Grow Your Business

How to build (and grow) your website: Advice from GrowthLab YouTube

Remember your first apartment? What was it like? Was it a spacious five-bedroom downtown with reserved parking, state-of-the-art appliances, and all the bells and whistles? Or was it a cramped studio in the scrappy student district with a futon, a couple of Home Depot boxes doubling as side tables, and plates and forks you snagged from your parents’ house?

Somehow I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of us didn’t start in the fancy five-bedroom.

Your website is the home of your business. And sure, we all want the penthouse — the glorious, polished page with gorgeous design, cool widgets, and a whole library of mind-blowingly valuable content that keeps our audience consistently salivating for more.

But we don’t start there. We start in the shitty studio: an opt-in form and a couple of blog posts that feel held together with duct tape and a prayer. Kind of like the cabinet doors in my first apartment, now that I think of it.

Blast from the past: Here’s what our sister site, I Will Teach You to Be Rich, looked like back in April 2005.

And you know what? That’s okay. Everybody starts somewhere. And you know what happens after you start? You start working your way up.

For this YouTube roundup, we’ve gathered together a few of our favorite videos from GrowthLab YouTube about how to grow your website from nothing to that beautiful penthouse version you can see in your mind.

We’ve broken it down into three phases:

Phase 1: Create remarkable content
Phase 2: Help (the right) people find your remarkable content
Phase 3: Turn content into customers for life

(Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel here.)

Phase 1: Create remarkable content

What makes a blog successful? [5 min.]

When you’ve been blogging as much as we have and as long as we have, you start noticing patterns in the kinds of posts that rake in traffic and get visitors coming back to your site again and again.

Five things our most successful posts have in common? Relevance. Practicality. Personality. Engagement. Uniqueness.

Jumpstart your blog (and smash writer’s block) with these five types of blog posts [5 min.]

Blogging is about consistency — you want to keep the content coming reliably in order to establish that connection with your audience and keep them coming back for more. One of the trickiest when you’re just starting out: generating enough ideas to keep your blog (and your growing list of followers) fed and happy.

One way to bypass writer’s block: slotting in specific kinds of content that are guaranteed to get your readers’ attention. Our Editor in Chief, Sean Blanda, breaks down five types of posts we use at GrowthLab to keep our content engine running smoothly — and interestingly:

  1. Case study
  2. Tip post
  3. Thought leadership
  4. Q&A
  5. Current event tie-in

Phase 2: Help (the right) people find your remarkable content

How to drive traffic to your website [5 min.]

Armchair marketing quarterbacks love to expound on what the best tactic is for driving traffic.
“It’s SEO!”
“No, it’s PPC!”
“No, it’s creating a voodoo doll of your ideal customer to sacrifice to the traffic gods.”

Our take: there’s a time and a place for each of these things (well, maybe not ritual sacrifice, but then again, we haven’t tried it). But it’s like working out: if you start out saying “I’m going to run a marathon” and you’ve never even run a mile before, you’re going to collapse. The better option: start small — with scrappy, unscalable tactics like guest posting — and work your way up from there.

The 4 proven ways to get quality subscribers (and buyers!) [4 min.]

One thing we’ve learned over more than a decade at IWT and GrowthLab: not all traffic is the same. Anyone can buy subscribers or host a giveaway or spam people with pop-ups. But have you ever seen a Twitter bot buy an online course? I haven’t. And pumping your list with cheap subscribers is basically the equivalent of that.

If you want to form deep, meaningful relationships with people who actually care, there are no shortcuts. There’s just hard work — that pays off. Four strategies that have worked well for us:

  1. Create amazing content
  2. Make it easy for the right kind of visitors to find your content with SEO
  3. Get your content on sites that have more traffic than you do
  4. When traffic does start pouring in, make sure you’re ready with an opt-in field and an offer that’s too good for your audience to refuse

Phase 3: Turn content into customers for life

How do websites make money? [8 min.]

Once you’ve built up a following with your steady flow of undeniably awesome content, you’re ready to flip the switch and turn that traffic into money — money that you can then put back into your business by making your website and your products bigger, better, and more valuable.

As for how you make that money? There are a few different avenues. We’ve tried most of them — and we’ve gotten a pretty good idea of what works for us.

  1. Ads
  2. Sponsorships
  3. Physical products
  4. Affiliates
  5. Online courses

How to create and sell online courses [3 min.]

Of all the ways to make money with your website, online courses is our favorite, hands down.

Creating online courses is just a natural extension of what you’re doing with your blog already: providing valuable content that answers your audience’s burning pains and shows them that you care about helping them reach their goals.

The only difference: this time, you’re asking for money in exchange for the value you provide. But if you’ve done your job, listened to your subscribers, and learned what it is they need from you, they won’t just be okay with paying for more from you — they’ll be happy to.

Got a question about growing your website that these videos don’t answer? Tell us about it in the comments below! And subscribe to our YouTube channel here to get notified when we post one of our weekly videos.

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