see, planning a page for every iteration of your work allows you to create a very dynamic website. It does mean you’re required to do a greater deal of work in the implementation of your website but it has substantial benefits to its long term growth because you’re able to plan for the future and set marketing promotions in play since you’re essentially creating specific landing pages.
The Purpose of the Foundation
In all, taking time to develop your foundation gives you a clear insight on what’s required for your business to perform at its peak potential. You’ll discover unneeded items from your original specifications but, more importantly, unearth elements that you may have omit in the initial drafts.
Using a pencil & paper, visually draw the structure of your website and now it all interlinks.
Repeat this process a dozen times and, without question, you’ll discover a familiar site structure which may be replicated across multiple projects. To expand your work, examine and conduct market research on how competitor websites are structured and incorporate their work into your designs. Then, it’s a matter of making these fundamental changes to your existing website or using it as a blueprint on the next project you plan to roll out.
Website Copy Scripting: Streamlining SEO
Search Engine Optimization is a jumbled mess, half of the time. The industry is in a constant state of evolution because it plays into the regular updates and changes to the major search engines. This means that if you’re on your own, trying to do everything, you won’t be able to keep up with the changes.
However, what you can do is cover the best practices.
Doing only the bare essentials in search engine optimization gives you a fighting chance against your competitors; these are items that hold true throughout the entirety of web development and SEO.
- Keyword usage in title, descriptions, and body copy
- Proper link structure throughout your pages
- External link building
Note: There is a lot more to SEO than just these three things but if you can cover this small list than you’ve already won half the battle.
You can actually get away with scripting you SEO if you truly wish; scripting allows you to streamline the process of web page creation (this is great if you have an eCommerce website or have suddenly released dozens of blog posts over a short time).
It goes a little something like this:
- Page Title | Website Name
- Website Name | Page Title
- Page Title
You can substitute “|” with any other character that allows the title to have a visual break but it’s a moot item – just make sure that you’re including your main keyword, that relates to each page, in the title. As for description, make it engaging.
SEO is quickly becoming less and less about optimization and more about content value. Social media has played a large part and we’ll continue to see vast, sweeping changes to search algorithms so your best bet is to structure your website in a fashion that people can easily find your work and then delivering the best “value” you can through informative, entertaining content pieces.
The entire process is streamlined if you took the time to complete your website structure in the previous step. You’ll have known what keywords and content needs to be represented on each page, how it will all interlink, and the media required to gain a visitors attention.
At this point, you should see the larger picture of a “website blueprint”.
Sales Driven Decisions: The Siphon and Funnel
But what’s an affiliate website if you’re not making sales, right?
There are two points to be made in this section:
- Siphoning traffic
- Initiating the sales funnel
In the process of siphoning and converting traffic, you must tap into your competitors, network, and online mediums to gain attention to your website. No, it’s not some trickery or attack against your fellow website owners – it’s just the nature of the game – you’re trying to convince others that you have valuable information and indispensable resources. Every website does it; some subtle, others out-right.
At the siphoning level of building your blueprint, you’re essentially creating your all-important external marketing strategy. However, in comparison to just launching an Adwords campaign or rolling out Facebook promoted posts, you’re attuning your website, its pages, content, and message to specific pockets of communities around the web.
It means you need to tailor your message and landing page to your visitors.
- Understand your main traffic sources, people frequenting the websites, their status, and understanding. Tailor your message using your knowledge in marketing to hit the bullet points required to send the individual into an emotional state. Connect with them through story-driven content and projection.
- Craft the landing page (which can actually be any of your pages) to drive the individual toward a resource or deeper within your website (which also happens to eventually lead to a resource). The visitor reaching this emotional state will open themselves to the idea of purchasing a product because they want to reap the rewards and benefits.
The actually siphoning process is just getting your name out in front of a related community; it’s not really “stealing” traffic because the market, as a whole, is more than enough to tap. Your competitors are actually your best friends because, at the end of the day, the market will always grow when we’re talking about the Web.
The sales process comes naturally if you’ve structured your website in a fashion which simple-to-understand navigation, authoritative content, and includes a deeply emotional call-to-action. You’ve already hooked the individual once they’ve landed on your website – it’s a matter of initiating the sales process that completes the conversion and developing that foundation, from the get-go, ties every piece of your website together.
Blueprinting: More than Schematics
Document every step of your blueprinting process. In the future, with new projects, you will have the ability to draw upon these blueprints as a foundation for your work. New projects will come to fruition with haste preventing the loss of business by being too slow to hit the market.
Your website will perform to the best of its ability in search engines, social platforms, and in its sales. The guess work will be removed and what you’re left with is an iron-clad workflow to dominate your industry.
Building your affiliate marketing business with a blueprint goes to the next level when you’re able to hand off this work flow to an employee or virtual assistant. You’ll be able to quickly (and easily) roll out new projects with relative ease. You’ve taken the “guess work” out of what needs to be done and you’re no longer creating a Frankenstein creation.
When you sit down to work on a new project – how much are you planning?