Whether you’re building your website anew or it’s your first digital foray, there are some common pitfalls – and some simple rules. Tape these five words to the side of your monitor, crack the Mountain Dew and build something awesome!
Your website isn’t just an online business card. It’s your digital face, the first expression of your business many of your customers will see. Just like you wouldn’t get dressed in a hurry for an important job interview, you shouldn’t put a website together in a rush and then use it to ask people to be your customers. Friends and family will offer to help; politely decline and hire someone you can have a real business relationship with. Remember the words of Steve Jobs: ‘It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.’ (Source: Wikiquote.)Your website exists to get you customers. That’s a vital business function worthy of serious investment, of thought as well as time, effort and cash.
The web is mobile and getting more so. Build a website that looks great, but only on desktops, and you’re building the world of yesterday, tomorrow. Try using a mobile-first attitude: build a site that looks great on a smartphone, then modify it for desktop and tablet. Remember it has to be useable as well as pretty!
The vast majority of most websites’ traffic comes from search. Big name sites score high direct traffic – people just typing their URL into the bar – but even Facebook gets more traffic from search than from social; Hubspot gets nearly 8 times more traffic from search than from email. (Source: Similarweb.com.) Make yourself findable: SEO is a must. Again, hire a professional, someone who doesn’t look bemused when you mention h1 tags and doesn’t think that SEO is dead – or that it consists of stuffing your site with unreadable copy crammed with keywords. Modern SEO is about telling search engines who you are so they can send you your customers. It’s obligatory.
Content is what all this web architecture is actually for. When people come to your site, content is what they want to find: not reams of it, but thoughtful content that ‘adds value’ – that actually helps them with the problem that brought them to you. Figure out what your customers need to know and find a way to offer it to them. Blogging can be an exceptional way to increase website traffic but it’s more appropriate to some niches than others and outdated blog posts make your site look old and worn-out.
Don’t put chrome on it. There’s a Chinese saying: painting legs on the sna
ke. Don’t add clutter. Think of your website as a path that ends in a conversion – a sale, a call, whatever the next step needs to be to get more customers. Make that path broad and inviting, and resist the temptation to furnish it with clutter. Remember Google will penalize you for slow load times, and most people will click away from a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load on desktop. (Sources: Moz.com, LinkedIn Pulse.)
If your website is fast and clean, with great content, well-built, mobile-friendly and search-optimized, you’ll attract more customers and you’ll see the benefit in your bottom line.