Design a website that gets the love…
There are several things to consider when designing a website. A big misconception is that you can quickly put your website together and move on with your business. That’s okay, if that is what you want to do, however, with the number of free tools available to attract the clients you want, why would you do that? It is important to remember that a strong foundation goes into building a good website and it does involve doing your research first. A great deal of homework goes into this process before you hit the starting line and in your haste to have it available immediately, you may miss some crucial pieces that will affect the long-term health and standing of your website.
Here are some points to take into consideration…
- Before starting your website, decide what your goals are. Do you want to create brand awareness or sell a product / service? Is your main objective to be informative? Once you know your main objective and perhaps a few other goals, you can then decide how you will incorporate them into your website in a simple, clean, strategic design. Now the design process begins by writing any words, phrases that you associate with your business. Which brings me to the next point…
- It is hard to see your business from any other stand point than your own. That’s why it is essential to find out how people would normally look for your type of product or service. You may think you know what people look for because, well, it just seems logical that they would use the industry name with perfect spelling. That typically isn’t how it works though and a lot of the time people are using terms and phrases that you would never think of. There could also be terms that have a double meaning that can confuse things even further. The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to dive deep into researching keywords with Google Trends before writing anything. This is where things typically get interesting! There are also long-tail keyword searches that involve more than one word, that are commonly used. You need to decide which keywords you want to rank well for, and integrate them into your copy and metadata of your website. This brings me to my next point.
- Once you have your keywords in mind, take a look at the keywords your competitors are using as well. There are ways to do this and yes, there is an app for that. They range wildly in price and some are better than others, but most will get the job done. Once you know what keywords your competitors are using, you can compare them to Google and Bing. Decide whether there is a keyword they are not leveraging and go for it. You cannot come up first with every search someone does in the search engine for your industry but do make sure you are positioning yourself to come up with the most relevant searches for your business goals.
- Have a location in mind. Do not try to cover as many locations as you possibly can because you will be spreading yourself too thin. If you work from home, and do not have a storefront, this is especially relevant to you. Choose your area and make it consistent throughout all social media related to your business. You can list other areas in which you are able to work, but when it comes to submitting your address, always stick to the same town or city.
- Get some link juice! Links to your site can make it or break it. Make sure you monitor your website through Google Webmaster to have access to a wealth of tools that will let you know who is linking to your website. Low quality links from bad websites can drag your search engine ranking down, so watch out for those. Alternatively, high quality links, such as links from your Chamber of Commerce or links from educational institutions can bring your standing up. Search engines assess the quality of content of websites linking to you, so government and educational links carry the most juice to bring your website up through the rankings. Also, avoid cross linking whenever possible. This happens when you link to a website and they link back to you. Google will view that with a suspicious eye and your rankings will suffer accordingly.
- Always consider search engine optimization and page ranking. If you are using WordPress, be sure to get a good plugin. There are some really good ones out there. I personally like “Yoast SEO” and “All In One SEO”. They are both fantastic and give you the code you need to display your posts beautifully on many social media platforms.
- After considering what you want to achieve, create a call of action that is inline with your marketing strategy. This could include an email newsletter sign-up, blog display, or services outlined. Do not overdo the call to action or you will be more likely to create a messy design and cause confusion.
- Create a website with some visual appeal but do not overdo it. Too many graphics and colours can make someone dizzy and your point may be lost. Stick to a clean design and make it easy for people to see how to navigate through your website. When creating your menu, keep the content one to two clicks away, otherwise it is buried so deep that your search engine standing will suffer.
- Make sure your company name, phone number, services and testimonials are easily available. Main complaints about websites typically centre around not being able to access this crucial information easily.
- Connect with Google Analytics and Google/Bing Webmaster. They are your first line of defence when something goes wrong and you can optimize your website by using these tools. You can find out a number of factors using each of these methods and, best of all, they are free. Find out where people visiting your website are coming from, how long they are on your website and what page they typically leave on with Google Analytics. Optimize your website with Google Webmaster and find out whether you are mobile responsive, or if there are any issues on your website that need to be fixed for Google to crawl it effectively.
- Stay away from pop-ups. Studies show that this tops the list of what annoys users the most when it comes to websites. If you do use them, use them sparingly and ensure that they don’t freeze the screen and ruin the user experience. Something small in the corner will go over much better than interrupting their experience by having a form pop-up on the screen while they are reading your content.
You know your business better than anyone. It is important though to consider some design and content strategies to give yourself the advantage you deserve. Now, go design!