I’m often asked about what makes a website successful and there’s no quick answer to that. In the seminars that I teach, I usually go page-by-page and offer tips for success, as well as general site-wide best practices.
Each industry will have specific “must haves” for their websites but I find that no matter the industry or site size, four key components must be present for the website to be effective.
Be search engine friendly
Your website needs to be search engine friendly, including through links, plugins, or keywords. Through search engine optimization or SEO, people find your website and people finding your website means they are more likely to buy.
Furthermore, you can link to other areas connected to your business and the website itself. For instance, if you have a business blog, you can provide an in-text link to that blog. The more fresh content you provide through pages (placed in menus) and blogs, the better your SEO.
Be intuitive to navigate
While this may seem an odd thing to say, you do not want to force your readers to think. You want your website to inspire them to action, not induce confusion. Having a cluttered, complicated website is distracting for people. How you place your pages, social media icons and other information should be familiar to the average user.
When planning your site, use menus with subpages. Your site should usually have no more than 5-7 “parent” or main pages. If you need more than that, consider having more than one menu with the various menus in distinct locations.
For example, if your site’s main goal is to have people purchase items, that would be your main menu at the top. You can have client portals, employment information or other non-customer information in a separate menu in a sidebar or in the footer.
Another tip is to add the search feature in the top right of the website. Also, if you have social media, add the icons at the top, close to the website header.
Be clear with its call to action
What do you want readers to do after they look at your website? All the information on your website is great, but ultimately, it is about what you want them to do about it. You need to think beyond the “hire us” message when planning your calls to action.
When making your website, try to make sure that every page and blog have a distinct call to action with a link. The call to action should also be in the side columns of your website. These could potentially include call us, connect to us, or download something.
Be clear in how you can solve the visitor’s problem
Your website should be the reader’s clear solution to their problem. Tell them and show them how you can help them and therefore are the best choice. Capture their attention with interesting words but don’t sacrifice clarity in an attempt to sound clever or edgy.
Be cautious when using industry lingo on your website. People may not be as up-to-date with the lingo, so it should be your job to help them understand what you are talking about. This is also a great opportunity to incorporate pictures, especially if you’re talking about a product that people will be looking for but may not know the correct term.
Are you unsure of your business’ website? Are you creating a new website? If you want to make sure that it is conveying the right message, contact me today!