Ten years ago, perhaps even as little as five years ago, a business owner would have a website designed, and then promptly forget about it and let it do its own thing.
Perhaps a certain amount of search engine optimisation would be built into the initial design, but, after that, very little effort would be made to update or amend. To be honest, very little updating was needed. For one thing, there was less competition, so many websites ranked well just by their mere existence. Secondly, there were none of the strict SEO rules which exist today, so even the lowest quality sites could squeeze into that number one position. How things have changed!
Business owners are realising more and more that the website is where their future lies. Even some of the biggest businesses do most, if not all of their business online these days. Online shopping is becoming more and more popular, and customers are getting more computer savvy, meaning they have very little patience for poorly constructed or badly written websites.
When instructing a web designer, there are a number of questions which you must ask. Firstly, the initial design. It needs to be clear, immediately obvious what it is you do as a business, not too fussy, easy to navigate, and have a good use of colour and design.
Search engines are desperate for good quality content. You may have some fantastic photographs to put on your site, but please, please, accompany the photos with some explanatory text. Don’t be tempted to fill the whole screen with photos. Google, won’t be impressed. Try to come to a compromise. A bit of both is the best bet. Of course, on the other hand, nobody wants to look at a whole screen filled with only text.
It is surprising how many website’s there are out there which don’t ever really get to the point. Don’t try to sound too clever on your site. You must keep in mind that many of your visitors may know nothing or very little about the products or services you are selling, so make it immediately obvious. If visitors cant find what they are looking for within the first 5-10 seconds, they will generally leave the site promptly.
Ensure your site is easy to navigate. Visitors will want to be able to find exactly what they are looking for from the first page, so don’t make the process of finding information too complicated. That isn’t to say you should limit the amount of pages you have, but just make it obvious where each page is.
We all know that content is king, so make sure that your site reads well. Google is very much of the opinion that well written content with good grammar and no spelling mistakes is of the utmost importance, so, if needed, employ a copywriter to write the content, even if you can only afford them for the main pages. It will make a difference and make you stand out from your competitors.
Finally, ensure that SEO is built into your site as much as possible. Ask your web designer about title tags, meta description tags, alt tags etc. It will save you money if your designer can incorporate this information into the site at the time of its build.
Also, ensure your site is linked to your social media pages. Its not just about your website, its about your digital marketing campaign as a whole. Your website, is just one, albeit very important, part of your online presence.