Perhaps you have an existing website that seems to be going nowhere. Maybe you have a brand new site, that you want to make sure will perform as well as possible, outdoing your competitors. Whatever your personal situation, there are some features common to all successful websites. To succeed, you need to ensure that there are no things that your website is missing.
If you follow the following seven steps, you will be well on the way towards having a successful, well-performing website.
1. Good Site Content That Solves Your Visitors’ Problems and is SEO Friendly
There is a common saying that “content is king”. When it comes to the internet, that is entirely accurate. You live, and you die, online being judged by the quality of the content that you present visitors.
There has to be a reason for people to come to your site. They are not just going to magically appear to see what you are offering. Even if you gain traffic thanks to a substantial advertising campaign, you will lose your visitors quickly if they do not find something of interest that meets some problem or interest they have. Remember your content must meet the needs of your visitors. You need to write about what they want to read – not what you are interested in!
You also need to ensure that your content is SEO- friendly. This means that you write it in a Search Engine Optimised way. While SEO is worth multiple articles in itself, a brief overview is that each article you write needs to focus on particular keywords (i.e. terms that searchers will find in a search engine). You need to include that phrase in your main heading, and a number of times (naturally, not forced) within your article itself. For instance, the key term for this article is “Your Website is Missing”. Note that I have included that phrase in the main heading. It also appears in the first paragraph, this paragraph and again in the concluding one. If possible, the term should also be written in the “alt tag” for any pictures used and in the actual web page address itself.
2. A Clear Call to Action (CTA)
Every time you write a piece of content for your site, you want the reader to do something. It might be to sign up for your newsletter. It might be for them to purchase a product and go to your online checkout. It might be for them to share the article on Facebook.
Readers will not know your intention unless you tell them. This is why you have a Call to Action. It is literally a call to your readers to take a particular action. Your CTA might be a brightly coloured button on the page for the reader to click. It might be a link to another page. It might simply be a statement in your post.
Now drop down to the next paragraph to read it – yes that is a simple Call to Action statement.
3. Contact Information
In many cases, your readers will want to contact you for further information. It might be so that they can purchase your product. It might be so that they can ask questions. It might be so that they can find your physical address so that they can visit you in-store. Whatever the reason it will be highly frustrating for people if they cannot find some easy way to contact you on the website.
4. Social Media Integration
One of the most common ways that people will find your work is because other readers will share articles, videos, images and other items from your site with them via their social media networks. You want to make it easy for them to share your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and any other social networks that you believe your visitors use. In most cases, it is easy enough to add a plugin to your site that makes social media sharing very easy.
5. A Mobile-Friendly Design
If you are someone who has already had a website designed and created here, you can bypass this paragraph. All of our websites are mobile-friendly. Nowadays you need to be. Nearly half of all website visitors look at sites using mobile devices, in some sectors considerably more.
If your site does not scale properly on mobile devices, you have an urgent problem to solve. Not only are you turning away potential visitors, you are also being penalised in Google. Recent changes to Google mean that they now operate two algorithms, and your non-mobile friendly website will not even be served up in Google for mobile users.
6. Testimonials from Past Customers / Clients
If you use your website for business purposes, you need to build up trust with the people who arrive at your site. There are millions of websites out there, so you need to give people a reason to choose to use your business. While good content will always be the main reason to gain people if they are thinking about paying money, there are other things you can do to build their trust.
Showing genuine testimonials from past customers who have been happy with your products and service will help immeasurably. Just make sure that any testimonials you use are authentic – cynical browsers are all too used to false testimonials, obviously performed by actors.
7. About Us
You may be surprised to know that the About page of a website is usually the second most read page, only beaten by the Home page. People want to know about the people behind the website. Never underestimate this page’s importance. Ideally, a business About page should explain about the business and highlight the key people within it. In the case of a personal website, you need to write about yourself. It is up to you, though, how much personal information you are comfortable to expose to the world. Look at competing sites to yours. How much do they tell their readers on their About page?
So, are there things your website is missing? It is probably a good idea to do an audit of your site, using this list. You can fix most of these issues relatively easily. The hardest and most important is to continually build up a good base of quality content. This needs to be an ongoing process.