Maybe you’re just about to launch your own business, and the next task on your to-do list is to set up your website. Or maybe you already have a website, but you don’t seem to be getting very many leads from it. The truth is, a good website can make all the difference to the success of your business. And by good, we mean a website that makes a favorable first impression, draws repeat visitors, and leads to increased sales. To make a good first impression, you must insist on several non-negotiable items. We can divide those items between content and design. Read on to learn more.
Content is king. That is, good content doesn’t guarantee a sale, but bad content invariably costs you one. Good content requires several non-negotiable items.
The single most important item for creating a successful first website visit is the quality of the language you use. Nothing turns off potential customers faster than the poor use of language, which includes:
- Spelling and punctuation mistakes
- Bad grammar and syntax
- Clunky or run-on sentences
- Passive voice
- Long paragraphs with too many themes
- Missing text elements, such as captions
The reader wants to feel assured that you are reputable, knowledgeable and worth their time. You can’t achieve this if you litter your website with problems like:
- Factual mistakes
- Unclear ideas
- Unconvincing arguments
- Unrealistic promises
- Stupid jokes
- Unbridled boasting
- Lack of fresh content every week or two
- Lack of call to action
Different websites have different purposes. If your purpose is to promote your business, your pitch has to sound convincing. Include evidence to back your arguments and by all means add footnotes and/or links to reputable sources. Humor is a great tool, but a tricky one too, so use it advisedly. Always include a call to action, perhaps backed by a free goodie, such as a special report, eBook, coupon or promotion code.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The most important task in ensuring a good first website visit is a first website visit. Sure, you can pay for ads on Google and elsewhere. But in the long run, you’ll maximize your marketing return on investment by organically ranking high for search engine results on specific keywords. That means creating a website with authoritative content, but it also means making it easier for Google to classify your content. That’s the job of SEO, and includes:
- Keyword research: Pick three to five keywords that express the purpose of each page on your website. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to research the most effective keywords and the amount of competition you face for each one. Populate your website content and titles with your keywords. Use them throughout the page, but don’t overuse them.
- Logical organization: This includes easy-to-navigate menus with well-organized items. It also includes the use of compelling titles and paragraph headings, linkages between different pages on your website, proper use of captions, and creation of a website map that the search engines can easily scan.
- Technical items: SEO comprises many other technical issues. If you don’t have the expertise yourself, consider hiring an expert to get things right.
4. Design and Style
A well-designed website invites visitors to read the contents. Using thoughtful style elements can draw readers down the page and make information easier to comprehend. Some important items regarding design and style include:
- Attractive theme: There are thousands of website themes available for free or at a modest cost. You can also use a website builder with built-in themes that are appropriate for your purposes.
- Interesting style elements: These include your choice of fonts, images, graphics, colors, and on-page organization.
- Welcoming landing page: Your home page and/or landing pages should be especially strong, with plenty of images to supplement a relatively sparse use of words. Your job is to draw visitors into your website, not bombard them with tons of information on one page.
A good website requires a lot of thought and a fair amount of expertise. If you don’t want to personally handle the task of creating and maintaining your website, consider hiring contractors to help you with content, design, and style.