Building a website can be a complex process. I always tell my clients that there are five things a website must have to succeed.
Number One: Mobile Friendly design
While it seems like a no-brainer, there are still many websites out there that are not mobile friendly, despite the fact that over 50% of the people coming to your site are on cell phones and smaller devices. Chances are, if you built a site several years ago before the technology had advanced to the point where making a responsive design was possible, your website probably does not display well on mobile devices. In the early days, we would build a separate site for Mobile, so at least people could see most of your content. With the advent of responsive design, we no longer need to do that and our website should display well on all devices, desktops, mobile phone, pads, etc.
Pro Tip: Even if you are using a responsive theme, you still need to review all your pages as some need to be tweaked to be truly mobile friendly.
Number Two: clear call to action
Getting people to your website is not enough, you want people to act. So if you’re an e-commerce site, you want people to buy things. If you are a service business, you want people to contact you and use your services. If you are a nonprofit, you want donations. So it is also very important to have a call to action, this may be just a button where people are sent where you want them to go. You shouldn’t have to hunt for this call to action, it should be front and center on your website and in many cases available on every page. With nonprofits as an example, you should have a donate button somewhere on most pages (and of course in your main menu).
Pro Tip: if you are using WordPress, most page builders have a built-in element for call to actions. They typically have a nice colored background which that draws people’s attention and a button. These work very well.
Number Three: Clear navigation with limited submenus
If you want to succeed, people should be able to find what they’re looking for very quickly. The way you do this is by having a simple, clear navigation menu. And, unless your website contains thousands of pages, it is always a good idea to have all your pages available within a couple of clicks. I have sat in on many test sessions, and the further levels down pages are, the fewer people will visit them.
Pro Tip: your navigation is one of the most important factors of your website, so keep it simple and clear. I was recently on a site where they had some of their key pages in the footer, not at the top of the page. People don’t have time to go looking for the content they want. So make sure your essential pages are in the menu at the top of your page.
Number Four: Content
If you want your website to succeed, you need to get have solid content. Also, you should be adding to your site as often as possible. Many people come to me with questions about their search engine rankings. At RooSites we focus on white hat techniques.↗️ We make sure that all our clients understand that content is king. As an example, say you were looking for information about a widget. If my site has three pages of solid information about the widget, but my competition has over 50 pages of solid information, who should rank higher? Common sense, right? So invest in solid content. Also set up a schedule so that you make this part of your daily life at work.
Pro Tip: One of the most important things you can do is being consistent with your content posting. Decide how frequently you want to post and put it on your calendar as a meeting. That way it will be blocked off time for working on content and not an afterthought. We all know we should be spending more time developing content, but it’s one of those things that ends up being pushed to the back of the list of to-do items. As a repeating meeting, you will hopefully stick to the schedule.
Number Five: SEO but not overdone!
Listen, we all want to rank highly in Google and other search engines. So it is very important to employ search engine optimization techniques. However, what I have found recently is people go overboard and are designing more for search engines than they are for real people. If you get people to your website and then the content doesn’t read well or is over optimized, you probably won’t convert those visitors to customers. So yes, think about SEO, but don’t let it be the only driving force behind your website content.
Pro Tip: with WordPress, there are a lot of good SEO plug-ins designed to help you avoid keyword stuffing and other no-nos. You should follow the guidelines of your plug-in, but don’t let it rule everything you do. The quality of your content is critical, don’t lose sight of that to try to somehow trick search engines into a better ranking.