1. Keep It Simple. Period.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times…Keep It Simple! Seriously, you don’t want to make visitors to your site work too hard for what they want. If they do, they’ll click away before they ever really dig in.
Your website design and layout can be creative and original, and still be simple; highlighting your content and emphasizing your brand with clean lines, sharp images, and an engaging, while not overwhelming, presentation.
The most successful websites are uncluttered and user-friendly, and they’re probably the ones you like best, too. Let your brand and content speak for itself. Not only will a simple website please your visitors, it will be easier to navigate, load quicker, and save you money.
2. Grab A Seat At The Search Bar!
You’ve got a lot to offer, and you’ve worked hard to get it all on your website so the whole world can see it…So let them find it! A prominently placed Search Bar, and an accessible, well organized Site Map, will allow visitors to quickly find what they’re looking for without having to click through a bunch of menus and ultimately leave frustrated and unsatisfied.
A search bar is a no-brainer! It can never hurt, and your visitors will thank you for it. The first round’s on you!
3. Spy vs. Spy
It’s not exactly spying to check out the competition, it’s conscientious research, and it can really make a difference. Take the time to check out the websites of your competitors near and far. Study them, rattle their cages, see what they’re doing well, and what they’re not doing so well. The Internet has been around a while and plenty of others have learned the hard way.
You’re smarter than that, so dust off your sleuthing skills and see what the competition is up to. If you like what you see, borrow it, improve it and make it your own; if you don’t, you’ll know exactly what not to do on your own site and be one step ahead of the competition.
4. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised…
…It will be digitized, pocket-sized and globally democratized! When we say your website shouldn’t sit still, we mean it! Your website should go wherever your customers are, and they are going places! If you want your website to be seen, you have to make it handheld so you can go with them.
Smartphones and tablets are quickly taking the place of PCs and laptops everywhere. 216 million smartphones were sold globally last year alone, and this revolution is not slowing down to pick you up! If your phone can be smart, you can be smarter. Optimizing your site to fluidly function on as many mobile devices as possible is a must, and a professional web design firm can make the process simple, instantly gratifying and revolutionary.
5. Don’t Take It Lying Down.
Analysis has gotten up off the couch and stepped up to the plate. Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools out there for businesses that want to see their websites actively work for them, instead of lying curled up on the couch. Make analyzing the data Google Analytics provides a regular habit, and learn to adjust your website and online strategy accordingly.
With Google Analytics you can monitor extremely valuable information like you never could before. Where are your visitors are coming from? How did they find your website? What web browsers are the most popular, and what keywords your visitors are using to find you?
With this kind of information in the palm of your hand, you can turn a couch potato of a website, into a field of dreams! Analyze That!
6. “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
It’s probably a good idea to leave sophisticated navigation to the experts, especially if it involves orbiting the moon. Your website on the other hand, while a fantastic universe in and of itself, should be simple to navigate and easy to comprehend.
Make sure your navigation buttons are easy to find, and clearly labeled; nobody likes a wild goose chase. Label your buttons appropriately; for example, if you’re selling “Pies,” label the button “Pies,” instead of, “What’s For Dessert?”
Your website can still be unique without being a radical departure from the norm, and scaring people off. Most navigation bars are located at the top of the page, if yours is floating around in space, and only visible if a visitor hovers over the image of a pie, more than likely they won’t stick around for dessert at all. They want pies, give ‘em pies, and let them find them quickly!
7. “Content is King!”
Rich, compelling, well written and search engine friendly content is a must for any website. If you can’t write it yourself so it really JUMPS off the page, consider hiring a professional to do so - it will absolutely make a difference.
In general, your site should have just enough content to deliver your message, and not much more, making sure your visitors find what they need and don’t get lost in your unfinished novel. Keep your content tight, light and informative, or, as Kurt Vonnegut aptly put it, “Do Not Ramble. I won’t ramble on about that.”
That said, you don’t want your content locked up in the castle. People and search engines love content that is fresh, dynamic and evolving. One of the best ways to keep it fresh, and keep it real, is to add a Blog to your website.
Blog postings by design are short & sweet. Search engines see that your site is active and regularly updated (which they love), and visitors feel like you’re really on top of your game (which you are).
8. Smile! You’re on Social Media!
Get out there on the dance floor and mix it up! Social media is the #1 place for people to get hooked on your groove, so bring it on!
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and many others provide an incomparable venue for communicating regularly and directly with the public. Seek out communities and forums where like-minded folks tend to mingle and engage!
Sharing relevant photos, videos, reminders, great deals and provocative insights on social media can really help build interest in your business or organization, and search engines actually give weight to those that actively use it.
Remember not to overwhelm people with dozens of posts a day; make sure what you’re putting out there delivers value and keeps people interested. As a general rule, take a turn on the dance floor at least once a day, if you can’t do that, once a week, but definitely cut loose while you’re out there!
9. We’re Getting The BRAND Back Together!
You know a brand really ROCKS when you barely notice it at all. The best brands are recognizable right away, or maybe after that sick guitar intro.
Take the time to work the kinks out of your brand as you spread yourself around on the Internet. Look for what really resonates with the communities you’re reaching out to, and don’t be afraid to tweak your brand over time so it ROCKS & ROLLS!
Professional marketers and designers are out there to help you get your rhythm. Sharp, concise, distinctive branding will help people identify with your business or organization, start tapping there feet and feeling really good about it without even knowing why.
10. Request A Free “10 Best Ways” List TODAY!
Your website is your 24-hour-a-day salesperson and the smartest guy in the room. Whether you’re selling skateboards or social capital, visitors to your site are looking to click away as soon as they get there, so give them a place to click to that gets you what you want and keeps them interested!
The “click instinct” is a relatively new phenomenon, but we can work with it. ADD A CALL TO ACTION to your website and get people clicking where you want ‘em. You don’t work to drive traffic to your website for no reason, you want to convert visitors into customers or supporters, and they want that too.
Compelling Calls to Action should be short, bold, HIGHLIGHTED, easy to find and creative.
“Request A Quote!” “Join Today!” “Sign Up”
“Vote Here.” “Tickle the Penguin!”
Whatever you want your visitors to do, make it easy for them to do it, and make it interesting. Odds are, if there’s a button, and it jumps out at them, they’ll CLICK IT!