By Andy Woodruff
However, you may find a couple of months after launch that your online presence is not working as well as you had expected, and be wondering what to do. Following are a few pointers as to what makes for a good website.
Our number one piece of advice is to take the time to learn about and use the analytics package that tells you all about how people are finding your website and interacting with it.
Content is king!
The first and foremost thing that you should do is to make sure that all the content on the website is relevant to your business, is well organised and easy to find by the search engines who assess a website using this as one of its primary measurements.
1. The content should not repeat itself by having exactly the same copy in more than one place on your website. Not only readers are put off by repetitive content but your website could end up being penalised by Google for having duplicated content.
2. Old articles or blog entries recycled as new can also put off new readers who are genuinely interested in your content and click back through pages to read your older articles, only to find them similar. This shows a lack of creativity and effort on your part, which may come off as insincere to the reader and could even affect the image of your business.
3. How credible are your articles? Are they well researched and ably written? You should provide proper bylines to the writers as it helps in building trust with your readers. People connect well with articles when then know more about the author. Encourage reader feedback to the writer through email or comments.
4. Check your content for accuracy. It should not contain copy errors such as spelling mistakes or punctuations. Make sure there is a named Web Editor or Copy Editor in charge who will look after this along with general posting of the articles. News related websites often employ Sub-Editors for this role.
5. Don’t write articles that evidently lean towards profit for your business. Readers can see through this façade and will not trust your content if it is so blatantly biased. Write content that is well-balanced and objective in nature. Give credit where it is due.
6. The topics you write about for your website are important. Make sure they are picked on the basis of the interest of your readers, something they would like reading about on your website. Websites which pick content based on SEO terms should be wary of new search engine algorithms that are soon to come into play as they will give the user a chance to block a website if they are disappointed by the search query result.
Understanding the customer journey
This exercice will give you some new insights into the design and ease of use of the website.
1. Be certain that the design of your website appeals to your particular target audience. Use colour styles that cater to the taste of your readers and not yours. If you are in doubt, look at your competitor’s websites for an idea.
2. Use fonts that are easily readable and don’t clash with the colours. Also, use universal web fonts that work across all devices.
3. The website should have all the links easily accessible to the user and should be friendly to navigate.
4. Even though some industries expect a website to be similar to its competitors, you should make enough effort for it to look different. This adds to the appeal of the website and reinforces the work you do as something memorable.
Be aware of new trends
Technology you use to develop the website and hold the content in place is also important.
1. Always look for emerging trends in technology and keep your website up to date. For example, recently Adobe has announced the end for Flash, so websites are now being based on HTML5 and Java Script. If your website still uses Flash, chances are your readers won’t be able to read it on newer devices such as Tablets and Phones with a newer version of Android software (4.1) .
2. You should also make sure that the website layout is designed to suit the needs of your readers. Are they browsing on PCs or MACs, Phones or Tablets? Two emerging trends in website design are Responsive & Adaptive. Have a look at the Google analytics data which will tell you the balance of pc to mobile devices – this can be enlightening.
3. Use technology that complements the purpose of your site and doesn’t put off the readers. Don’t use technology that is not popular with the readers. For example, providing option to sign in with Google+ Account but not Facebook will be a bad choice.
4. If you are using the website to receive any payments, make sure there are properly recognised secure transaction channels in place. Not only does it make the transactions much simpler, but also allows the user to trust you better.
Remember, your website creates the first impression of you and your business. It needs to be both professional and friendly in the same way that you would greet someone face to face for the first time. You won’t want to act sleepy or sluggish when meeting an important client, will you? So why should your website?
About the author
Andy Woodruff works at Webvideos. Based in London, Webvideos ltd is an online marketing company providing a full range of internet services, from creative websites, to internet marketing solutions, custom-made web videos and deep technical implementation. All under one roof.