3 Skills You Need to Run a Successful Website on a Budget
It’s been a little more than 20 years since Jeff Bezos created Amazon.com in a garage in Seattle. During that time, he’s grown to become one of the top two richest people in the world.
And even though Mr. Bezos may be the most successful website entrepreneur so far, he sure isn’t alone. There are thousands more success stories of people creating businesses on the web.
You’ve probably heard a few yourself — self-published writers, app developers, personal trainers, artists, and people offering just about any product or service you can think of. More and more business owners are following Mr. Bezos’ example and creating business projects based on the web and social media.
Why would I want to create a business based on a website?
These days it only makes sense. Creating an online business around a website is both cost-effective and relatively easy to do. Modern website builder tools offer pre-designed templates, with easy drag and drop editing capabilities. But, like anything worth doing in life, you don’t just need a goal. You need the ability to realize that goal. Learning the skills presented here will be a great foundation for creating and maintaining a successful web presence, even if you have a limited budget.
Why are there only 3 skills?
Fortunately, much of the technical know-how needed to set up a website has been made available to those of us without a computer science degree. Setting up a site on the web can be as easy as filling out forms, dragging and dropping your content and images into place, and clicking buttons. No need to hire expensive designers and web developers that could break the budget. But your website isn’t really complete even after you push ‘Launch’ from your web console.
There are three broad, non-technical skill sets you should be familiar with when you’re setting up a website on on your own. Understanding and practicing these skills as you develop and manage your website won’t necessarily guarantee success, but remaining unaware of them will almost certainly guarantee failure.
Skill #1: SEO
The importance of understanding basic search engine optimization (SEO) concepts can’t be understated for anyone who wants to create and manage a successful website on a budget. Or any website, for that matter.
The term SEO covers anything you do to improve the placement of your website links in Google and other search engines for keywords representing common searches. Most people only consider links appearing on the first page of search engine results, so ranking high on that page is very is very important.
Understand on-page SEO
On-page SEO refers to best way to present the content and source code of individual webpages to the search engine bots that index your site. Having clear, well-written content without a lot of spammy links is important, but isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. You need to do the keyword research to define the terms that will attract the right audience, and then make sure your content and meta descriptions are optimized for those terms. But be careful not to be too repetitive, or keyword heavy since search engines could penalize you for thin, and duplicate content.
You’re the architect of your website
When you’re setting up your website, you should consider how your content will be structured. Is your site mostly a blog? Or will you need a Help section of hierarchically-arranged pages?
Considering how your webpages will link to one another, and how the content will actually look on the screen, will make your site more user friendly and draw the visitors quickly to your most important content with fewer distractions.
This is arguably the most important part of SEO since without a lot of high-quality backlinks, Google won’t assign a high rank to your site no matter how well it’s indexed. Understanding how to get relevant backlinks should be one of your top priorities when setting up a new website.
Skill #2: Content Marketing
Whether you’re running an online catalog or a blog, using content is a popular and effective way to garner new customers and improve their opinion of your online business. When you provide content, whether it’s in the form of entertainment or support, you’re creating an additional value to your customers that helps set your business apart from the competition.
And when you focus your marketing efforts on content, you do more than just provide additional value to your customers. You establish yourself as a part of their lives.
You need to know how to write
Even if you aren’t a professional journalist or copy writer, being able to express yourself clearly and intelligently is an important skill no matter your profession. If you’re setting up a blog on a budget, then chances are you’ll be doing a significant amount of writing on your own. Check out these tools that can help you improve your writing, and audit what you have created to date.
Understand your brand
Your brand isn’t just your logo or what colors you use. Your brand is the personification of your business. It’s your business goals, its values and even its personality. When you’re setting up a website for your business, it should reflect the personality and values of your brand.
Having a content strategy sets you up for success
Your content strategy is how you use content to deliver value and attract new customers. A good content strategy plan also makes consistently creating new content easier by documenting the specifics of how and when you create your content.
Skill #3: Business acumen
You don’t need a business degree to be run a successful online business. What you do need is a strong sense of the fundamentals. Fundamentals such as integrity, sociability and — most importantly — grit.
Having a business degree can’t hurt, either. But even without one, there are some simple skills you can practice to make you a better businessperson.
Set SMART goals
Setting goals is critical for anyone who wants to be a success at what they do, and setting up your website for success is no different. Not all goals are created equally, however.
When you create goals for a website, make sure to create SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-based. It’s a handy way to create goals that are realistic and easy to track.
Be good at managing your time
Being able to manage your time is another critical skill for being successful at anything you set out to accomplish. Delegation of tasks is at the heart of entrepreneurship, and creating efficient workflows is a key aspect to prevent the burn-out that inevitably arises from the hard work required to set up a new website.
Networking may be the most important business skill of all
Whether you’re reaching out for sales or professional advice, the ability to network with others and develop relationships is the key to creating a successful online business. Without these relationships, your business simply will not be able to be successful.
Do you have what it takes to manage a successful online business?
If you found yourself reading through this blog post unsure about your own ability in some of these areas, take heart! None of the skills or abilities listed here rely on innate talents that some have and others don’t.
If you feel like you’re lacking in knowledge or experience in some areas, then all you need to do is keep reading and practice them. All entrepreneurs (even Jeff Bezos) have careers built on failures that taught them the lessons they needed to become successful.
One of the greatest things about setting up a website on a budget is that even if you fail, you have not broken the bank. Never in the history of business has it been this easy to learn the lessons that come from trying and failing in the real world. So, what are you waiting for?