A successful website achieves a return on investment by delivering the high quality content potential customers are looking for, where they’re searching. In our hyper fast cyber world, nobody has the time to be scrolling around forever for answers. They want to find it from the first page that comes up in their search engines. A good website is a brilliant “content platform.”
About 92% of all traffic comes from the first page results and drops by a whopping 95% from page two and onwards. It’s often been said that the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google search results. That said, your website should be the best in its field by employing a content strategy, and rolling out relevant, epic calibre content. This content should resonate with the user in a way that compels them to take action. Converting browsing visitors to consistent, loyal, spending visitors is the bottom line action your site needs to focus on. Good design means it sells products and services; it attracts visitors and converts them into customers. Period.
Making a Website Successful
Before the website goes live, it’s essential to do the research necessary for its success. A site with no particular direction, other than “looking nice”, has little hope of generating revenue. As a business investment, your website must contribute to profit. Your target audience, and the content they crave, should be clear from the outset. Here are key considerations if you want to operate a successful website.
It’s “Pretty Enough”
First off, a drop dead gorgeous, jaw-dropping website only makes sense if it translates into revenue. If it doesn’t you’re wasting time, money and effort, because aesthetics only win awards and compliments. What counts is its usability and utility. It’s about being helpful to your visitors. A successful website should be attractive enough that it feels professional and reputable. After the platform becomes profitable, and readership is high, then a beautification redesign might be considered. Following the 80:20 rule, 80% of your investment should be placed in content and promotion while the remaining 20% placed on website design/development and maintenance itself to secure some returns. Web metric analysts suggest that over 97% of all websites fail to deliver a return on investment. The owners majored on the minors, the things that mattered least.
Design is not only about how the website looks but its layout as well. Don’t make it difficult for users to navigate or find what they’re looking for. As best as possible keep it direct, clean and consistent. It must also flow sensibly, because nobody has the time to be clicking around to make sense of your content.
People browse online to get answers, so it is important that your content is accurate, genuinely useful, easy to digest and well structured. To gain top place in search engines, content should be added to your website regularly, and it needs to better than what the competition is offering on the topic. It needs to be clear, relevant and keyword rich; delivering the information with authority. Respected web authors build authority online, and Google factors this into their ranking algorithm. Providing regular and valuable content will eventually attract links from other related sites and blogs, which also increases your chance of being seen.
Developing quality content takes commitment and should always have a purpose. The cheap “fluff” you can buy from content mills can actually harm your rankings. The search engines aren’t stupid, and they don’t rank poor content. If your website doesn’t rank well, it will be “unfindable”, and customers don’t buy from websites they’ve never seen.
Mobile First: Responsiveness
A quality user experience means navigation should be top priority. Your content must display with scrolling sideways. Personally, it annoys me to be clicking everywhere to find what I’m looking for. Keep it to the point and consistent. Simple things like adding alt attributes to images or relevant hyperlinks can make a world of difference in how the user experience your site.An important attribute to your site’s success is its responsiveness. Being responsive means the viewer can view and use your site the same way on any device. Responsive websites use fluid grids, proportion-based grids, flexible images and CSS3 media queries to provide a consistent, compatible browsing experience.
Over 50% of web users access the internet on their smart phones, with roughly another 20% on tablets. If your website fails to function and reformat content across multiple devices, especially smart phones, then it is not responsive. This significantly reduces the leads you get and eventually affects your website’s success.
Search Engine Friendly
Being search engine friendly is important to every website. The art of making your website place as best as possible in search engine results is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). If you want to be easily found, SEO helps. Most of the traffic that comes to a website comes from being listed on the first page in the top 10 results. Your page is basically invisible if it isn’t in the first three search engine result pages (SERPs).
Search engines respond well to great content and keywords. Keywords and phrases guides people to your site when they do an online search. Search engines also loves up to date content so keep the content coming and the search engine will index your website and boost your SEO. Over time your website will become an authority in its field and drive more traffic to it.
Topics & Keywords
Keywords are crucial to SEO. They are quite effective at bringing traffic to your website. Keywords are the phrases people type in their search engine box in order to find information on a particular topic. They come in three broad categories; generic, broad match and long tail. Generic keywords are the highly used, competitive words used to search for information. Conversion for those terms usually yield too wide a response to be as effective as broad match keywords. Broad match is more specific e.g. red tennis shoes as opposed to just tennis shoes. These will provide good traffic with not as much competition. The last of the three, long tail keyword is the biggest traffic driver to your site because it is the most specific e.g. how do I wash my red tennis shoes.
Since 2013, there has been a shift of focus from keywords to topics on Google. Topics seem to be superseding keyword hits in the hierarchy of effectiveness after Google made a algorithm overhaul. However, this has not devalued the effectiveness of a keyword search but more so compliments it. If both are included in your marketing strategy, your website will reap the results!
Traffic to your site does not come automatically. A major reason why over 90% of website fail is little or no traffic. Traffic is the amount of persons that interact with your site in one way or another. No matter how fancy or aesthetically appealing your website is, if nobody goes there, you might want to consider quitting or revamping. People make it work.
If there’s a spike in traffic, ensure to find out where it came from and how it did. Familiarize yourself with the trends on your site while keeping track keeps you on top of things.
Accommodates the Three User Types
Consider the three types of users when planning a website. These users are the search-oriented, menu-oriented and media-oriented user. The search-oriented will search for information using keywords to source the best suited response. Menu-oriented users navigate the site to locate the information they need. They ideally want to find results in 3-5 clicks on a navigation friendly platform. Leaving ‘breadcrumbs’ can be very effective for these users so they can retrace their steps easily.
The media-oriented user is more visually stimulated and responds better to videos and media presentations. Make these videos centrally located or the user might try another site. The most effective websites combines all three to cater to the tastes of the different kinds of users who come on their site.
Converting Leads into Customers
In the final analysis, the #1 reason you have a website in the first place is to grow your business and increase sales. Converting visitors into customers is the main way to get a ROI. Outside of converting visitors for revenue, other avenues like running ads on you site provides ROI. This is a crucial way your investment will count. As a business marketing investment, your website should not be providing free resource or just making up numbers online. It should be generating monetary profits.
To achieve all this, a strategy has to be in place. The strategy should include RSS feeds for your website so visitors can subscribe for updates. Using landing pages to exchange valuable information for subscription to your mailing list gives your website an edge over your competition. Simple additions like a ‘take action now’ button can dramatically improve sales and/or response rates. Installing analytics will monitor how well your website is doing for optimal results and is a means of determining where needs improvement.
The Bottom Line
Most websites will never recover the cost of development and maintenance, much less deliver a ROI. This makes them more a liability than an asset; an expense on the balance sheet, rather than a source of ongoing revenue. Sexy award-winning design, and including all the latest gimmicky features, won’t generate sales. Clean, simple, fast-loading sites communicate and rank better. A well designed website presents epic quality, ridiculously useful content to potential qualified buyers, in the most effective way possible, converting visitors into customers.