Two decades ago if a company had a website at all, they were instantly seen as a forward-thinking industry leader. Now, websites are a dime a dozen and the focus has shifted from having a website, period, to having a quality website, specifically.
In other words, if you don’t have a cutting-edge, impressive, slick website at this point, you may be hurting more than helping your business. And I’m sure we can all think of some websites that are less than stellar.
If you’re creating a new website, auditing an existing site, or even considering whether or not to build a site in the first place, here are a few things you’re going to want to keep in mind that can either make or break your company’s online visibility.
SEO: Can Google Find You?
Sooner or later, everything online winds its way back to Google. If you run a plumbing company in Portland, you want to be top of the first search engine results page for “plumber portland.” It’s that simple.
Except, of course, the work that goes into that result isn’t so simple. Creating a website and then crossing your fingers and hoping it will reach the top of the Google listings on its own through organic traffic is optimistic, but also an excellent way to fail spectacularly. Your site is more likely to end up buried in anonymity dozens of pages away from the first page of search results.
Instead, you want to make every effort to ensure that your website is optimized for search engines — especially Google. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art of fine-tuning your website to appeal to readers while simultaneously broadcasting the value of its contents to Google.
You can do this in multiple ways, including:
- Using purposeful keywords in your content
- Linking to your own site and other quality websites within that content
- Adding metadata on the back end of your site
- Filling out your Google My Business Listing, especially if you’re trying to target a local audience
The reality is that most of your online content won’t ever be seen. Chances are that only a few posts will really draw the bulk of your traffic. However, optimizing your content for search engines is a way to make sure that every part of your site is helping your business get more online traffic in one way or another — the extra TLC will only help, not hurt!
User Experience: Do People Like Your Site?
While you want Google to promote your site at the top of its search results, once you get someone to click on a link and visit your page, you still need a quality site, visually, that attracts their attention, engages them, and calls them to action.
If you don’t give special attention to the quality of your site’s user experience (UX), your site will become a turn-off to those who visit it. Typical hot button UX concerns include things like:
- Page loading speed — if pages don’t load quickly, people will leave before they ever see your content
- Ease of navigation — if visitors can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll likely click away in search of simpler solutions
- Site layout — if the font, color, and page layout don’t appeal to your audience, they’ll be less likely to engage with you
Mobile-Friendly is Everything
While this could technically be included in the last section, it’s so important it deserves a highlight all on its own. In 2019, Google made mobile searches and mobile-optimized sites first in all search results.
In other words, in 2019, having a mobile-friendly site didn’t just become helpful, it became essential. If you want to fight your way to the top of the search engines and create a site that users can easily use, to boot, you’re going to need to make it mobile-friendly.
More Isn’t Better
Along with creating an SEO-backed, user-friendly website, it’s important to remember that the content itself must have a reader-friendly quality. Remember, quality is a quantity all its own. If you focus on creating massive amounts of low-quality content, it isn’t going to do anyone any good. In fact, readers will click away quickly when they realize that the content is largely filler or — even worse — inaccurate, on top of littered with typos, grammatical errors, and so on, that immediately reduces the authority of the information being presented. This is referred to as your bounce rate, where Google recognizes that users are spending less time on your pages, and will downgrade your site on its search result pages.
Let It Be the Hub
A good website is the hub of your online operations. It houses content, sells products, and serves as the center of an omnichannel online experience. If you have an email marketing campaign, it should lead customers to your site. If you work with influencers, they should direct their followers to visit your website as well.
Meanwhile, social media is no longer just a way to vet potential employees or vent frustration with a company, it’s also a common tactic used to reach new audiences. When this is done correctly, it should naturally point those audiences towards your site, where authoritative information, calls to action, and solutions to the reader’s problem await them.
The point is, whatever form of online outreach you’re using, it should be continually pointing traffic towards the hub of your online operations: your website.
Making or Breaking
A website is an essential part of any modern company’s marketing strategy. However, when created poorly or without a vision and goal in place, it can do more harm than good. Low-quality content can turn away potential customers, and bad SEO can lead to countless hours and money wasted on content that has zero marketing value.
However, if you focus on things like SEO, user experience, quality content, and creating a website that is truly a hub of your online operations, you’ll be able to wield your site to its fullest potential and turn it into an absolutely positive asset for your business.
The original version of this article was first published on V3Broadsuite.
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