The Golden Rules to creating an effective website

Whether you are designing it yourself, or using a developer, creating a website that effectively markets your business can more easily be achieved if it follows certain rules.
If you already have a website, use the checklist at the end of this page to see how it’s doing.

1. Make the website about your customer

The website should be about the user first, not the business. Stop stating “here’s what we want you to know about our products and services” and start asking “how can we help you?”

2. Make the website user friendly

Every additional click you force a user to make is an opportunity for them to click off the site – and on to someone else’s. Make it easy for them to stay on yours by providing: a modern template, clear menu systems, Calls to Action (CTA), a fast-loading and mobile ready site, the information they are asking for in the format they desire.
Tip: A CTA or Call to Action is an explicit statement to the user regarding what action they should take next eg Click HereCheck this outGo here now, Complete this form, For more information click the picture etc.  Often the CTA will include or be in the form of a link which will take the user to another page on the website.  CTAs encourage your visitors to stay on your site longer.

3. Be human

Present your business as a human, not corporate, entity ie use non-corporate language and jargon whenever possible. You can do this by providing information in different media types, include lots of pictures of real people doing realistic things, tell stories, use emotion. See the component 2 for more on these subjects.
Tip: If you are not sure what non-corporate language or jargon is ask yourself whether someone outside your industry would understand the language you are using. Many use the “Grade 6” test ie would a Grade 6 student understand what you are saying? This isn’t “dumbing down”.  Remember your website is being used primarily to grab the immediate attention of potential customers by providing clear and easily accessible information.

4. Know your target audience

Know who your users are – use analytics, get feedback – and then adjust as necessary to attract your target audience.

5. Prioritise Google

A website is only useful if it can be found. There are many search engines out there, but Google is the one to please. To make sure Google likes your website and so prioritises it in search engine results, here are few things to ensure:
  • Use keywords appropriately. Find out what keywords and phrases your target audience will be searching for, and integrate them naturally into your content. The days of key-word stuffing is over, and listing strings of keywords into your metadata is no longer best practice.
  • Keep your site current. Google knows how often you update your site and how much traffic it receives. If it knows you’re adding/updating content frequently or attracting lots of visits, it will assume you have relevancy and put you to the top of the list.
  • Provide high quality information and original (unique) content. This tells Google you are an expert in your field. You can add keywords to your content (naturally) as well.
  • Make sure you have a security certificate added to your site. Google now tells searchers you are a non-secure site if your don’t have that little lock and https: at the start of your url.
  • Back links carry less weight than they used to but they are also work considering to impress the Google robots.
Tip: A back link is a link from one website to another. If you have multiple back links pointing to your site from authoritative sources Google will rank your site more highly. An authoritative source is another website that Google already ranks highly.

6. Keep your website secure

Make sure your website is secure and code/app updates are prompt – no one will thank you for giving them a virus and your site will be shut down quickly.

7. Be professional

In order to look professional pay for a unique website address (ie do not use a freebie site builder) and use a modern template design which you can update yourself. Even if you have someone build the website for you, ensure you have the ability to update and add to it yourself and so won’t be subject to other people’s work schedules.

Why not download the checklist below and see how your website stacks up?



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