One Technical Thing To Make A Website Work?

14 replies
Sadly, I'm no expert on the Internet.

I do write website copy – but that’s it. I’m clueless on all the technical stuff.

(Clients usually have their own web team - and to be honest I'm not sure if they have all the ability that is needed).

Anyway, to my horror, this morning a client asked me -

“What is the one most important thing (apart from the copy, layout, navigation etc) that should be done to make a website work?"

I did manage to ramble that there are usually lots of different things that must be in place.

But I couldn’t name them.

So, please if there was just one major thing you should do – what would it be?

And if you have a list of “must do's” – I would be so glad to hear them.


I know I should really post this on the Main Internet Marketing Discussion Forum.

But I have that sinking feeling that I’ll be blitzed with jargon – which I should understand but don’t…
#make #technical #thing #website #work
  • Profile picture of the author Marvin Johnston
    The most important thing? It all comes down to definitions, but I would say the most important thing for any site to have is a reason to exist.

    if the original question was what technical thing is most important, I'd say there is not enough information since the business goal of the website is not yet defined.

    Marvin
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    • Profile picture of the author Drez
      I think it should be idiot-proof clear what you want a visitor to do.

      For example:

      If your website is a a squeeze page / lead gen. Make sure you tell the prospect where to put their info and what to do (ie: hit the enter button")

      If it's a corporate style site - make sure the navigation is clear and unconfusing.

      And so on.
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      Mark "Drez" Dresner
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    • Marvin and Drez,

      Good advice and thank you.

      Thinking about it I didn't make myself all that clear when I was on about the tech stuff - let me try and narrow it down.

      What's the one most important thing to drive traffic to a website? Let's assume the client doesn't have a list to email to.

      For example it might be SEO (I have no idea if it is...)
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      • Profile picture of the author Drez
        Also make sure you images (if any) are not TOO HUGE ... it can make the site slow.
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        Mark "Drez" Dresner
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        • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
          The most honest answer would be... it depends on your business model.

          How are you going to make money from this site?

          That question needs to be answered first.

          SEO is just one way of doing things.

          I have at least one site that gets 140-250 visitors a day without Google. This site makes me money.

          Because of the way I set it up, I get traffic regardless of any search engine.

          On other sites SEO is critical.
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          "Those who can - DO IT. Those who can't, say it's impossible."
          Jean Paul a.k.a AdwordsMogul
          PHPDevelopers.net - Top of the range PHP developers

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          • Thanks Mogal,

            I have this awful feeling that when it comes to learning this stuff I am to say the least a bit dense.

            I was going to ask how you get visitors without google - but I'm guessing you would prefer not to disclose this.

            Also I don't want you good people spending valuable time - explaining details that are beyond me.

            But here's an idea -

            Can anyone put together a quick list of all the main abbreviations.

            Stuff like SEO, PPC etc.(actually it would be ever so helpful if you could type the full word...)

            Then I'll research them and try and grasp what they all mean.
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  • Profile picture of the author hawke777
    Bit of a loaded question - but a good one. There are already some good suggestions here, but also one thing I try to keep in mind is that you have to have compelling original content to drive people to. You can market all you want, but if you don't have good content, or a good product - in the case of a retail website - then you don't effect much.
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    • Profile picture of the author Drez
      Okay one more thing.

      Estimate how much traffic, concurrent users/visitors, bandwidth and storage you may have/need.

      This will help you decide whether a shared or dedicated hosting environment is required.

      If it's a new site shared hosting should be fine, However if you grow make sure you have (affordable) options.
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      Mark "Drez" Dresner
      Swipe My Massive Copywriting Swipe Files Collection for FREE
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    The most important thing besides excellent copy is excellent formatting of the copy. Without short paragraphs, proper paragraph headers, bullets, boxes, etc. to set off the writing many won't get the message at all. Look at all the people shouting for short copy. Proper formatting as mentioned allows these people to skim over long letters and still catch the message.
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    • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
      Hi Steve, Great question...

      To be honest, it really depends on the website... Is it a squeeze page, sales page, business to business website? etc.

      You have to keep in mind you goal, for what you want the website to achieve. When your visitor visits your page, there's usually something you want them to do, what is it?

      Keeping this in mind throughout the entire process, the entirety of your page should be designed around this one particular thing. This is what it all comes down to, this is why you spent hours or dollars, to get your user to your website in the first place... They're there for a reason, your website should reflect that in all it's entirety...

      For example,

      If it's a squeeze page, everything on the site should be guiding their eyes, their thoughts and desires, towards filling in that e-mail address.

      If it's a lead capture page, same thing, start them off where you want them to be, get them glued to your page, and your sales process needs to gently guide them from beginning to end.

      On a sales page, the entire thing should lead them down the intended sales path, which is why long form copy tends to work well. You have more time to guide your reader down one strong, linear pathway, from beginning to end.

      Keep in mind where your readers eyes are, and where their focus is, as they move through your page, and make sure you're never leading them astray, and you'll have a website that supports your copy. :-)

      Hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author briancassingena
    The idea that there's one single element which you need to have in place is just inaccurate thinking, your client is asking the wrong question.

    Of course my clients are the same, they rarely know how to ask the right questions, but here's my answer:

    Your market is more skeptical than ever. Every man and his dog has a website and you need to have EVERY element in place, working well and moving your visitor towards a sale, if you want to succeed.

    If you clean out half a garbage bin, the flies are still gonna come back. There's no use spending weeks on a headline, then throwing together some basic copy and a lousy offer, or having John Carlton write your sales letter, then driving zero traffic to it.

    Your client wants easy answers, they think you have a secret magic trick to boost their sales and you want this, you want to sell this, then deliver marketing which works.
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    • Profile picture of the author daxcheng
      I have a good answer for your client.

      This is an answer most consulting firm give. I should know. I worked in one.

      The answer is: It depends.

      Like everyone so correctly point out, it depends on what your objective is. Some sites are purely for branding.

      Since WF is mainly for marketers, I guess the answer (objective) for most people here is to make money.

      This is how we used to handle such question.

      It depends. What is your objective?

      (client answers)

      Well then, no single element is more important than any other. You need (spell out all the elements) but the most important thing is they all have to connect and work seamlessly.
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      Warmest Regards
      Dax Cheng
      writing-business-letters.com

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      • Profile picture of the author Summertime Dress
        You must know your target customer...and at what stage in the buying process you are driving traffic. For example, I saw a direct response ad this week for SMS texting services in a magazine filled mostly with restaurant ads. This was smart on many levels if he is targeting restaurant owners who are already spending money on advertising. The exact opposite would be true if the same ad ran in a pro-life magazine for pregnancy centers.

        Dan Kennedy talks about the Market/Media/Message match that must occur to be successful...I think the website is just one part of the bigger picture...
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