Those of you that have been there know the joyful feeling when you see visitor numbers skyrocket.  While it really does feel great to see those high numbers, it should not be your focus. Your focus should be User Value!

Over the years I’ve built dozens of websites and maybe at least a dozen for myself. A lot of them were interesting ideas but my mistake was that they were not focused on the user. They were built to get traffic with minimal effort.

One of them was WordNub.com which I already shared with you, but there were many others like it. Some were original ideas, others where a duplicate of what already existed. Yes, they did their part of getting me traffic, at least in the beginning. But after awhile either the traffic would slow down or something else would go wrong, like the source for the data would dry up.

Yes, the sites were built with the best SEO in mind. They had sitemaps, keyword urls, titles, etc; search engines would love them. Which is still true by the way, you should always keep search engines in mind.

So not only overtime the traffic would slow down but also, I didn’t have a good way to monetize it. And guys, I hate pop-ups, which at the time seemed like to be the only way to make a buck, but I never used them and never will. Looking back, I probably could have done more things if I had the knowledge that I have now.

Things have dramatically changed; search engines have gotten smarter and are quicker at identifying these types of sites. But one thing hasn’t changed and that’s sites with User Value.

User Value – guys, I don’t think I made this term up, but I want you to repeat it a few times. User Value, User Value, User Value. If you want to be successful, your site or creation must have User Value. And it doesn’t matter if you’re just running a blog or building the next social network.

User Value Check List:

-          What does your website have that others don’t?

-          Why would the user care to come back to your site?

-          Do you have an intuitive design? This a must to grab visitor’s initial attention.

-          Is your site full of links? hard to navigate? Take out all the junk, keep it clean.

-          Don’t think about money on day 1, think about user loyalty. Give the user a chance to get to know your site.

-          Paying for traffic just to have traffic is not the answer. If you’re site’s traffic isn’t increasing without any advertising, then there is something wrong.

-          Know your competition – yes, you’ve heard this term. My definition of this is different, know what they are offering and make sure you service has a different value or scope.

-          Don’t Duplicate – last point brings me to this, duplicating idea or website is not the way to go. Most likely, you will fail. Create something unique, work hard to keep it unique; that is the route to success.

-          Domain Is Not The Answer -  yes, having a good domain is great and helps. But don’t spend 10k on the domain and 1k on development.

-           No Junk – I want to say this again, take out all the junk when you’re just starting up. Learn from the best. Twitter, facebook, youtube and all the other great services did not put ads on the site until much later.

-          Have a Plan – yes, have a plan on how you’re going to make money. Adsense should not be the answer.

-          Loyalty – yes, make something great so you have user loyalty. Then, you don’t need advertising. Users will share and refer others to your site. This is the best type of traffic as now the new visitor actually comes there to spend time and learn about your site.

 

It has taken me a lot of time to understand this. Going forward I’m going to try and implement all of these. Again, don’t make the same mistakes that I did. Focus on the user.

 

If you have other pointers to add to this list, feel free to post.