Get the Most from Your WebSite

Business Insights

In just a few short years we’ve reached a point where it’s rare for a business of any size to be without a website.

In fact it’s pretty much commercial suicide not to have a virtual shop window on the world.

But, like any actual shop window, careful thought needs to be put into the content and display of the digital equivalent. It needs to be easily found, well presented, ordered, friendly and welcoming.

In seconds a website can give visitors a lasting impression of the business it’s representing and so you need to ensure they get the right one.

It’s worth asking what the site’s goals are as it this will help to shape its design and build as well as let you measure how it’s achieving them. Think abut whether it’s to increase newsletter subscriptions, boost sales leads and bookings, make sales or perhaps its all of these.

Make the site simple to use, easy to follow and engages visitors right from the start. You can do this through:

  • Intuitive and consistent navigation - they won’t all arrive through the home page.
  • Web-frendly writing - small amounts of clear and precise detail with plenty of white space to break up content. People don’t read in the same way as print and great slabs of copy are a no-no.
  • Information placement - research has shown the eyes of English speakers tend to go mainly to the top left, so put all the important stuff here.
  • Easy hyperlink recognition. Make it stand out from the other text.
  • Readable text - don’t obscure it with background stuff and use a suitable font size.

Keeping everything fresh and engaging is critical - people notice if nothing has been added or changed in the last couple of months. Regular blogs, videos and photos (quality images only and web optismised) and updated information will keep people coming back.

Don’t forget mobiles either. Smartphones and tablets are the prime internet entry points nowadays and it pays to make sure your site works well in these devices. You can, of course, invest in mobile friendly apps or a separate mobile site build, but if you ensure you have a responsive website designed to fit any browser no matter the size, you can save on this.

Once everything is up and running don’t just forget about it. Websites are an invaluable source of data relating to sales, customer habits, behaviours and locations which you can use to better target, not just the site itself, but your business and sales.

There are many versions of analytical software of varying degrees of complexity out there but few won’t have heard of Google Analytics. This powerful and free tool can drill down to all kinds of detail, such as how long visitors are on your site, which bit of it they’re reading and on what browser or device.

Even if you can have the most easily read, fantastically user-friendly, up-to-date website there is, it won’t be much use if the internet doesn’t realise it’s there. You want to make sure that it can be found, not only by people who are looking for you, but by the people who don’t know they’re looking for you and when they do, will be jolly glad they have.

Here is where the search engine optimisation (SEO) process comes in to play, a measurable, repeatable procedure by which signals are sent to search engines indicating that your pages are worth showing in their indexes.

And that involves using keywords, the critical use of which are critical to your placing in those rankings.

It shouldn’t be too difficult to choose your keywords, they will tend to suggest themselves if they are reflecting the page’s theme and intent and will form a natural part of the text.

However, search engines do tend to focus upon a site’s first 200 words so make sure several choice ones are used near the top before being spaced proportionally through the pages.

Other critical keywords spots include headings, within anchor text (the clickable bit in a link) and image alt text (the words displayed if an image can’t be seen) attributes and in Meta Tags - the snippet describing the page’s content.

Don’t get carried away though. Search engines don’t like keywords to be overused and you may end up being penalised or perceived as spam.

Above all don’t be daunted by the wealth of technical knowhow required to develop a successful webpage, there are many companies bursting to share SEO and design expertise with you.

They’ll pop up in the results of your internet search.

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