My website is a puppy...? What in the world is this guy on about?
Is this post just an excuse to have pictures of puppies and talk about adorable things?
On the other hand, the reason this analogy exists is because the internet is a confusing place. When you want to start your online business and try to get your name out there, you have either way too much information on your hands, or you have none of the information you want. People will shout "you need to do SEO, spend money on Google Adwords, use social media to do things and use social media advertising!". They might even spout "nah man just use tv and radio ads, or sacrifice a goat in a blood ritual to appease the elder gods."
Really, it's not that complicated or messy. You just have to know where to start. That's why we're explaining to you how you should be thinking about your website and how that will change the way your business operates in the online world.
Honestly, raising your puppy is exactly the same as establishing your website. Both require time, caring and nurture.
So where am I going with this and where are these parallels that I am alluding to? Don't worry. I'm about to show the game of websites in a whole new light.
Picking your puppy
For new dog owners, or even experienced dog owners, it's important to consider what sort of dog suits your current lifestyle and living conditions.
You have to consider, what breed of dog am I looking for? How much exercise will the dog need? What foods can I easily supply? Do I have to think about allergies? Long hair, short hair? How big will the dog become?
A lot of things to think about right?
Starting your website is an incredibly similar process in the choices you have to make.
Breed - What is my website for?
As each breed of dog has it's own quirks and things you need to watch out for, just like the purpose of your website. I need a website to sell these things I make. I need a website to expand my personal brand. I need a website to sell a service which I provide locally. I need a website to sell a service which I can provide from anywhere in the world.
Each of these needs requires a different type of website. They also change according to the size of your business and how far you want to take it (big dog vs small dog). The money and time required to create the exact website you need will change with those needs. It's pointless to create a website which doesn't fulfill it's purpose e.g. creating a branding website when you're looking for online sales.
To stretch the analogy even further you may even be thinking of adoption (buying an existing website and domain). These websites will have an existing user base and its established quirks of the trade just like your adopted dogs. While changes can be implemented, it may be a good idea to do these over time rather than all at once (don't want to scare away the user base/dog).
Reading through this, are you starting to see the similarities?
Next part of a dog's breed, how does my website look?
Depending on your market, you will want your website to be designed differently. Whether this is merely stylistic colours, UX and UI design, this will ultimately factor into how much traffic your website will gain, just like how adorable your puppy is and how many upvotes you will get on /r/aww.
Once you've got your puppy/picked your website, this is where the real work starts. Just as with your puppy, you have to nurture and feed your website to make it grow. So what do you feed your website? Content is what you feed your website.
Content is the whole basis of your website, just like a good balanced diet and the right amount of exercise is for your puppy (and the training). Without content, your website will be the poor, undernourished little dog the local animal welfare agency saves before charging you with animal abuse.
Ignoring those horrible images, what is content?
Content is all the stuff that is on your web pages. All the text, images, everything.
Now the important part of content, is that you need to be populating your website with the right content, just like feeding your puppy the right food.
The content needs to be written in the style that best suits who you are targeting. It needs to be informative, have a clear structure, be easy to read, but above all, it should mostly be relevant to your specialty. Content which is off topic is often worse for your website than anything else. Just like feeding your puppy chocolate.
Now, what sort of content is good?
A good starting point for content on your website is a blog. It is a very easy way for you to connect to your audience. In fact some businesses and personalities have been built entirely from a blog and its content. Some interesting examples to read through are:
Though these may be extreme examples, this is a very good illustration of just what is possible with content.
Of course there are other sorts of content you should be producing. These include:
Do you see a theme? Content you make should be useful. It's better for everyone involved if the content will benefit someone. This way people will actually be interested in the content you write. Even just stories of how other people do things can work out.
So you have a healthy puppy now. I mean you have your website now. It's full of content just sitting there and waiting.
Now take your puppy and get out there and socialize! One of the most interesting things for me is watching people interact with puppies. Everybody loves them. If you take them out in public, it's almost guaranteed someone will come up to you and say hi. They may have their own puppy or dog. Point is, your puppy attracts interest. Maybe it's just for the puppy. Maybe it attracts interest to you. If 101 Dalmatians has taught me anything, it's that a successful marriage could be started just from two dogs meeting in the park.
That's what your website can now do. This is what it should do.
The whole point of your website is to attract people to you or your business. The content you have made and your website work as the portal for you to enable this.
I know what you're thinking. "But how do I take my website out for walks?"
You take them out for walks by engaging with outreach sources. This isn't just posting on forums, but reaching out to industry idols or highly followed people. You can create the greatest content in the world, but it's often very hard to start out if there just isn't enough exposure. You could have the cutest dog in the world but no one will know if you don't spam Facebook, Instagram and Reddit saying look how cute my dog is and collect internet points.
So, post your content in the right places. Do some research and ask yourself:
- Where are the best dog parks?
- Which dog parks can I go to?
- Who are the best owners who I can socialize my dog with?
Once you figure out where to post content and who to ask in outreach, go ahead and spread the word.
Having connections with relevant industries or websites linking back to you is enormously beneficial for your website and its rankings.
Once you can establish all these steps and build your website and business's reputation, you have essentially established your website correctly. You will have a good SEO score, have good backlinks and have established yourself as industry leaders. If not that, at least you have an adorable puppy.
Does it all stop here though? No way!
Do you stop feeding your puppy after you get all the ladies to fawn over him and make you the most interesting side piece in the world? No!
What's important here is you keep doing what you have done right from the start. Feed your website good content. Groom it. Outreach to people who will be interested in it. Rinse, repeat and ultimately sell.
This is why your website is your puppy and you need to start treating it with love.