We all know that majority of websites are avenues of information. Since the increasing availability and ease of having websites, a multitude of sites have popped from out of nowhere. Websites can be owned by an entrepreneur, a manufacturing corporation, an old lady who sells homemade cupcakes, a group of young musicians or a teenager full of angst and hate. No matter what kind of person the owner is, a website’s primary goal is to relay a message. Be it unimportant rants of a high-school student, or breaking news from the war front. Are you getting your message across via your website? Here are five tips that might help you make your website more effective and successful.
1. Good Design
Most people think of web design as fonts, colors, and big pictures. Well, it is, at one point. Design is, above all things, visual problem solving. If Leonardo Da Vinci was alive today and was commissioned to make your company’s website, he would probably create a masterpiece. But do you really think he would know where to put a user-friendly navigation menu, or the slideshow of products you are selling? I don’t think so. Good website design can be compared to a well-designed restaurant building – fire exits are well placed, menus are placed on easy-to-find stacks, condiments as well. Tables are laid out perfectly, not too tight, not too loose.
Websites work like this, in a way. This is why web designers are no different from architects or engineers. Get a web designer who knows where to put menus nicely and properly. Get a web designer who understands the problems visitors encounter like usability and readability. Web designers who talk about nothing except for colors, fonts and big pictures are usually the ones you should avoid.
2. Content Is King
The expression “content is king” has been used in the web design and development community since the beginning. There are some who argue that content is secondary only to design. You can have a website that’s all colorful, flashy, fit with all the bells and whistles, but does not have any good content for the visitor to absorb. The most you’ll get is a minute before your visitor realizes that your site does not have anything worthwhile.
Like I’ve said, websites’ primary goal is to relay a message. If you are selling products or services online, describe your wares, show valid testimonials, show credentials. Product samples can be viewed via video or audio samples. A picture of a product or family vacation with a good description or story behind it goes a long way.
3. Search Engine Optimization
I’m sure you’ve heard or read the term SEO a lot these days. What it basically does is it helps your website get searched by search engines like Google or Yahoo!
If your website sells a generic product or service like dental. And the city you live in has probably a hundred other dental clinics. How in the world would people find your business? This is where SEO comes in. Unfortunately, SEO is a process. It’s not an overnight fix. For it to work at optimal results, it usually takes a couple months. On-site and off-site SEO adjustments and optimizations are made. Link building, content optimization, keywording, and directory inclusions/submissions are just a few.
Since SEO has a lot of technical terms and stuff, make sure that you’re getting an SEO firm that explains everything to you. Good SEO firms produce reports of before and after scenarios. They ask questions and learn about your business. They assess your website’s content, analytics and statistics and then come up with an SEO campaign strategy for you to review. SEO companies that say they can get you on the #1 spot in the search results are probably just trying to rip you off.
4. Visitor Interaction and Social Media
Since the boom of the blogging and social media, website visitors have had the chance to comment and leave opinions. User interaction has helped a lot of websites. User interaction increases visitor returns. It creates buzz among peers and help attract new visitors. It provides feedback for the website administrators. Feedback helps the website grow and improve.
Provide user contact forms. Leave questions that draw user opinions. Ask users how you can improve the site for better usage? And the best thing is, human interaction is free.
5. Build Relationships with Visitors
Visitor interaction is one thing, but building a relationship with them is another. The web is a cheap and fast way to spread a message – good AND bad. If you get negative feedback, expect that it will spread faster than positive news.
Answer visitor questions. If they ask about your products or services, patiently explain the pros and cons. Be honest. Ignoring visitors usually leads to negative results.
Do you have other tips for creating a successful and effective website? Share it with us!