June 6/13, 2016; Volume 30, Number 25
By Barbara Burgie
What makes a great website? We typically consider pictures, videos, words, content management system (CMS), on-page and off-page SEO, call to action on the site, etc. After years of working in this field, we have identified some key elements that I believe make for a top-quality website.
This three-step process helps to ensure your website is always performing well:
- Google Analytics must be installed and reviewed regularly. Know the basics of your site—how many people are visiting, where they are coming from and what they are viewing. Are they the type of clients you want?
- Ask your clients and prospects what they want or need on the site. Don’t make assumptions.
- Review other sites in your industry. Know what new features are available, what your competition is saying and best practices for web design. Be sure to stay current.
Planning and goal setting
Once you have completed your research, create a plan for your site. Having an established plan and determining the goals for your website are imperative to success. These elements ensure you have measurable benchmarks to address as you regularly evaluate your site.
Integral parts of this plan are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a website. An indicator can be as simple as tracking how many people ask to sign up for your newsletter or as sophisticated as using Google Conversions to create paths for specific content within your site and then establishing a tracking system on conversions. Either way, you must create a plan for your content, keep it updated, set your goals and then evaluate whether or not that plan is working effectively and efficiently.
The best websites don’t have the best words; they have the best pictures and graphics that help users navigate through the site. In this day and age, visitors must be able to easily learn about a company through pictures, videos and other visuals. Words often get lost during a visitor’s first impression of a site, so be sure to include powerful visuals that clearly communicate your organization’s message. These images can help increase the duration of someone’s visit to your site. They also help to engage the visitor who is, in turn, willing to spend more time online to find the information she is seeking.
There is one critical question every website and marketing method must answer for the consumer: What is in it for me? If you are not able to answer this question don’t bother building a website. Prospects and customers want to know how you are going to make their lives better. Are you saving them time? Money? Stress?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical to the development of a quality website. SEO is always changing; it is imperative you find the right partner to help you understand current trends and your industry so you build your website to maximize how you are found online. Effective SEO is crucial to the success of your site but it is important not to spend too much or too little on these services.
Websites are constantly evolving but some key ingredients remain the same. People want to learn more about you, what services and products you provide and if you are the type of company they wish to do business with.