This lesson discusses what it means to build the best website (or blog) and highlight what I consider to be the three pillars of a remarkable website. The topics in this lesson are so important that we decided to share them for free with everyone. I’ve also included an outline of what you will learn in this course. Follow these lessons and topics to build your remarkable blog.
What Does Blogging Mean?
The term blog was borne in 1999 when Peter Merholz jokingly split the term weblog (in those days, basically any form of internet diary) into the phrase “we blog” in the sidebar on his website. As a noun, a blog is any website that, rather than being static, periodically or regularly publishes new content that typically can be navigated chronologically. As a verb, blogging refers to the act of creating and publishing new content on a blog. And the term blogger refers to the person or persons creating and publishing that blog content.
In short, a blog is a type of website, and blogging is defined as the act of creating and publishing new content (like articles and videos) on that website.
Top Reasons to Create a Blog
Blogs fulfill many different purposes. Perhaps you are passionate about a topic and want to get your message out to the world, mobilizing a community around your central theme. Perhaps you have a product or service in search of an audience, so expanding your visibility on the internet is the obvious key to increasing your customer base and growing your business. Perhaps you are looking to use a blog as a launching pad into the world of TED talks, expert interviews, and influencer marketing. A blog is both your platform and your greatest digital tool for reaching your individual goals.
Read the Transcript
David: I’m David and I’m back with Dr. Sara Ballantyne and we put together this particular lesson as a free lesson for you. The reason why we did this is we want to share with you our thoughts, our thinking, how we communicate, what we’re like as people, and why we think the best website is something that you should really focus on.
Sarah: This free lesson is really about giving us the opportunity to communicate the big goals that we’re trying to achieve with this course so that you get a really solid feel about the entire curriculum, how comprehensive it is, how thorough it is, and how we’re going to walk you through each step so that you can really implement each of the action steps within this course to build the best website that meets your goals.
David: And often the best website varies depending upon which stage of your business that you’re at. So we don’t want you to think that the best website is where somebody may be at today. The best website is an outcome that’s really really important for you. Where do you want to be in building your business? Where do you want to be in building your brand? And what outcomes do you want for yourself?
Sarah: You might be starting a blog purely as a hobby; something that you’re doing in the evenings after a long day at work and you are just looking for an outlet for your enthusiasm on a particular topic and looking to build a community around that enthusiasm. Or you might be trying to market a product that you’ve created. You might be trying to transition into the service industry through a blog or you might be doing something like what I did which is starting a blog that’s become a thriving business. I have six employees that have a 401k. It’s become an entire career for me and a career that gives me the opportunity to make a really tangible impact on people’s lives or any shade of gray in between.
David: Right and so the best website may be one whose topics that you’re passionate about. May be one that enables you to get full-time people working with you. It may be one where you can work the hours that you want to do and support your family and spend time with relatives and do things that you need to do. The most important thing is that this time period is where you can create the environment where you want to work. So when we’re talking about the best website, it’s where it fits in your heart with what you want to do and what change you want to make in the world.
Sarah: And gives you the opportunity to grow beyond your initial goals. So you may have an idea of what you want the website to be now, but we’re going to set you up with all of the skills to be able to keep all of your doors open and all of your options open for rapid audience growth and rapid impact growth so that if you want this to be a hobby now, but two years down the road want to quit your job and do this full time and hire a bunch of people and make this your entire mission in life. You have such a solid foundation of a website to build on that all of those options are on the table,
David: Right and a lot of people think when they come to us they say, well, I just really want to grow can you do SEO for me? And we stopped and we paused and we’re like, no there’s a really solid foundation that you need in order for SEO to work and that’s what makes a really great website. You need core infrastructure that performs fast so that your visitors on your blog aren’t bored to death waiting for a page to load. You need core technical SEO schema structure so that Google understands what your page is about and whether you have videos on there or recipes that they understand what that page is about. You have core linking strategies between your pages to show that you’re creating authority and that you’re trustworthy with the information that you’re providing. So in this lesson, we’re going to dig into some of that, talk a little bit about it, and it’s going to lay the foundation for you to understand that your blog is really about core infrastructure, technical setup, and really really good content.
Sarah: Yeah content is also a really important key because if you have very surface-level content, if it’s just packed with keywords to try to get people there, but you’re not actually offering them something that’s worth their time or content that’s worth actually engaging with they’re not going to come back. So a huge part of building a remarkable website is getting people to it and then wanting them to come back and keeping them there and keeping them engaged. Having them want to follow you on social media and become not just like an accidental person who happens on it through a Google search, but somebody who is loyal to your brand and wants to continue to follow and engage with your content and share your content. Someone who becomes now an audience member.
