Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Author: Doug McCann
Forthcoming Book: "So You're A Nice Guy and Want To Be In Business"
Ten Vital Suggestions For Your Business Web Site
It would be an exercise to overstate the importance and the significance of the Internet in our world today! If you've had your own web site for the last 15 years you probably have experienced and witnessed numerous changes not only in web design technology and practice but also the way in which end users (your present and potential clientele) make use of it. After having been in the web design and hosting business for over 10 years, I can attest to sweeping changes both in web design and end user interaction.
Fifteen years ago, it was enough to have a simple static page (more or less a brochure) on line. As the Internet grew in popularity web site owners found they needed to keep up with fresh and current content. Interactivity by the end user for on line shopping, information inquiries, video demonstrations and so on was growing. Web site owners found they needed more hands-on accessibility to change their own content and not have to wait for their webmaster when available. More and more web sites were being designed on a Content Management System (CMS) platform. This empowered the site owners to log in and make their own changes in their own time frame. Parallel to CMS application and in conjunction with it, Social Media became a useful and must-have tool to further promote the business of the web site. Operators could own and manage their own web site and embed Social Media directly into their pages. Operators could also run their own Social Media pages, like Facebook in addition or instead of a web site.
Although the technology and demand have changed, certain objectives and principles have remained strong and steady. I am referring to the attributes that help build customer trust, confidence and loyalty. Like various interpersonal skills, there are certain qualities which have always been in place and remain prerequisite to a successful on line existence or business!
So here are ten tips to consider for implementation in to your on line existence! I would suggest that they are not in any particular order of importance, but would emphasize they are all equally important. So lets get started!
Your landing or main/home page should be clear and concise as to who you are and what products or services are offered. If the page is too busy, or too convoluted, it is likely your message will be lost. One of your most challenging objectives is to prevent the end user from hitting the 'back' key. Consider too, that there is a sense of urgency in that the end user is likely to spend no more than 5 to 10 seconds on a page looking for your message, especially if he or she is actively searching for something, jumping from web site to web site!
Ensure your web site is designed and maintained for search engine optimization (SEO). Detailed description of SEO is beyond the scope of what this week's blog is about however I will cover this in the near future. For now, it is important enough and related to SEO to suggest some very easy methods to ensure you are on the right path. Google grew in popularity because the founders of the company realized it was important to return relevant search results to its users. Google wanted to ensure that if you were looking for information on vacuum cleaners you would not expect to be bombarded with page suggestions covering anything but such. Targeted traffic is all the rage with on line marketing. Your web site should have content relating to vacuum cleaners laid out in such a way that respective text content is found in headlines, the upper body of the page and in meta data (keywords). Content continues to be king and there are several ways to ensure your pages will have rich and identifiable content
Google also discovered ways in which your web site is regarded on line. Significant web traffic, inbound links from other respectable web sites and click-through ratios from Google's page suggestions all help to score points with your web site. More to come on this in the near future!
Content is king and content should always be fresh and changing. A reliable search engine like Google will take notice of changing content and craw your site more often to ensure it is able to return the most relevant results possible on your new content.
Nothing devalues your web site's credibility like spelling and grammar errors. Make sure your site is free from such.
Navigation through your web site must be clear and obvious. Continuity is a good word to use in describing how your web site traffic should flow. Tabs or text links should be obvious and consistently placed on each page. The end user has grown accustomed to looking for common links such as "Contact Us", "About Us", "Products & Services" and "Home".
Business oriented web sites should have a "Call to Action" somewhere prominent. While you have the visitor on your site, it is most important to engage your reader. Clicking on a tab to subscribe to a newsletter, or obtain a time-limited discount coupon are great ways to help ensure your visitor returns to your site.
Incorporate Social Media into your web site and marketing plans. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and others are popular with all demographics.
At one time it was good enough to design a web site that would look great and function properly in various browsers. Today end users are more likely to visit your web site using a portable device, such as an iPad, Smartphone or tablet. Today's sites much look and function in a most optimized fashion to be compatible across various desktop browsers, various devices, various operating systems and so on. The new terminology which is all the rage these days is "Responsive Design". More on this in a near future blog. This new technology comes in the latest off-the-shelf content management systems such as Joomla!
Some of the above tips such as the inclusion of SEO and Responsive Design have developed more so in the last five years to keep up with new and enhanced technology, but the spirit and basic principles of these tips do speak to what has always been important to the end user experience.
As always, I welcome your feedback! Thank you for taking the time to read this post!