What are the 5 most important things for any website?
Things have certainly changed on the world wide web today. In the past, just having a website was enough to drive hundreds or thousands of potential customers to your door. It was easy to get found as the competition was so low. Then as the internet got busier, search engine optimisation (SEO) was the key. Now, it’s a whole new world but I must say it’s a very exciting one!
Yes, it’s more challenging to get your business found online but I for one love a challenge! Life is just that little bit more exciting when someone says to me it cannot be done. My usual response is ‘wanna make a bet?’ or ‘why not’.
How does a small business get ahead online?
I can empathise with small businesses owners who are now finding it difficult to get ahead online. Even just to get found in the first place! Everything has changed and now there is this social media thing to deal with which takes up time and effort. Websites are more challenging and customers now expect to ‘interact’ with business owners through their website.
Small business people just want to get on with what they do best.
This is all true BUT it doesn’t need to be difficult. There IS a way forward through all the web wetland of wonderment and rise above it all. To see clearly ahead for your business and finally achieve serious success online.
So What’s The Secret?
The answer is quite simple really.
Outsource! Don’t try and do it all yourself.
Get a team on board to support your business and allow you to get on with what you do best in your business. All the seriously successful people in the world know this secret and ensure they have a good team to surround, support and strengthen them. And it’s not expensive! You can afford to outsource as there are many ways to market your website as there budgets available. The only thing you cannot afford to do is NOT TO!
Now based on this concept there really are only 5 important things to consider for your business website and they are all things you can outsource.
1. Have A Great Design
Now why would a great design be important? Well you want your customers to like you? You want your customers to hang around for a while, don’t you? A great looking website that works well and clearly conveys your message is the most important factor for success online. It’s probably the most overlooked. There are many people who still believe that having any old website will do but let me ask you, how many times have you click away from a website just because it looked awful, untidy or just not your cup of tea? The time your visitors spend on your website is taken in account by Google when they rank your website? The longer people spend on your site, the more important it must be to your visitors.
2. Optimise it for the Right Keywords
Good old SEO or search engine optimisation is still very important for your site. It’s just a little more challenging now. Getting your business found online for the right keywords is important for many reasons. Firstly, if you don’t optimise your site then it will probably end up on page 100 somewhere in the search engines and no one will know about you. Secondly, it’s important to get visitors to your site to track what they do (analytics) so you can adjust your website and improve its performance. Lastly, optimisation tells the search engines what you website is about and from that they’ll decide where to put you in the search results pages. The little known fact about SEO is that you can optimise your site for many different keywords, including ‘buying keywords’ and ‘browsing keywords’.
3. Connect with Social Media
Connecting your site to the social media networks is now the accepted norm. Your website visitors expect to be able to ‘like’ your site with the click of a button, ‘retweet’ an article with a Twitter button and bookmark a page on their favourite bookmarking network. So, your site needs to have social media networking functionality. Boy that was a mouthful! What exactly does that mean? It means to make sure you have those little buttons in logical places and perhaps even a few widgets here and there to show people how popular you are. It’s very simple to do but it is surprising how many website owners forget this little trick.
4. Engage with Your Customers
Here’s another biggie … engage with your customers. Another technical term? Not really, it just means that people who interact with you on your website expect you to talk to them. Blogs are an example of how to engage with your customers. They leave comments and they ‘expect’ you to reply to their comments. Astonishing how many business people don’t do that simple little thing. Engaging with visitors is important most importantly because you are representing your business online. Responding means showing you care. Not responding is showing you don’t. Plus, and this is another little secret, the more people comment the more content your website has. The more you reply, the more content you have. The more content, the more you site is updated (next point) and the search engines really really love that.
5. Update and Add Content Regularly
This is the last most important point but probably the one thing most small business people do not do. Update their website regularly. Now when I say regularly, I don’t mean every year, I don’t even mean every few months. A website should be updated every month at the very least but ideally every week and even every day. Why? Well it means fresh content for the search engines to index. Think of the search engines as a hungry teenager that just can’t get enough food! They’re always on the lookout for new content and you will be rewarded with better rankings. I’ve seen the huge benefits of just this activity alone to benefit websites.
So now you know the secrets to having a great website. They’re not huge but mostly overlooked and can mean the difference for your business of just an OK month online or a really great one.