This is a quick guide on the basic fundamentals of improving your website, broken down into the core sections involved.
You want to have as fast a loading speed for your website’s pages as possible. This plays a big role in how search engines rank you, and also how people enjoy your content. If your pages are taking too long to load, people will just leave your site, even waiting a matter of seconds is too much for most people, you generally want your site to load in less than a second for the majority of users.
What you want to specifically look at to achieve this, is a process of both using a cache system for your content and simplifying all your content into the smallest amount of data you can provide for the quality you want. If you are using a blog like wordpress, using something like W3 Total Cache is your best bet, it’s a simple cache plugin, that saves your pages to static files instead of requesting everything anew every-time people load your site, the static pages then get collected for garbage when you make updates, and the updated pages get cached, this will make a big impact on loading time for your pages.
The second major part of improving your loading times, will come from combining the files your site loads with into one file. With images this can be done so that all the images are part of one image, a css sprite, you then use code to designate which part of the image to show on which part of the site, effectively using the one image as a library of images that you call with code. For the code of your website, you generally want to have everything combined into as few files as possible, this means calling only one .css file for all the css styles on your site and limiting the amount of scripts you load with the site. Often if you use WordPress, a lot of themes will be unoptimized, and not have a css sprite or a single css, and instead it will be organized so that the site can be customized easily with all separate files. Another problem with CMS like WordPress are that the plugins that people install, often bloat your website a lot and increase the load time of your pages.
Generally you want to go as minimalistic as possible, as few images as possible, and as few external files as possible, to get the fastest load speed for the content you want to show your visitors.
Content is king, a lot of people think they can take a shortcut and just copy content, but in the long run it’s only going to harm your website. You want as much unique content as possible, so you can carve out a unique position for yourself. Not only does it need to be unique, but it obviously needs to be high quality. It might sound obvious, but a lot of websites seem very low in content, and low in quality of content in terms of what they could achieve.
To add to that, it also needs to be very regular, and ideally at multiple times in a day, so that people come back to your site multiple times in a dayOverall you should have a plan for your content, and schedule it appropriately for your readers.
You need to be linked on other websites, other than people knowing and bookmarking your site, most, if not all of your new visitors will be coming from links to your website on other sites. The obvious main one is a search engine’s site, many sites get up to 90% of their visitors from search engines, and everyone knows how important they are. However you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. You should diversify your linking and get your websites link on a variety of websites. You want to specifically get your link on other popular websites, because this will overall improve your ranking at search engines.
Having links to your website, is called having backlinks, there are many methods to acquire backlinks, and we have a guide on Howbu for the main methods, with some explanation on what you should do. Ultimately you need to spend nearly as much time promoting your website as you do creating content for it. Promoting is much much harder to do properly however, because of the nature of the internet and how many sites will spam their link, it’s hard to promote even with a legitimately helpful website. However, hopefully with good content, in time it should promote itself, you’ll get to a point where visitors of your website will promote your website for you by talking about it and linking it to their friends.
To create some really strong backlinks though, I’d advise communicating with website owners of in a similar genre of your own site, to ask to do a link exchange, not necessarily direct competitors, but specifically related genres.
Some other points to note are that you should register your site as long as possible, 3+ years at least. Search engines do look at the length of registry to determine how important your site is to rank, it’s logical, if you only have it registered for 1 year, you probably aren’t that invested into the website, and furthermore you investment signals some level of quality in the website. It doesn’t make a massive difference to your search results, but it should make some difference, for something that is pretty cheap.
Your websites design obviously is going to make an impact on viewers, and in most cases, you want your site to stand out from your competitors, take a screenshot of all your top competitors, and place a screenshot of your own next to them. Does your website stand out? Is it a clone? What could you do with different colors or a new layout. Don’t be worried about taking all the best ideas from your competitor and combining them into your website, that’s how good products are developed. As long as you also include your original spin on the idea, that’s all that matters.
Lastly one of the most important things about running a website, is running a community. Your website should be a community of loyal readers, gradually growing everyday as you push out new content. This means taking care of your community by constantly engaging with them, use questions, and respond to their comments.