If you're in business, you need a website, even if it's just a few pages serving as an online brochure. Websites can be much more than that, of course. Indeed, effective websites offer a wealth of resources for readers, gain authority by doing so and dramatically boost business for the companies that own them.
In developing such a site, first identify your niche. As a payment professional, there are many areas you could focus on. Some possibilities are specific merchant verticals, the challenges encountered in building an ISO, the unique challenges of merchant level salespeople, current issues and trends in payments, sales training, merchant education, sustaining motivation to meet goals, POS technology, merchant cash advance, value-added products, data and network security, government regulations, legal issues in payments, and international payments.
After you identify your niche, learn about your audience. Define who your typical readers are with as much specificity as you can. Find out where they hang out on the web, interact with them on social media, ask questions and start discussions on topics of interest. Find out what motivates them, identify the problems and fears they face, determine what their dreams are, what their information sources are, and who they view as niche leaders.
List all of your skills and what you can provide on your website to help members of your niche thrive. Then devise content that uses your unique skills to inform, instruct and inspire your audience – and motivate them to take the actions you desire, too. You may be a great speaker, for example, so videos of your talks might be a major component of your site. Or you might be proficient at writing pithy blog posts, so your website might spotlight that type of content.
Since so many people now access the Internet via mobile devices, your website must look good on a variety of screen sizes, and the pages should load quickly, so don't load your site up with bloated images. It also needs to be easy to navigate and not deviate far from the norms of current website design. The content you want to emphasize should take center stage. If you use popup windows, make them pleasing to the eye and easy to close, and don't overuse them, or you'll drive visitors away.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your content must be highly useful to your intended audience. If you just repeat information people can easily get elsewhere, your site won't be viewed as a valuable resource. But if you provide information and advice that truly helps your audience, people will return again and again. They'll refer their friends, too. In time, your site will become a popular destination, and you will become known as an authority in your niche enjoying all the benefits that status engenders.
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