What Makes an Effective Website?
Are you thinking of getting a new website? Maybe you are thinking of updating your old site that looks like it was built by Al Gore in 1998. Maybe you hate your website, but are hesitating to hit "go" because you are afraid that the new one won't turn out much better. Thinking of building a new website can generate as much anxiety as moving to a new house.
Building a website doesn't have to feel so complicated. For most websites, there are a few main things you need to focus on to make sure it works effectively for your business. So, what makes an effective website?
#1 An effective website makes a good first impression.
Take a look at the two websites below. The first looks like it came straight out of 1999, and it tells you nothing about the company or what they do. The next has a modern look and is chalked full of information.
Here are a few “must haves” in order to make a good first impression with your website:
Up-to-Date Appealing Design
A Look that is Consistent with the Rest of Your Business
A Clear Message
#2 An effective website must be mobile friendly and accessible.
Few things are more frustrating than trying to load a website on your phone, only to discover that it’s not mobile friendly. People bail...and fast. And who can blame them? In the words of Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
In all seriousness, though, as of 2018, over 52% of all Internet traffic is from mobile devices. If your website doesn’t look good on mobile, you are losing the majority of your potential online customers. The world is chalked full of people trying to view your website on a small screen. If they don’t get what they need in seconds, then they are going to move on.
Let’s do a simple test: Pull up your website on your smart phone. (Go ahead, I’ll wait.) Put yourself in the mindset of one of your potential customers, and try to quickly find information. If the experience wasn’t pleasant, imagine how your prospects feel.
#3 An effective website must have data collection and reporting.
Your website is the best way to understand your market and see how people engage with your content. You may be spending hours updating certain pages on your website, but if it only gains a few views each month, is it really worth it? It’s important for you to know how your website is performing so that you can tailor content and focus your energy on the places that are getting the most attention.
Not only is important for your website to collect data, it’s imperative that you have a collection strategy and regular reporting. You may have all of the stats in the world available to you, but if you don’t know how to interpret them, what good are they doing?
#4 An effective website must utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and digital advertising.
It’s not enough to simply have a website presence. Your website may be “live,” but no one will find it unless it shows up where they are looking. That’s why it’s important to utilize SEO and digital advertising.
Understanding what keywords and search phrases your customers use when searching for your company is an essential first step. Then, you need to make sure that you have those words or phrases appear on your site. (Warning: keyword stuffing is NOT allowed.)
Digital advertising is another effective way to drive users to your website. If you’re not utilizing these avenues, then you’re losing out on sales.
#5 An effective website must be secure and requires routine maintenance.
Not surprisingly, Google now penalizes websites that are not secure and gives preference to secure ones. (Google knows everything, by the way.)
Sadly, most people don’t know if their website is hacked, as most hacks run in the background to collect data. Regular maintenance is required to keep websites safe, which it’s important if you want to stay on Google’s good side while keeping your secure.
Using Too Much Text - Don’t worry about saying everything about your business at once. Your website needs only enough information to let people know they found what they were looking for, a few things that explain what you do and what makes you unique, and a clear call to action.
Too Many Actions - Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing for a visitor to do when they come to my website?” Focus on that, and eliminate other distractions.
Too Fancy and Hard to Use - Users aren’t really impressed with fancy sites. They just want sites to load quickly and be easy to read and navigate. Don’t spend time and money on ineffective bells and whistles.
How does your current website measure up?
Not sure if your website is up to snuff? Let’s do a quick self-evaluation.
If you have any questions about what constitutes an effective website—or if you want to give you current one a facelift—let us know. &Marketing is here and ready to help.