You have a great idea for a business – you know your target audience, you have a great product, you’ve even got a company logo and print advertising ready.
What about the website?
The majority of companies, no matter how small or large should have some sort of presence on the Internet. In the last few years there has been a dramatic switch to online searching, researching and purchase. So what makes a good website? And why are some a huge success and others a wasted investment? There are many ways to define what makes a good website.
For small businesses, it’s vital that a website generates revenue – whether through direct online sales, sales leads or as a minimum prerequisite, improves a company’s credibility.
Below we have tried to list and explain areas that you should consider before heading online.
The look of your site
- The look and feel of a site is important for branding and image.They say that first impressions count when meeting people face to face and it’s no different when it comes to websites, especially if you’re operating in a competitive market.
- You can also manipulate the look and feel to alter perceptions
For example; if your business is a one-man band, you may want to create a site that gives the impression your company is larger and well established.
- The style of a site is important for attracting the right sort of viewer
For example, if you run a legal firm you will most likely want a website that portrays your company as corporate, professional and well established. On the other hand, if you are selling children’s music then you may want a fun, colourful site with content that’s easy to read.
Usability of your website
Many web designers often overlook usability, as they focus too much on the design and look of the site. It goes without saying that a great looking site with bad usability will drive users away.
So what is usability?
Usability is a measurement of how easy it is for a user (searcher) to find what they want on your website. A good usability rule is to stick to what users are used to.
These are a few expected functionality components that should be adhered to if you want your audience to stay on your site:
A logo on the top, which is linked back to the home page
Clear navigation either horizontally below the header or vertically down the left hand side
A distinct area for the main body of text
How often would you read a newspaper that is a year old? Never?
The same applies to websites - too many are static with content that has been out dated.
Viewers have low attention spans and are looking for current information. In the past few years Content management systems (CMS) have emerged. These systems enable you the website owner to log in and change any text area of a website.
This is also very important for influencing Google.
Google’s spiders will visit your website from time to time to see if anything has changed. If your content very rarely changes its revisit rate may drop.
Search engine optimisation
Having a good-looking site will give users a positive impression of the company, and a clear and usable site will make the user experience hassle free.
But how will your target audience find your site?
One solution is search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO is a process where we actively work on your website to improve its importance in Google’s eyes.
A recent survey stated online consumers use Google and Yahoo 90% of the time to find what they’re looking for.
A few rules for effective SEO:
- Use carefully chosen keywords for the title of the web page.
- Add keywords and a description into the meta tags.
- Have unique, quality content on your site.
- Have at least 300 words of content per page.
Can everyone view your website?
Not everyone uses Microsoft internet explorer, in fact there are about 27 different browsers now with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox significant players.
One aspect people don’t realise is that different browsers display websites slightly differently. Make sure your site looks as appealing on each of the main browsers.
Internet searchers are very fickle; if a site takes too long to load they will click out of it straight away.
To avoid this there is two simple rules:
- Make sure the content (including images) is optimised.
- Make sure your hosting company has up to date servers and has sufficiently large internet connections to host all of their customers.