Consumers expect businesses to have up-to-date and easy-to-navigate websites. It is simply a given.
Websites are the online face of all brands. It creates a first and lasting impression of a business. It serves as a critical opportunity to inspire consumers and decision-makers to consider what you have to offer, express interest, make a purchase, and recommend your brand to others.
Whether building a site from scratch or refreshing an existing site, here are six best practices to follow.
1. Be One with Your Brand
Clear and consistent branding builds recognition, credibility and trust. Your website should express your brand through and through – from your URL to your color palette to imagery to messaging.
Your online brand should also be in sync with your offline brand to convey a single, cohesive brand.
2. State Your Value
Make sure your site articulates your value proposition – why your brand is better than the rest. Strong value propositions communicate three things: relevancy, unique differentiation and value.
- Relevancy – Explain how your product can solve the customer’s problems and improve their situation
- Unique Differentiation – Tell visitors why they should do business with you rather than competitors
- Value – Make it clear to your visitor why your product/brand is better
3. Design for the Small Screen
According to StatsCounter, mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic back in October of 2016. And the number of mobile internet users continues to grow.
Websites must be mobile-friendly to be competitive in today’s market. Period.
4. Help Users Find Their Way
If a visitor can’t intuitively understand how to navigate your website, they aren’t going to stick around long to figure it out. Users will simply bounce out of your site and never return.
Make it a priority to have an organized navigation bar on every page of your site. Make it easy for them to move back and forth between site content and pages. Include a search feature to help users find exactly what they are looking for using keywords.
5. Guide Users to Action
It’s important to have goals and objectives in mind when creating websites. Strategically incorporating calls-to-action (CTA) aligned with each goal and objective is key to directing visitors to act.
Once you know what you want your visitors to do, emphasize corresponding CTAs throughout your site. Examples include “Sign up,” “Book appointment,” “Register now,” or “Contact us.”
6. Bring on the SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) consists of practices to improve and maintain a website’s level of visibility in search engine rankings.
Three major factors can make or break SEO:
- Keywords – Keywords are the foundation for effective SEO. Skilled keyword research and properly applying keywords in page URLs, headlines, subheads and content is key. Keywords can be single words (generic), short phrases (broad match) or long phrases (long tail).
- Content – Your website’s content should be easy to read and valuable to your audience. Spelling and grammar are also incredibly important. Poor spelling and grammar not only annoys visitors, but also makes your site look questionable to search engines.
- Links – Links are currency in the world of SEO. Search engines scan web pages for what they link to (backlinks). By linking to quality sites and content, and generating content others want to link to, you can improve search engine visibility and gain referral traffic.
Note: SEO is not a once-and-done effort. Search engine algorithms constantly change and an ongoing SEO program is required to keep up.
Ready to tackle the development of a new website or upgrade an existing site? Need help devising and implementing an SEO plan? Is it time to refresh your site’s content and messaging? Let’s talk.