I’m Building a New Website: What Should I Consider?
Designing a website from scratch may seem daunting, especially with so much fierce competition out there. But with all the many choices you will have to make, from DIY web builder vs web designer, from social media integration down to the font you use for your contact us page, there is really only one main consideration:
How can you create an online space that attracts visitors, and then keep their interest once they’ve arrived on your home page?
Search Engine Optimization
The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter how great the content on your website is if no one knows it’s there. Search Engine Optimization, (SEO) is the way that your website can communicate with search engines such as Google to make sure they send traffic in your direction. Given that “93% of online experiences begin with a search engine” (imFORZA.com) don’t you think you’d better get on board fast?
Google wants to know that your website is legitimate, and that it offers not just excellent and unique content, but a good all round experience for users. Check to make sure your designer, website host or website builder employs best SEO practices, and allows you to use keywords effectively, as well as updating your content often and making sure it is all one of a kind. Additionally, Darrell Benatar, CEO of UserTesting.com makes a powerful argument for saying goodbye to Flash when building your site. “HTML5 is gaining more support on the Web, with search-engine friendly text and the ability to function on many of the popular mobile operating systems without requiring a plug-in. The same can’t be said for Flash.”
Your design can also affect your SEO, as well as your user experience overall. Nothing is more frustrating to a reader than poor navigation resulting in dead links, or confusing content which isn’t what they are looking for. A complicated or cluttered home screen, or being presented with loads of adverts or pop-ups are definite turn-offs for potential repeat visitors, as well as being forced to register or sign up for updates before you’ve even accessed the first page of content. Consider limiting or eradicating these to create a more enjoyable experience on your website.
Website Performance and Speed
We live in an impatient world, and with so much information available out there, we have shown how visitors will quickly move on if they are presented with a sub-par experience. But did you know you can have some control over not simply the design, but also the technical specifications of the website itself? Websitemagazine.com reports that “When Amazon analyzed its ratio of sales to its Web performance through A/B tests, what it found was that with every page load delay of 100 milliseconds there was a 1 percent decrease in conversions.”
In simple terms, that means that for every second delay on your website, you could be losing 7% of your traffic. Before choosing a web host, check their average monthly downtime, and their page load speeds. After all, Kissmetrics report that “47 percent of visitors expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds, and 40 percent of visitors will leave the website if the loading process takes more than 3 seconds.” Invest some time with customer service before you sign on the bottom line, to find out how many websites are being hosted on their shared servers, and whether a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or even a Dedicated package is a financially viable option for you.
Once visitors have found your website, make it easy for them to share excellent content with the help of social media integration. This is a simple and free way to create links to your website, allowing word of mouth and social sharing to do some of the hard work for you. Incorporate sharing buttons on popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and ensure you are using some good analytics software to keep track of where your visitors are finding you.
From the outset, be sure to lay a foundation of high quality content, uncluttered and easily navigable design, top of the line technical specifications and best SEO-practices, and you’ll allow yourself more time to worry about that all important ‘contact us’ page font.
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