As you consider redesigning your website, it can be tempting to pull out all the stops and try to attack everything at once. Kind of like when you decide to make over your house, you suddenly find endless areas that could be tweaked and fixed. Be careful not to get caught in this trap. Instead, focus in on the most important elements of a successful website first. If you can master these factors, you may be able to add a fancy chandelier or some mood lighting down the road. Here’s what deserves your attention from the get-go:
User Experience First
If there’s one thing that’s worthy of your time, it’s your website’s overall design and functionality. The experience that your Web visitors have while they peruse your site can make the difference between gaining a new customer or a finding yourself with an aggravated customer who wants to take his business elsewhere. In a time of convenience and instant gratification, your buyers will leave in a snap if the process of using your site isn’t conducive to their goals.
Are you an e-commerce site? If so, your home page should highlight your two best selling products so customers can click once and be taken to a purchase page. Do you own a services business? Your navigation bar should clearly display tabs like “services,” “pricing,” and “FAQs” so that visitors aren’t confused about where to find what they’re looking for. The goal is to make it easy on your target audience to quickly get what they came for when they get to your site.
Image Is (Almost) Everything
Alongside the user experience in importance is the overall image your website projects to prospects and existing customers. If you haven’t had the time or resources to focus on aesthetics before, now is the moment to do so. Just like most things, moderation is key. Each of your pages should include some sort of appealing visual element, be it a picture, video, or infographic. But be sure your pages aren’t overly laden with visual content either. A little can go a long way.
Shutterstock is a good resource for quality graphics and videos. You can select from thousands of choices, and rest assured the images and videos you end up with aren’t copyrighted. With every picture you place, ask yourself if it’s a positive addition to the message you’re trying to send, or if detracts. This is a good way to make decisions on the artistic aspects of the site and be sure you don’t get carried away.
SEO Isn’t Just a Nicety
When you hear about websites, the term SEO is often not far behind. Everyone wants to have a site that is properly optimized for more traffic, but sometimes it ends up on a list of wishes rather than must-haves. Mapping out your SEO strategy and actually executing it can make your website go from functional to profitable.
If you’ve never done so before, it’s high time to perform a full website analysis and a competitive analysis. If you aren’t sure how, you can easily find an SEO specialist in your area to help you out. Better yet, try asking around your own network to see if someone can help you out as a favor (or for trade). Once this is done, the next step is to do some research into keywords and nail down the ones that apply to your business. After that, create page titles and assign meta tags. Those areas make up the essential pieces to your SEO, as well as measuring and testing the efficacy regularly.
Copy Should Be Clear and Concise
Last, but not least, give your text a thorough scrub. Go page by page throughout your website and make tough decisions about how to pare down. Chances are you can omit many words that are either too flowery or simply aren’t enhancing your overall message. Your goal with each page should be to maximize the odds that someone will read every word you’ve written.
The same goes for your company blog, if you have one. It’s been found that 74 percent of posts that are actually read are under three minutes long and total 1,600 words or less, according to Buffer Blog. Also aim to keep your headlines to six words or less. Your audience is far more likely to be engaged with the pieces you post if they’re short and if the writing is clear.
If it’s time for a website redesign, get excited. Upgrading your virtual presence can be a fun and fruitful step for your company to take. Keep in mind the user experience, be deliberate about images, put some thought behind your SEO and keep your copy tight. Your new website will be sure to attract new fans and please existing followers, which really is the whole goal after all.
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