This is episode 4 of 7 of the Authority Hacker New Year Starter Series. If you haven’t been through the previous episodes, we suggest you go and check those out first.
What you will learn
- Why credibility is important for your marketing efforts
- Actionable steps to make your site look credible (even if it’s brand new)
- How to choose a domain name that projects trust and authority
- How to choose a reliable web host (and our personal recommendations)
- What is the only content management system you should even consider
- The importance of personas and when to use a fake persona
Why Credibility Is Important
The credibility of your site will have a direct influence on the effectiveness of your marketing.
Visitors who land on your site will evaluate your credibility in just a few seconds, and if people have hard time trusting you, your sales will suffer.
Not only is it important in terms of converting visitors on-site, but it also plays a massive part in how search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo perceive your site.
Of course, that’s without going into the benefits of outreach and link building, which we’ll cover later in this series.
Making Your Site Look Credible
There are some basic things we recommend you do to make your site look more credible, even if it’s a brand new installation.
Choosing A Domain Name
The first step for most people is choosing a domain name.
We recommend you go for a “.com” unless you’re targeting a local audience, but even then it doesn’t hurt to allow yourself room to grow.
You should also aim for a branded domain, as opposed to exact match. Also try to make it clear what the site is about from the name alone.
For more information, check out our podcast episode on choosing a domain name.
Finding A Reliable Web Host
Settling on a web host is an important step because a bad host can cause all sorts of problems for you later down the line. It’s always wise to invest a bit more money and avoid potential issues.
Most importantly, you want a hosting provider with solid uptime. There’s nothing worse than having your site go down every week, resulting in not only a loss of trust, but also a direct loss of sales.
We recommend Siteground or WPX hosting, as they also provide a free one-click SSL certificate for your site. SSL provides a secure connection for your visitors (which they can see) so it’s a quick way to establish trust.
Note: A lot of people/marketers recommend using Bluehost. In reality, they only say that because it offers the highest affiliate commissions. It’s actually not the best option.
Your Content Management System (CMS)
Your content management system (also called a CMS) is like an operating system for your website. It’s the framework in which everything else plugs into.
It’s by far the most popular CMS, so naturally it has biggest library of tools/plugins as well as answers to any problem you could ever face.
Aside from that, it’s good for both small and large sites, so you never have to worry about getting too big for your boots.
Choosing A Theme That Works
Your theme plugs into your CMS and dictates the structure and overall design of your site.
Though there are countless themes to choose from, it’s important to choose a theme that meets the following criteria:
- Easy to navigate / find your way around
- Has a simple design
- Mobile friendly / responsive
- Lean code for good site speed
Getting To Grips With Theme Design Basics
In terms of how your site should look, you’ll want to focus on the following areas:
Your brand colors will contribute a lot to the overall feel of your site and it’ll be present in almost everything create going forward. You can find some nice color palettes using tools like brandcolors.net and color.adobe.com.
When you’re just starting out – and particularly if you’re on a budget – we recommend heading over to Fiverr.com and getting a logo done from $5 upwards. The quality isn’t outstanding, but it’s pretty decent and you can always upgrade it later.
Fonts can make a HUGE difference to the appearance and credibility of your site. We recommend using a different font for the headline as opposed to the body text. A good tool to help you with this is fontpair.co, which is a collection of fonts that compliment each other well.
Free Vs Paid Themes
When choosing a theme, you have the option of going the free route or splashing some cash and investing in a premium theme.
While we always recommend a premium theme for both functionality and security reasons, you can always start with a free theme and switch it out later.
- FreeSmart Magazine (free)
- Activellow (free)
- Thrive Themes (premium)
- Genesis (premium)
- Newspaper (premium)
The Face Of Your Site
Finally, you’ll want to consider who the persona, or face of your site will be.
Ideally, and in most cases, this should be you unless you’re not actually your target market. In that case, you would use a fake persona (or pen name).
Your persona should have a backstory that resonates with your target market without inventing any fake credentials or qualifications. Explain how your persona suffered the same problem they’re having, and how you found a solution.
This approach also makes it easier during outreach, as well as if you ever plan to sell your site, so keep that in mind.
For more information, check out our podcast episode on using fake personas.