Friendly advice: don’t skimp on the design of your website!
Web design is probably the most important expression of your online business. So much so, that it is probably the one area worth splashing out on to get it spot-on. So if you take our advice and outsource, here are the things to make sure your web designer/developer delivers on:
1. The purpose of the site should be crystal clear.
This means being able to ask yourself what your site must do in order for you to be successful.
2. Your website should be segmented in a logical way.
The home page should provide a clear statement of what you do – people shouldn’t need to guess this bit.
3. Your site should have a slick navigation system.
I suggest having a good look at some of the sites on our first blog post to get an idea of what could work for you. Include at least a couple of the following: a menu of the sections on your site. Tabs near the top of the webpage, a search function, a ‘Popular posts’ section or similar if your are selling products, bottom links to provide hypertext links to sectional pages and a site map to show the structure of the site and which will in turn have links to every page or section page. Also, be clear why you have chosen particular navigation systems over others.
4. Your website should look great.
To other people especially. Have a look at a range of very different sites that you like and identify why. Mymodernmet.com and mashable.com are two very different sites but both are easy on the eye.
5. Your site should be search engine friendly.
The whole point of being on the internet is to be found by new prospects and existing customers easily. This means being as close to the top of the search engine rankings as possible. Each webpage should entice search engine spiders to index your site. To do this pay attention to: the Title, which should contain your important keywords from that webpage and should be no more than 80 characters. The title is what shows up hyperlinked in search engine results so make sure it’s interesting enough for people to want to click through. Meta tags are your descriptive tags and should be around 250 characters, again describing the contents of the particular webpage. Google doesn’t useMeta tags for search engine ranking purposes but Yahoo does. Headlines (H1, H2, H3 in HTML lingo) should also include your main keywords .
6. Your website will be full of magnetic, keyword rich, interesting content.
Yes, easier said than done but content really is king these days. Use Google’s free keywords tool (adwords.google.com) to choose the most appropriate keyword for you to write content based articles or posts around, taking care to avoid very competitive keywords.
7.Your website will incorporate communication systems
As a minimum you will need your contact page – name, address, phone number. Contact information builds trust. Other useful ways to make it easier for your customers to communicate with you includeliveperson.com for an instant text chat system. These days you can virtually outsource your customer service with services such as getsatisfaction.com
8. You have a very effective sales page (landing page)
Most websites will have at least one of three aims: a) to sell a product or service, b) to generate contact information for future follow up mailings, c) to go though an affiliate link to buy a product on another site. You therefore need to have a good conversion rat, i.e. a high ratio of sales to visitors. Again, this for most people is easier said than done. A good place to start is with data collection using tools such as Google Analytics.
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