A Little Goes a Long Way

A Little Goes a Long Way

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.

- Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh was a brilliant artist who created timeless works of art. So what does that have to do with websites? Well, heeding his message could allow you to turn yours into your very own masterpiece.

You know your website needs some help, but a complete redesign is not in the works. Maybe the timing isn’t right, maybe you don’t have the internal staff to support the project, maybe the budget isn’t available right now. That doesn’t mean you have to live with a lackluster, underperforming website. A few small things can make a big difference.

There are several updates you can make on your website to make it more attractive to your customer. Don’t underestimate the power of a website that is easy to use and understand. It’s good for your site visitors and it can boost your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Contact Us
It might be appealing to display your organization’s contact information a little differently. I mean, almost EVERYONE, uses ‘Contact Us’ in their main navigation, so it might seem like you are being creative if you call it something else, or place it in an unexpected place. And sure, you are being creative, but could it also be frustrating for your customer who just wants to get your email address and can’t find the usual ‘contact’ option? If you feel like you need to buck tradition and skip the Contact Us, just make sure the information people need is in an equally obvious location.

Calls to Action
What do you want people to do when they visit your site? Is it meant to strictly inform and allow users to request material? Do you want them to reach out to you by phone or email? Or do you want them to hit the ‘order now’ button? Maybe it’s a combination of things. Whatever the ultimate goal is, make it easy for your customer to do it. Don’t bury a link to your Quote Request Form at the bottom of your product detail page. If you really only need an email, don’t make potential customers provide their address, birthday, and favorite color. Make sure the path to the desired action is clear, upfront, and no more than a click or 2 away.

Breadcrumbs are simply navigation links that show the user the path they took to the page they are on, and often lets them easily click on a previous page without having to start back at the beginning. This is a very useful feature that is usually a snap to implement. Even if your sitemap is straightforward and concise, it’s a bonus for your user if you consistently let them know where they are and how they got there. Breadcrumbs are a good usability practice that also contributes a boost to your SEO. Why wouldn’t you use them?

Picture This
Whether you are selling product or simply providing information, chances are you are using images on your site. You might have the best message out there, but if it’s displayed next to a poor-quality or incorrectly sized photo, it might not be translating your message the way you intended. When it comes to your homepage or any of your high-traffic pages, you need to use photos that can be taken seriously. If you don’t have access to your own professional photographer, there are numerous discount stock photo sites that allow you to purchase quality images for just a few bucks. And even then, the best photograph can lose its luster if it isn’t cropped correctly or is placed in the wrong orientation. So secure the best images you can, and then use them to their best advantage according to the layout of your website. A picture really is worth a thousand words.

Those Thousand Words
So what about all of the content on your site? Does it change regularly or has it been the same since Day One? Even if your basic message isn’t changing, you need to give your customers a reason to come back to your site. Maybe it’s a section highlighting trade shows you will be attending. Or industry news headlines. Or just a different product highlighted on the homepage every week. Giving fresh content lets your audience know you are paying attention to your site, so they should, too. And as a bonus, search engines LOVE fresh, quality content.

SEO Best Practices
Search engine ranking is usually a top concern for any website owner. Even if you are not currently in a full-blown campaign, you can take small steps to give a little boost to your SEO cred.

Are you taking advantage of H1 tags (a headline format) on all of your pages? It’s just a style that you apply to the main headline on your page. Provides consistency and lets the search engines know you are taking things seriously.

What about your meta data? Make sure all of your pages have logical page titles and descriptions, which is what the search engines are looking for when they crawl your website. Many times your content management system will include the option to add this info, but if not, it is easy enough to add straight into the code by whoever maintains your website.

So if you aren’t in the market for recreating Starry Night but you still want to add some fresh paint to your site, keep in mind that many of these updates can easily be made in-house, via your website’s content management system. But if you don’t have one, or if you would like to discuss additional options for turning your site into a work of art, let us help.

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