There is a rift in the world of building highly trafficked websites.
Some people say content is king, while others preach the importance of promotion.
They all are…
The trick is, instead of picking a side, I borrowed the best-practices from each strategy, and I created the Thriving Audience Framework, a proven formula for getting more web traffic.
Introducing the Thriving Audience Framework
Before we dive into the details, let me set the record straight. The Thriving Audience Framework works. It consists of three pillars, and when you learn how to implement each pillar, you can generate a lot of traffic.
How do I know this?
Over the past year, I interviewed 15 wildly successful online entrepreneurs for my new product Traffic School, and after careful analysis, I realized they all used some version of the Thriving Audience Framework.
Additionally, I’ve built 3 popular websites that received more than 100,000 unique hits, and the Thriving Audience Framework helped me there too.
Okay, now you must be wondering, “what are the three pillars and how do you implement them?”
Keep reading and I’ll walk you through it.
Pillar 1: Foundation
Your foundation is everything other than your content. It’s what your site is all about, and how you present it.
To build a foundation that turns visitors into raving fans, consider these 5 parts:
Your mindset determines a lot about your ability to attract visitors to your site (and keep them). Think long term and try to genuinely help people and you’ll do well. Think short-term and try to game people or get-rich-quick and you’ll have a hard time getting any meaningful traffic.
Ideally, you’ve chosen a market that is at the intersection of something you’re good at, something you care about and something people are willing to read about. If you haven’t chosen a market like that, you may want to reevaluate.
Your site needs to stand out among your competitors and be different to find any sizable audience. Try addressing your market in a new or different way from your competitors, or appeal specifically to a unique segment of the market.
Your brand is a combination of your site’s (or business’s) name, tagline, logo and domain. Your brand should reinforce why you are different, let people know what your site is about and leave a strong impression on your visitors.
Your design has a job to do. It needs to create an affinity in your visitors and buy you some time so they’ll consume your content. Design isn’t something you should skimp on if you really want a big audience. A great design is a great way to stand out and impress your visitors.
Pillar 2: Content
You already know that outstanding content is essential for building a highly-trafficked website. To break it down further, here are three key areas to focus on:
1. Content Development
The ultimate goal of your content is to either entertain, educate or enlighten your visitors or customers. Every piece of content you develop should do one of those three things and also reinforce your brand and the unique position you occupy in the market.
Your business or project has a set of overall goals. You probably want more subscribers, customers, donors, commenters, contributors or more.
In a world of free content, it’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of providing killer benefits to your visitors through that free content. But you have to remember your overall goals, which are probably not merely to provide free content. At a minimum you want your site to grow.
That’s where conversion comes in. Your content has a job to do. If you want to build a popular site, you need to convince your visitors to take the specific actions you want them to take.
3. The Epic Stuff Factor
Building a truly thriving audience online all starts with creating epic content. Not mediocre content, not good content, epic content. You have to realize that you’re competing with hundreds or thousands or more of other sites out there. It takes outstanding content to stand out from the crowd.
Epic content is content that is insanely useful. It’s content that makes people think, inspires people, changes lives and delivers unmistakable value. Your content has to have the “epic stuff” factor if you want to succeed. That is your secret weapon for rising above the noise your potential visitors deal with every day.
Pillar 3: Promotion
Promotion is the act of getting the word out about your content and your site. It’s about finding your potential visitors wherever they are and bringing them back to your site.
To promote your site, it’s really about two distinct parts, and they are:
1. Promotion Strategy
Effective promotion online always starts with a strategy. Copying what some other successful sites have done isn’t a strategy either. That is a tactic (described below). A strategy is imperative because it guides all of your actions and ensures you’re making the best use of your precious time.
2. Promotion Tactics
Notice that we’re finally getting to discuss promotional tactics. When most people think of building website traffic, they think purely of tactics, and that’s why they fail. Without a solid foundation, outstanding content and a promotional strategy, tactics won’t get you very far.
Only after we’ve nailed those other important elements do we look to tactics for getting the word out. Yes, things like SEO, social media, email marketing, affiliate marketing, press coverage, advertising, interviews, forums and link building are important and useful, but they’re far more effective as part of the overall Thriving Audience Framework.
The Formula Requires Every Component to Really Work
If you’ve struggled to grow an online audience, I challenge you to think about each of these components: foundation, content, and promotion. Where have you done well? Where have you came up short?
Yes, I’m asking you to be completey honest with yourself here, and that can be tough. However, this formula works, and if you master each of the three key pillars, you will be well on your way to building a highly trafficked website.