Looking for inspiration from other websites can be a bit like opening up Pandora's box. There's nothing wrong with checking out the competition, or your friends, and seeing what they've got going on. The problem is, you often don't really know what is working and what isn't. How do you know whether the best WordPress websites are really the best? How do you know whether you should copy some of their techniques, or learn from them and avoid them?
It's a tricky place to find yourself in if you're desperate to improve your site. I for one know that I've visited another site before, seen something which I think is cool, spent a few days researching how to implement it, and then found that it made little difference to my site's performance. Oops!
Over time, you do start to get an eye for what works, and what makes a great website, and more importantly, what makes a terrible website. There's no “correct” way to run your website, but there are definitely some things you shouldn't be doing.
With that in mind, here are my top tips for making yours one of the best WordPress websites out there. In fact, forget wordpress, just make it the best website it can be.
Tip One – The Best WordPress Websites Forget About Metas And Other Fiddly Things
What makes WordPress so popular as a site building tool is the work it does for you in the background. When it comes to the mechanical side of SEO, implementing keywords, tags, and so on, WordPress has you covered.
You don't need to faff around with meta titles and keywords. All you need to worry about is producing good content. Websites that tend to “force” keywords or write unnaturally are wasting their time. Google is only going to rank for you quality, and WordPress will handle getting your content optimized for the most part.
Next time you visit a really good website, take a look at how the content is structured and laid out. Basically, they've written it for their audience, not a search engine.
Tip Two – Great Websites Have Great Content
So following on from tip number 1 is this common sense tip. Content is king. You don't necessarily have to be a great writer, oozing talent. Nope, you just have to be able to communicate relatively well.
At the end of the day, you should be answering people's questions or giving them insight that they need. To drill it down into its purest form:
Problem + Solution = Success.
If your content provides solutions to problems (however small they may be), and you're presenting them in a clear, understandable way, then power to you.
The more you do this, the better at it you'll get, so get started right away.
Once more..content is king, queen, and ace of spades.
Tip Three – Use Promotions Sparingly
One trait many site owners have, particularly beginners, is to have banners and adverts and promotions EVERYWHERE. I can understand the desire to make money from your site, and if one banner is earning you $1 a day, the logic is to put 10 banners around and make something from your site.
The problem is, your site will be ugly, intrusive, and detract from the content. By all means use a sidebar and put banners in it advertising relevant content, but don't throw up adverts and “BUY NOW” displays everywhere. It's incredibly off-putting.
What do you think when you find websites like this? Probably you have a quick scan of the content and leave.
Instead, create one or two main promotions and dedicate a page to them. Write a review of something you love, and make that your “money” page. After that, you can link to it from some of your other articles, and make a sidebar banner to point to it as well.
When you are presenting your “products” as related to the article your readers are already on, they're going to be much more likely to follow through and make a purchase. Plus, they'll appreciate you not bombarding them with promotion.
There's no “best” location for a banner, best size, or design. Some things work well for one site and not for others. The same thing applies to pop-ups and opt-in forms, although generally huge pop-ups in the middle of the page tend to annoy me.
Tip Four – The Best WordPress Websites Help You Use Them
If you didn't quite get what I meant there, bear with me. Ever visited a website and found it difficult to navigate? Or they've hinted at some information but not provided you a link to learn more?
Ever seen a site that asks for comments, but makes it a complete pain to leave one? Ever seen a site that makes it difficult for you to actually read their content?
I'm sure you have, because there are thousands of them!
You've got to make your site work for your visitors. Give them a simple navigation bar (one line if possible), and whenever you refer to something, provide a link to an article to give them more reading. If that article doesn't exist, write it!
Don't fire pop-ups and ad banners in their faces when they are reading your content, and if you want them to sign up, give them an incentive, or at least a clear reason why they should do it.
Basically, think about what they are looking for on your site, and give it to them.