10 things to help improve your website


10 (short) Steps To Website Success

While Attracting visitors to your website might seem to pose enough problems of its own, that's really only the HALF of it. Once people are actually on your website, you need to keep them engaged. You also want to give them plenty of reasons to plan future visits with a view to upgrading them from visitor status to that of A VALUED CUSTOMER. Unfortunately there aren't any magic spells for creating great websites which people will want to visit again and again. There are a number of things you can do to make it more likely though.

1) Make sure it works on ANY device

"In 2018, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones, up from 50.3 percent in the previous year. Mobile currently accounts for half of all global web pages served" (souce: STATISTA.COM)So clearly your website MUST display beautifully on smaller screens like mobile phones and tablets.

2) Make sure your website loads quickly

Mobile Broadband, WiFi and Cabled Broadband speeds get faster and faster all the time, but no matter how fast a visitor's connection may be, nowadays there's a lot more content, data, images to download too. Mobile visitors experience slower speeds all around, so if you plan on getting a lot of smartphone (and tablet) traffic you must take this point into consideration. People have less patience these days. So always make sure your website loads quickly and presents them what they want to see and sharpish. Faster speeds also improve your overall Google ranking. Good quality hosting always helps.

3) Help new customers to find you

Think about developing some kind of SEO strategy Consider the search terms your audience might use to find you. Include content that's relevant: how-to videos, blog articles, e-books... Purchase a domain name which either describes your business clearly or is your actual company or brand name. Consider buying multiple domains which all point to you website. Think about setting up independent landing pages to promote individual services or products.

4) Use a straightforward navigation

Always make sure your navigation is very clear, intuitive, and "oh-so simple" to use. Stick to navigation styles people have come to expect. This involves ensuring your menu links are obvious and easily identifiable (towards the top of the page is best) and that every link works correctly, enabling the user can move around your site without having to think too hard about the process involved. If your visitors experience trouble getting around they'll soon get fed up with it, hit the dreaded BACK BUTTON then just fade away... Steve Krug wrote an excellent book about this called Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (Voices That Matter) You should check it out!

5) Use strong consistent branding

Always project the RIGHT image. Position your logo and core message in the top left hand corner. It's the part of the screen to which our eyes are most naturally drawn. Choice of color is also absolutely crucial on most websites, as different colors have different meanings to different kinds of people. Using the wrong color scheme in any given context can sometimes turn potential customers away. What can you do? Research color theory on the web. Ask a specialist. Constantly be aware of what the color choices you use on your website are saying to your visitors.

6) Always use good quality imagery

If a full-on corporate photo or video shoot (or hiring an illustrator) is completely out of the question you can always purchase good quality photography / graphics / video from a stock library instead.Make sure the images match what your content is explaining. A little humor goes a long way. NEVER use images found on FREE (!) stock libraries. Everyone hits them all the time. You see the same picture being used over and over again. Yawn!

7) Use conversational English

Picture your favorite aunt when composing website copy. As strange as it may sound, it's often said that you should imagine someone like this when you're writing copy for your website. Meaning you compose your text as if you're speaking directly to someone like this. Keep it really simple. Explain things clearly. Don't bombard her with jargon only you and your technical team can really understand. Use the far more engaging Second Person like "you" and "we." Abbreviations and contractions are OK. A friendly, familiar tone always sounds better than robotic corporate-speak.

8) Calls-to-Action (CTA)

CTAs are elements used to indicate the next action a user should takeConfused? Once again, don't make your visitors think too hard. Tell them what you would like them to do next. Ask yourself, "What do I want my visitors to do after they've landed on my website?" It really depends on the purpose of your site. Sample answers might be: arrange an appointment with me, check my visiting hours, find my store's location, download a price list, subscribe to anewsletter and so on. Every page on your website should encourage the reader to do something - call, order a service, buy something. Make it as obvious as you can.

9) Don't forget your contact info

Make it VERY easy for people to get in touch with you. You'd be surprised how many websites don't display correct contact info on every page. And it's so important! If someone cannot easily contact you from a site, they simply won't! Which defeats the purpose of owning a website at all! It also goes without saying that if a visitor goes to the trouble of contacting you with an enquiry you must follow up on it immediately.

10) Seek out professional advice

Your website is normally the very first glimpse a potential new customer will get. First impressions last forever. So if you're not sure about anything, asking a professional to help can actually save you time and money. Freeing you up to focus on managing your business instead. It might mean the difference between you getting that client or not.

Wrapping Up

Web design strategy and promotion is an ongoing endeavorGone are the days when a person could just publish a website then just sit back, relax and wait for the phone to ring. Even if those days ever existed at all! Key things to remember are helping to make the site as easy to use (on any device) and as user-friendly as possible. It should also load super-quickly and provide your visitors with exactly what they want. And always within a couple of quick clicks.

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