Your business website is your most valuable employee. It works for your 24/7 and never takes a day off or asks for a vacation. The toughest part about having your own site is obsessing over what really matters, and what gets results. A lot of web designers will tell you that every minor detail matters. While it does, I’ll tell you the 7 things that really matter in having a successful business online.
Great web hosting is the single most important element of your website. Where you host your website can make or break its success. You get what you pay for, and uptime is key. It certainly won’t make a good 1st impression for your customers to go to your website, looking for information, only to find a blank screen or some sort of error message. A good web host is reliable, affordable, but gives you plenty of room for expansion, such as email addresses, hosting more than one domain, as well as tools to make life easier. Your site will also be quicker, and more stable, meaning it is less likely to go down. I’ve tried just about every web host out there, but Bluehost is my favorite. They are always on top of their game, and their staff is not only friendly, but knowledgeable and dedicated to helping you. I once has a support tech on the line with me for 2 hours, resolving an obscure issue. Now that’s dedication!
There’s nothing worse than having a gorgeous website that just doesn’t work. It’s frustrating to explore a website, being ready to take action, and then something doesn’t work. Make sure all buttons and links work. If you have any forms, make sure they all work and that when submitted, they actually send you the information. You could be missing out on valuable business, all because your form isn’t working.
Responsiveness has become an industry standard for every business website. You have to have a website11 that looks and works consistently on all devices. If not, users will be frustrated, and they’ll go to your competitors. A professional web designer will be able to easily build your site to be responsive. This just means that things shrink down or become more streamlined for tablets and mobile devices. Think about the differences between a desktop website12, with a full menu on display, and when you view it on your phone, you’ll likely see an icon that opens a sliding menu or some sort of menu overlay.
Your brand is something that builds recognition and a reputation for your business. Think about Coke, Apple, Target, and other businesses that have been around for decades. Their brand is well known, and it remains consistent over time. Your brand and the overall message should be carried throughout your website13, just like any other promotional item you own. Think about Sprint’s website14. You’ll find the signature yellow and black you’d expect to find, elegantly designed throughout the site. Little graphic elements and interactive elements like buttons and links will carry the signature colors. Your website15 should reflect your business’s brand. When someone visit’s your website16, there should be no question whose site they are on.
The content on your website17 is equally as valuable as how it looks. Your website18 should have a mix of content throughout the site. Having great content, and a mix of different kinds of content has several benefits.
- It keeps visitors engaged.
- Visitors will stay on your website19 longer, greatly decreasing the bounce rate.
- Great content is good for SEO.
- A mix of content, like video, converts better than just text.
- Good content can be re-purposed for reach in other places, like YouTube and Facebook.
- Good content will increase social sharing from your website20 visitors.
On Page SEO
One page SEO is essential for the success of any website21. If you’re already doing everything listed above, you’re well on your way. Well written content, with proper titles and a good mix of keywords is great for on page SEO. Video is great, too. If you create great content that gets shared a lot on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., that looks good to search engines, too. Social metrics are a ranking factor.
Off Page SEO
Every link, every social share, and every bookmark is a link back to your site. Off page SEO is who links to you, as well as where your business is listed. Consistency is key, so make sure your business listings like Google My Business, Yelp, Hot Frog, and any other online directory is all the same. These are all factors that help with local SEO. Shares and backlinks and anything else that leads back to your site is great for SEO. Remember one key rule and you’ll be in great shape. When it comes to backlinks, it comes down to quality, not quantity. One awesome link from Forbes Magazine or Entrepreneur is way better than 1000 links from unknown, or less reputable sites.
It all comes down to having a quality website22 with great content. Any professional web design expert easily handles that. You’ll get more out of your website23 if it is done right, than if you build it yourself. You’re likely focused on running your business day to day. You shouldn’t have to focus on building a website24 and learning the technology and science behind it.