What is the Best Website?
I think that is a trick question. The reason I do is most people tend to answer that question speaking about features or technology. I believe the best website is one that supports your blogging goals, which can include making money from your blog, selling products in your online store, or showcasing your business website.
There are as many different ways to answer the question of “what is the best website” as there are free WordPress themes. And as you can tell from the Google search result image below, there’s an amazing amount of content on the web related to “free WordPress themes.”
So What Makes the Best Website?
We’ve asked this question to our customers and to bloggers we met at WordCamps. We even asked this question using a survey on our website. We can group the results into two categories. The first group is process-focused or feature-related. They describe things related to a website. The second group is outcome-focused and they describe the results of owning a blog.
We hear people often describe the best website in terms of features or processes, such as “the best website uses WordPress” or “the best website has great content on it.” Other people say “the best website is made via SEO tweaks or content hacks that cause search engines to love you and your Google Analytics to skyrocket.” We all know that more often than not, those hacks or tweaks end up hurting your blog in the long run.
Process focused answers to the question “how to start the best website” are usually written as ten-step guides. Do these ten things and your blog will be successful.
The most common answer we hear when asking what is the best website is “the best website is one that is successful.” However, the measurement of success is objective and the values assigned to those results vary from person to person.
The values assigned to the measurement of success also vary by stage. You can have success in setting up your first blog post on WordPress.com. You can have success by consistently creating a new post every week or by launching your first podcast. You can have success with monetization after setting up ecommerce to sell your products.
Have you read Atomic Habits by James Clear? If you haven’t, you are missing out. James describes how to make small 1% improvements today and tomorrow that drive long-term success. His book is more than a listicle of ideas for improvements. It gets deep and fosters discussion for improvement. (Note: That’s how we tried to develop this course too. This How to Build a Remarkable Blog course isn’t just a list of what to do. This course gets deep, requires thought and planning, and enables you to chart a path for success.)
By the way, this isn’t an affiliate marketing play. This is an honest-to-goodness recommendation. I found his book, Atomic Habits, to be moving and life-changing. Affiliate links are cool though and can help you make money blogging. We discuss affiliate marketing and other monetization techniques in detail later in this course.
So what does success look like as outcomes? We think it describes the long-term result you are trying to achieve. Here are some of my favorite examples.
The best website is one whose blog topics you are passionate about. The best website enables your hard work to earn a passive income. The best website allows you to work full-time yet within a schedule that accommodates your lifestyle. The best website started as a personal blog and has now grown into a full-time business employing great people.
Website Building is Easier Than You Think
Platforms like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Shopify, and GoDaddy use what is called website builder software to create a web page. These web builders sometimes offer a free domain or allow you to enter a custom domain name to create your website using their drag-and-drop tools. Honestly, I’m not a fan of those platforms. While they often provide ease of use, they often lack great tools for SEO and content management.
I think WordPress provides the best content management system—and after all, isn’t blogging all about managing your content? I also think WordPress works well for SEO.
We’ve created our platform called Mai Solution which is based upon WordPress. We took the experience we learned from building hundreds of websites for bloggers and business owners and created an all-inclusive platform that’s completely managed for you. There’s no need to worry about hosting, themes, plugins, or technical SEO. It’s all there, available as one single monthly subscription that is 100% managed for you.
With Mai Solution, you don’t need to be a web developer or web designer to create the best website. You can be the best website builder for your blog! The learning curve for WordPress isn’t steep. With the know-how covered in this course, you’ll be set to work on your high-quality, popular website.
Don’t worry, this lesson won’t get deep into HTML, Open Source, or geeky topics (that I love) for developers. Instead, we are going to focus on three important pillars to consider when building a new website or refreshing your current blog.
The Three Pillars of Building the Best Website
When starting your blog or website, there are many elements that go into making it remarkable, from choosing a domain name to selecting the right content management system, using intuitive navigation, a modern and professional website design, and more.
When building your website, or refreshing your current blog, there are three main three pillars of a solid website foundation that you need to focus on:
- quality content is EVERYTHING,
- page speed matters, and
- schema markup makes the difference.
In the next few topics, we teach you about each of these website pillars and why they’re critical.