If you're a serious business in these modern times, then you know the importance of having and maintaining a website for your services. What you may not know is that a lot of the information you need to succeed is already out there. In this article, we'll be introducing you to some of the best website tips for driving traffic to your website.
The Internet is our modern-day megamall, and your website is your storefront. In order to properly reach your clientele—whether you're local or global—you need to have a well-made website and a developed marketing strategy along with it.
How to Get Found
An "inbound link" is a link to your website from a different website. Having lots of inbound links make search engines view you as a trusted source, which leads to you having higher search engine rankings than competing sites with fewer inbound links. The bigger the original website, the better this effect is.
This is pretty basic as far as website tips go, but there are steps that need to be taken here. In order to get your content noticed, you need to be taking steps like submitting your site to online directories or writing guest posts on other blogs.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the practice of optimizing a page for a search engine. In this context, we're talking about on-page SEO, which deals with keywords. Good on-page SEO will have a primary keyword to focus on (such as "website tips"), but they may also have secondary keywords.
Above all, it's important to make sure that your content isn't overly flooded with keywords (as keyword-flooding will bring your rank down instead of up) and that the content remains smooth and readable for actual human beings.
Meta tags give the title of the page, a small description of the page, and the keywords being focused on in the page. These tags are what will appear in search engine results as the title and description, while the meta tag will give the keywords the search engine is looking for on that page. Note that meta keywords don't influence SEO ranking any longer.
What Makes Good Design
Above all else, you need to make a good first impression when people visit your site for the first time. Think of the questions they might ask themselves, such as:
- Can I trust these people?
- Are they professional?
- Am I in the right place?
Your website should look clean and professional, but also have access to all the information a user might need if they want to learn more about you or your products. If your site is notably lacking things like contact information, staff bios or product information, the user will be made wary and may not want to stay on your site.
Information needs to be easily found and communicated well.
Among website tips, an often-neglected one is consistency. Consistency is important because it revolves around keeping page elements—such as fonts, colors, logos and navigation—consistent across all web pages on your site, so as to avoid the user becoming disoriented or confused.
Any sudden, jarring change in interface will be noticed by a user browsing your site, and it won't earn you any points with them. This is fairly common on older websites that have updated a few pages—like a few home pages—but failed to actually update the rest of the site to match, resulting in the user browsing what is basically two different websites.
Navigation and Accessibility
Navigation and accessibility are some of the most important parts of a good website, but what are they exactly?
Navigation entails an interface for searching, or navigating, your site. Most navigation should take place at the top of your web page, with secondary navigation at the footer. Common features include search boxes and easily searchable categories and menus for users to use. Mostly, you want to avoid making the website too deep—navigation generally shouldn't go more than three levels deep.
Accessibility means that the site is accessible regardless of what browser or device they happen to be using. In this modern, Internet-connected era, people will be accessing your site on massive desktops, handheld tablets and smartphones, small laptops and more. Your UI needs to be able to suit all of these various screen sizes while remaining readable and usable.
Flash and Animation
Here's a big one: Flash plugins and animations.
Simple answer: don't.
The reasoning behind this has multiple layers. The primary reason is that Flash is a resource-intensive plugin that may slow down a user's computer or come off as loud and intrusive. Second to that is that Flash is downright incompatible with most mobile devices, and using it means that a large portion of the market simply can't use your site properly.
Finally, Flash is a huge blow to SEO. No self-respecting tech giant still supports it, and neither should you.
We've given you a lot of website tips in this article, but now it's time to tell you one of the most important ones: messaging. Having strong messaging means that a user visiting your website will know the following:
- Who you are and what you do
- What page they're on and what it's about
- What they're going to do next
- If they should use this site instead of an alternative
The other website tips don't matter if your site doesn't have clear messaging. If you have something the user should want, they should know it within thirty seconds of opening your website. This may seem like a small window of time, but it's really all you need to let people know who you are, what you do and where they are.
The other two questions—what they're doing to do next and if they should use you—will be determined as they keep reading. But it's important they know the first two right away.
This ties into the previous tip: how are they going to know if they should use your site if they don't know about your products? Use your site to provide blog posts, videos, whitepapers and other forms of content to educate the user. The more they know about your business and the kind of products you're making, the more likely they are to choose you over an alternative.
Blogging and Social Media
Blogging is one way of providing educational value to your users, and establishing yourself on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter earns you free advertising. It also establishes a stronger web presence, which is something that you want to have in order to get popular and communicate with your users.
The most important of these website tips: ensure that you're providing quality content. Quality content is original, easy to read and provides value to the user.
To learn more about these and other website tips, consider reading our blog, contacting us for a consultation or reading our full eBook on the 25 Must-Haves for your website.