How to Build Your Own Successful Website By Reverse Engineering Successful Sites
Building your own successful website is not as difficult as you may think.
The factors that enabled a successful website to get lots of free search engine traffic and earn lots of money are almost completely transparent – you can see exactly what it takes to build your own website that works.
This article will show you how to analyze successful websites, learn from them and apply this knowledge to your online business.
Step 1: Find successful websites
How do you know which websites get a lot of traffic and earn good money?
a) Sitesell.com lists their most successful websites, and you can study the top 5 from each category on this page. These sites definitely get a lot of traffic.
b) Find sites with an Alexa ranking below 100,000. While Alexa doesn’t tell you exactly how many visitors a particular site receives, in my experience all sites with a ranking below 100,000 have very good traffic. Install Search Status if you use Firefox for a quick glance at the Alexa ranking.
c) Look for success stories. Google has their Adsense success stories page, and if these sites earn a lot of money, they definitely get a lot of traffic. You can also learn where to position Adsense ads since these sites all get very good CTR and eCPM.
Step 2: How many pages of content does the site have?
If you want to build your own website that gets a lot of traffic, let’s say over 1,000 hits per day, then how many pages do you need?
Go to Google.com and type: site:www.example.com.
Here are the top sites from 5 categories from the Sitesell.com results page, and the number of pages they each contain:
a) windows-vista-update.com, 2760 pages
b) topsexywomen.com, 1390 pages
c) debtsteps.com, 175 pages
d) cookingnook.com, 424 pages
e) 4x4offroads.com, 818 pages
Your first reaction might be: “How am I going to write so many web pages?”
The first thing to be clear on is that you won’t do it in 2 months, but if you write 3 pages each week, then your site will have over 150 pages in just one year.
Second, lots of pages can be written by your visitors through the clever use of Content 2.0 which SBI sites provide, or by getting comments on your blog which add to the length and word count of the page.
Step 3: How many incoming links do the websites have?
Quality, relevant links are the MOST IMPORTANT ranking factor in Google, slightly less so than in Yahoo and MSN. You can build your own website with 1,000 pages of great content, but without the right links your content will not exist in the search engine index.
You MUST get links to your site in order to rank well. So, how can you see how many links you have, and from where do these links come from?
Go to Yahoo.com and type: link:www.example.com
To see only external links (which are the key links), select Show Inlinks: Except from this domain and to Entire Site. (You’ll do that on the next page that comes up after you type in your query in the Yahoo search field.)
Let’s check the links of those 5 SBI sites we analyzed before:
a) windows-vista-update.com, 3999 links
b) topsexywomen.com, 4288 links
c) debtsteps.com, 1469 links
d) cookingnook.com, 1519 links
e) 4x4offroads.com, 4996 links
Yahoo Explorer also lists the websites and pages from which there are incoming links so that you can see the quality, page rank, Alexa and the relevance of each link that points to the website you’re analyzing.
Note that Yahoo Explorer also shows the number of pages indexed for the website that you are analyzing; you can compare it to the number of pages indexed in Google. This is explained in Step 2 (above).
Step 4: For which keywords are the site’s pages optimized?
Just building a website with good content and getting quality links is not enough to get traffic unless you have a massively popular website.
You need to target specific keywords which are searched often in search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN, and gradually work you way up in the search engine results page (SERP).
So, how can you determine which keyword a certain page is optimized for?
Most websites follow this SEO (search engine optimization) principle; they include the main keyword for which they want to optimize a certain page:
a) in the title
b) in the description
c) in the keywords meta tag
d) in the first sentence of the page
e) occasionally throughout the page
f) In links pointing to this page, and where the main keyword is used in the anchor text (i.e., link text)
How can you determine the meta tags of each page?
Right-click on the page you want to analyze and select “View Page Source”.
Let’s examine Thrandur’s page of 4×4 Trucks. At the top of the page, you’ll see meta data for the title, description and keywords.
The first keyword in the keywords meta field is 4×4 trucks, and it’s the keyword for which Thrandur optimized the page.
4×4 trucks is a keyword that is in much demand.
… and Thrandur ranks well in Google (at positions #11 and #12 in the Google search rankings at the moment of writing this article) which means he gets a nice amount of traffic for this keyword and its long tail keywords.
(A quick suggestion for Thrandur: optimize your homepage for the “4×4 Trucks” keyword by using it in the title! Also, if you point a few links to your homepage with this keyword – even internal ones will do –you’ll surely get higher rankings in Google for the 4×4 trucks searches.)
You can also run a quick WT query to see the main keywords from the 4×4 site concept:
Then, you can check which of those keywords Thrandur used, whether he chose to use them as T2 (main pages) or T3 (articles), and what other keywords he optimized his site for.
For example, one page is about Off Road Wheels which is, of course, very relevant to the 4×4 topic. This page ranks as #6 in Google at the moment of writing of this article.
How did Thrandur come up with this keyword?
Kwbrowse lists the relevant keywords to your main keyword, and you’ll see that “off road” is one of them.
In this fashion, you can reverse engineer what the person who built the site did to come up with the keywords that his site ranks high for.
Step 5: How to build your own website that looks great? Learn from others…
The “View Page Source” shows you the HTML of the page, and you can learn some very useful tricks. You can learn how to position pictures, videos, advertisements and so on.
Here’s an example: if you want to add a picture to your page and wrap the text around it, you will need some space between them so that it looks nice.
If you just add the picture with the <table … HTML tag, there won’t be any space between the picture and the text.
See, for example, how the picture on the right is too close to this text?
If I want to have some space between the text on the left and the picture on the right, I have to use a HTML trick to achieve that.
There are a few ways to do this and I used a simple table with an align tag in the example on the right to get some space between the picture and the text here.
Right-click on this page, select ‘View Page Source’ and see how I did this.
This is just one example of how you can learn from others, since websites are so transparent on the World Wide Web.
One important word of advice though: DO NOT COPY from other people. They’ve invested time, money and energy into their businesses, and you need to respect that and their copyright.
I suggest that you LEARN from their success, ADAPT to your needs and eventually build your own website that works!