Now that you have a clear idea of what your niche is going to be, the next step is to build a home for the brand you will be creating for that niche. Pay attention to what I just I said. I said that you will be building a brand. I did not say “business” and I definitely didn’t say “website”.
Unfortunately, a lot of online entrepreneurs think that once they’ve discovered a niche, they just need to build a website or a business. Wrong. If you don’t build a brand, it’s only a matter of time until your business stagnates or flat-out fails.
You have to build a brand. This is what people will gravitate to. This is what people will build an organic community on. You have to build a brand; otherwise, you’re just simply pushing information as a commodity. That’s a losing game.
The best that you could offer is content and information. You really don’t have much of an advantage because your visitors can get that elsewhere. In fact, your competitors probably have been around far longer than you. There’s really no good reason for them to go to you for content when they can find that stuff somewhere else. You need to build a brand.
Your brand is a set of values that your community and a targeted audience would associate with your business. That is your brand.
Build a Niche Brand Website
The first thing that you’re going to work on is your website. This is going to be the home of the brand that you managed to build through all the content that you distribute all over the Internet. All that branding has to go somewhere. All that effort has to lead to a specific place on the Internet, and this is your website.
Do not ever confuse your website with your brand. Your website is just an expression of your brand. It is not your brand.
When putting together the specifications for a website, understand that you’re trying to create an experience.
Think of building a website as something like setting up a nightclub. When you’re setting up a dance club, nightclub or some sort of social destination, you’re looking to set up an experience because if you set up a club that serves alcohol and plays loud music, you’ve set up something generic. You’ve set up something that people could experience pretty much everywhere.
There has to be something that’s different about your brand. This is called your unique selling proposition. That’s why you have to look at your website as a giant opportunity to communicate your unique selling proposition.
What is it about your treatment of your niche that makes your brand stand out from the rest? Unfortunately, only you can answer that question.
Once you have set down the design parameters of your website (again, these must be intended to create some sort of unique experience), you should then select design parameters for graphics that communicate your niche identity. You
should also look at getting graphics designed that highlights your brand identity. All these flow together.
Quick Shortcut: reverse engineer your competitors’ designs
The biggest problem with creating a niche brand home is that it’s too tempting to come up with something that you think is awesome or hot. You’re more than welcome to brainstorm but, let me tell you, 90% of the time, whatever you come up with will fall flat. It turns out that you don’t see eye to eye with your customers.
The better approach would be to study what your competitors are already doing and focus on what they have in common. The reason they have certain design elements in common is that they resonate, at some level or other, with your target audience. They would not share those common design elements if they didn’t speak to your audience’s needs.
You use that as a preliminary starting point. This is a “safe spot” for you to start your niche brand home design on. Later on, you’re going to customize based on the actual interaction of your audience with your website.
Design Your Site for Intentional Niche Branding
Now that you have a clear idea of the “industry standard” design in your niche, make sure that your design notes would enable your selected web developer to come up with a design that is
focused on building up your brand. At the very least, it must be easy to read. People shouldn’t be intimidated by large blocks of text or impossibly small fonts.
Again, studying your competitors and checking out the “common design elements” can give you a tremendous head start.
Key Design “Hooks” Your Site Has to Have
Given the tremendous amount of design variability out there, I admit it can get quite confusing. However, of all the different options available, your website must have three “hooks” that would enable you to get more traffic, more engagement and possibly more income.
Social Media Shareability
Make sure that your website is designed for easy sharing. This goes beyond just having Facebook Share buttons all over the place. That’s a given.
What I’m talking about is when somebody decides to share your content, the Facebook user looking at your content would see a well-formatted and highly attractive preview of your content. This means a really nice-looking header graphic, well- formatted teaser text and other features. This is the key to shareability on social media.
You have to remember that majority of Facebook users actually scroll through their timeline. They don’t really read everything that appears on their timeline. This is why your content, when shared on social media, must jump out at viewers. This increases the likelihood that they would click the Share button after they feel that they’ve scanned enough of your content.
As I mentioned above, the majority of people consuming online content use mobile devices. This is why mobile responsiveness is nonnegotiable. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the screen of your users is. The version of your website that they see must be the best version of your website. Otherwise, you’ll lose them. They’ll pick some other competitor whose site looks much better.
Mailing List Responsiveness
You have to also incorporate your mailing list to your website design. This should not be treated as an afterthought.
Instead, you should look at your overall website design from the home page, the top level, the category level to the post level to see whether the design pushes people to sign up for your mailing list.
Your mailing list is one of the most important conversion devices on your website. Don’t take it lightly. Make sure it’s built into your website’s design.