You probably already know that you need a solid website to support your business. What you might not be certain about is what makes a successful website. The following aims to remedy that by exploring the things businesses should know about building a website. The information included will be especially directed at smaller or newer businesses, but much of it applies to bigger businesses and those looking to rebrand.
A Good Domain Name
You want a short, snappy domain name that ends in .com; ideally, you want: yourbusinessname.com. This makes your website easy to find for those who already know about your services. Avoid dashes, underscores, and numbers.
Your website needs to load fast and be easy to navigate. If it is not, none of the other stuff matters. Slow-loading pages are quickly abandoned by visitors (40% of people will leave a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load), and if they can’t get the information they need, people will simply move on to one of your competitors.
Use a free online website speed tester to see how your site is faring. You want your site to load in less than one second. You might need to implement your own content delivery network (CDN), use adaptive images, use browser cashing, reevaluate your plugins, combine images into CSS sprites, enable HTTP keep-alive response headers or compress your content. Maybe you’ll need to do more than one of these things. Reach out to a professional or watch some online tutorials if you need help.
Make sure all your links work and that everything is visible and accessible from every page. You want a header at the top that gives viewers all the options they could want no matter what page they’re on. If people get lost on your site, they get frustrated.
Copywriting refers to the text on your website, and it isn’t something that everyone can do. What makes for good copywriting tends to get beat out of us in school and post-secondary educational institutions where an academic voice is preferred. It turns out that a conversational tone and an awareness of the psychological processes involved in decision-making are what make for good copywriting, not terms like thus and therefore. If no one on your team has this skill or the time to read a few books on the subject, hire a copywriter. Copywriting can mean the difference between a polished site and one that seems amateurish.
Organic Traffic Strategies
Having a website is only half the battle. You also want people discovering that website, ideally people who are searching for services exactly like yours. There are two main pathways to increasing your odds of organic traffic, and both have to do with content. The first is to optimize your content for search engines; this involves spending time selecting your keywords (especially long-tail keywords) and naturally including them in your content (keyword stuffing is often penalized). The second involves creating content that will be posted on sites that aren’t yours with a link to your site; this increases the number of backlinks your page has, and search engines consider the number of backlinks and the quality of those links when they determine where your website ranks. Backlinking is described in detail at grizzlymarketing.com/best-link-building-agency. Both strategies are needed to stay competitive in the over-saturated market that is the internet. You get bonus points if you include your keywords as the anchor text that links to your site, as search engines consider this when they determine which search results you show up in.
Not everyone uses the internet in the same way. Some people can’t hear well; others can’t see well and use voice directions to interact with the internet. Make sure your content is accessible in lots of different formats to help everyone feel welcome on your page.
Get Your Security In Order
Cybercrime is exploding. If you collect customer data (even by simply allowing them to make purchases on your site or enter their email address to comment on your content), or if you collect any employee data on your website, you have a responsibility to protect that data. Do your due diligence and make sure you know what is being collected (your hosting platform might be collecting additional info) and how it’s being used.
The above information should help you get your website into top shape. Once these criteria are met, you can turn your attention to the aesthetics. Again, if you’re not graphically inclined, read some books or hire someone who is before you make design choices.