Today, creating a successful website is a skill in its own right. Not only do you need a great graphic design, you also have to consider usability, speed, mobile-friendliness, optimization, analytics, functionality...the list goes on and on. But at its core, a website serves a purpose for an audience. The purpose may vary, as will the audience, but the ultimate goal remains the same. Provide that audience with a successful online experience. And sometimes it’s easy to overlook some of the most basic requirements needed to do that.
Talk to your Audience.
Who do you want to visit your site? Whoever that is, you need to know them. Understand why they are coming to your site and then provide them with that in the appropriate manner. Are they students or senior citizens? Are they tech-savvy or still using a flip-phone? Will they be coming to your site familiar with what you do or will you be their introduction? Don’t alienate them from the homepage with an award-winning design that’s not a winner for your audience. Instead, make sure they feel welcome and eager to delve deeper into your site. It’s important for you to like your site, of course, but more important for your customers to like it.
Okay, so you’re probably not going to outright lie to your customers on purpose. But sometimes a marketing effort can go awry if your audience feels like you’re trying to pull the wool over their eyes. There’s a fine line between tooting your own horn and being blatantly arrogant. Promote your accomplishments and the things you do well, but don’t overstate your case. Display your products but either use your own images or find some that are realistic. And don’t make promises you can’t keep. Honesty really is the best policy.
Tell your Story.
Content Marketing is important. Keywords are important. Text optimized for search engines is important. But the most important purpose of the content of your site is to provide your site visitors with information. So while yes, you should do what you can to make sure your content is search engine friendly, you also want it to be interesting and readable.
Use your Analytics.
Assuming you’ve done all of the above and launched your site, you now have one important step left to do: Don’t sit back and relax. Analytics are meant to be used, so use them! If the numbers indicate people are leaving your site too quickly, or never making it past the homepage, pay attention! And don’t be overwhelmed, if you’d rather not deal with statistics like this (or just aren’t comfortable doing it), hire a professional who can decipher the information and help you take the right next-steps.
Websites are not a ‘one and done’ deal. You can’t launch a site and expect an overnight improvement in sales or calls. Your site will constantly be evolving and growing and changing and that’s normal. Just when you think you have it ‘perfect’, you’ll find something else you want to add or change or improve. But that’s what will help you keep your site interesting and effective, and your audience will appreciate it.