1. Well Designed and Functional
Your site reflects your company, your products, your services and ultimately your brand. So it’s important to be visually appealing, polished and professional. Allow white space, uncluttered layouts with quality photographs and graphics look and let your message shine through.
Equally important, the site must work quickly, correctly and as expected. Build to web standards, proofread rigorously and test regularly for problems with speed or functionality. Every page should always be fast and functional, because any of them could be a potential customer’s first or only impression. Broken, slow, or poorly constructed areas will leave your visitors frustrated and encourage them to leave.
2. Easy to Use
Site visitors are always in a hurry. Don’t make them work for information. User Experience (UX) plays a key role in helping visitors use, understand and stay on your website. Create obvious, logical navigation with clear hierarchy. Use consistent layouts and visual cues for functionality across the site.
Your site should satisfy both ‘searchers’—coming for something specific, and ‘browsers’—just looking. Help users accomplish their tasks quickly with onsite search, and keep them engaged by suggesting related content and minimizing dead ends.
3. Fresh, Quality Content
Be succinct, interesting and new. Use language that makes sense to your audience—avoid jargon, corporate speak and acronyms. Visitors have short attention spans: spell correctly, be accurate, be relevant and update regularly. Blogs and social media updates are great ways to add fresh content, which keeps visitors returning and helps SEO strategy. Yes, keeping things fresh requires a bit of investment. No, you can’t do without it.
4. Readily accessible contact and location
Your audience won’t chase you down. Make it easy to engage, offer multiple points of contact: phone, email, social media and maybe an easy-to-use contact form. A Google map is a bonus. Above all, ensure that this information is readily available on an easy-to-find contact page—if not every page of your site.
5. Optimized for Search and the Social Web
It’s not enough to build a nice looking website that’s easy to use. It needs to earn traffic. Otherwise, all that effort in design, UX and content development will be for naught. There are hundreds of rules and guidelines for effective search engine optimization, so here are a few to start with:
- Use page titles and meta tags on every page and alt tags on every image.
- Optimize content on your site to align with words real people search for.
- Use keywords appropriately in content and links.
Make it as easy as possible for visitors to share your content. Social can drive large volumes of traffic and positively impact your search ranking. Don’t forget obvious sharing links (even if they are rarely used in actuality).
This is a high-level overview of five deep topics! These basic tenets will help you start getting more value out of your web presence as you move toward the great website you need. For a deeper dive, contact us. Alexander Pro Design is ready to help.