Your business needs a website, you know that, but what makes a great website or more to the point, a successful website?
The list of key elements for a successful website keeps evolving as technology, design and Google algorithms change. Right now, these are the “must haves”, the essential ingredients, in terms of design and functionality, for a successful website.
1. What’s your purpose – have a clear strong message:
Know your purpose and communicate this. Make it clear upfront, preferably on your home page, who you are and what you do.
2. Make your site easy to navigate:
Organize your website information in a simple and structured way. For example:
Limit your main menu items and organise your information into sub-pages.
Think of the general path you would like a site visitor to take and lead them there with promo boxes.
Make your contact details easy to find.
3. Include high quality content:
Your content should be high quality – but what is high quality content? It is content that your users want to read and search engines love too. It is content that is original and purposeful and ranks well.
IMAGES AND VIDEO: Content (and blog posts) with images & videos are more engaging for visitors. Web pages with more images rank better!
READERS SCAN WEB PAGES: According to Nielsen – 79% of users scan web pages – so your content should be scannable! Use clear headings and bullet points or number lists to make your content easy to skim, keep sentences and paragraphs short, use bold and italics to highlight important elements.
4. Establish your credibility & expertise:
Include testimonials, reviews, client lists, work portfolios and case studies – these all establish your credibility and expertise.
5. Include a blog:
Blogging can do the following:
Help position you as an industry leader – when you post subjects which resonate with your audience and show your knowledge, you are marketing your skills for your business, service or products too.
Drive traffic to your website – use keywords in your articles. Create a list of the keywords, topics and categories you want your business to be found for and use these words and related phrases when writing your posts.
Use your other social media channels to promote your blogs – pushing more traffic to your site.
Blogging also helps your ranking – Google loves fresh content.
6. Don’t underestimate good design:
A professional, well-designed site is important, after all your website is often a potential customer’s first impression of your business. So make it count! A good colour palette, good use of white space, clean design, and good font choice all are important in reflecting your business and brand.
7. Be found by google – SEO:
There is no point in having a site if it can’t be found – so your site needs to be optimised (search engine optimisation). Target keywords that are relevant to your business in your page titles, meta tags, headings and in your website’s content so that your potential customers can find your business online. Work on good quality (relevant and respected) backlinks i.e. getting other sites to link to your site.
8. Mobile friendly responsive design:
In this day and age your website will be viewed on multiple devices with multiple screen sizes, so it needs to mobile friendly. The best way to do this is with responsive design. Having a website with responsive design means your website automatically adjusts its content to suit different screen widths for the best viewer experience.
9. Include social media:
Have your social media buttons present on all pages and also include social media sharing buttons – for example on your blog posts – to encourage people to share your content.
10. Encourage site visitors to leave their details:
A successful website encourages site users to leave their contact details. If you have their contact details – you can start a relationship with them, build trust and build a database of contacts. The best way to do this is to have an enticing offer for which the site visitor needs to OPT IN to receive. There begins the relationship.
11. A hosting company which looks after your site security:
And finally – whilst you cannot ever guarantee your business website won’t be hacked, there are things you can do to minimise the chance of hacking. Having appropriate security plugins installed, constantly monitoring and updating all plugins and your WordPress core plus making sure your hosting company keeps backups or your site, are all essentials of good website security.