7 Secrets of a Successful Website

Make Your Website A Success

Is yours a number one website?

There are literally hundreds of ways in which you can make ensure your website is an effective marketing tool. However, for a beginner, these are the essentials.

Use the same basic layout as other sites. If people expect the contents to be on the left or the search box to be top right, why confuse them?
Use relevant photos and graphics. Something that merely looks pretty is clutter.
Make the text contrast with the background – black and white are the easiest to comprehend- and don’t use a fancy typeface. The majority of people are using mobile devices like smartphones and notepads, so incorporate responsive layout and text that can be resized.
Keep the content simple and scannable with bullet points and sub-headings. Don’t open new windows unless it’s essential for say a large photo or video. People like to be able to use the back button. New windows disorientate them.
There are two essential pages. The Home Page (the first page visitors see) should explain who you are and what you do. Visitors should be able to take it in at a glance. They owe you nothing, so you can’t expect them to work at it. Feature maybe four or five key bullet points (the most relevant to your visitors) with short text explanation. An About Us page with a postal address inspires confidence. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and Contact Us are two more very important pages.
There are many ways to make your site attractive to Search Engines and many people make a lot of money out of Search Engine Optimisation but you can do a lot yourself before you need to think about paying others. There are two essentials to a good ranking: Content and Links.

Put keywords (the words people use when they search for a site like yours) into the Page Title (the line that appears on the strip at the top of your browser), headlines, alt text for images and anchor text for links (don’t just put ‘click here’). Keywords should be repeated about six times in the body text but shouldn’t make up more than about 5% of total content. (How you decide on the Keywords is another story.) Meta tags (title and description information in the code) are important to search engines and are what often appear in results- make them different on each page.

Persuade other relevant, quality sites to link to yours or create links by contributing to news and special interest sites. Linking your pages internally also helps. Because of the abuse of links, Google is turning to social media as a guide to popularity, so get on Twitter, YouTube and Google+ and try to produce content that will be liked, re-Tweeted, and re-posted.

Google wants to know what your site is about and whether it’s a serious business so it likes regular updates and these days it wants your website to be responsive (adapt) to mobile phones.

Test whether your website works. Get even a small number of people to try it out.

There’s a theme here. Design for your visitor not yourself and Keep It Simple.

If you use a designer and they haven’t done these basic things, get them to make the changes now. Then get a new designer.

Here are two examples of low budget websites we designed-

The Walcote Practice

The Walcote Practice

Hampshire Work Space

Hampshire Work Space

I’m happy to do a free analysis of your website and offer a few easy to implement improvements. Call me on 07946 981733 or email paullewis@sevenexperience.co.uk

This article was written by Paul Lewis, owner of the marketing consultancy Seven Experience and former Head of Marketing and Operations at The Mayflower Theatre. You can connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn.