So you want to create a website, but you’re not quite sure how to make it great. While your budget and goals will determine how many bells and whistles you can add to your website, the audience you’re trying to attract should be at the heart of your decisions. The following is an overview of the basic building blocks to consider and tips for getting the most out of them.
Create a Great User Experience
Your website is the digital representation of your business, so it’s important that it portrays your company well. When your customers visit your site, they should enjoy spending time there and want to come back. Make sure your site is intuitive and easy to navigate. Anything your target audience might want should be just a click away. If you’re on a tight budget, start with a basic site but be sure to plan for how you will continue to develop your website and add more content over time.
Don’t Use a Shared Internet Address
Resist the temptation to create your website with a company that requires you to have their address as part of your URL. Although you might be saving some money, you’re sacrificing your professional image and making your Web address harder to remember. Think about it: Wouldn’t it be better to have www.finewindows.com than www.sites.google.com/site/bobsfinewindows?
Get a Professional Email Address
Like your physical address, your email address says a lot about your business. For a small investment, the value of registering your own domain name and setting up vanity email accounts cannot be overstated. It is an inexpensive and easy way of presenting a polished outward appearance for customers and potential customers. Your email domain should be the same as your company website’s URL.
Format Your Site for Mobile Devices
When designing your site, remember that nearly half of the people browsing the Web are doing so from a smartphone. Your perfect customer may be in the area, and without a compelling mobile web experience, you may miss an opportunity to capture new business. Because these devices have smaller screen sizes, they work best when a website is specially formatted and coded with less information and smaller images. To address this, you can either build your site with different design layouts or redirect your visitor to an entirely different site that’s made just for mobile devices.
List your Website with Online Map Services
Make it easy for customers to find your address, contact information, hours of operation and more by creating free business listings using tools such as Google Places.
Increase Your Visibility with Great Keywords
As you’re probably aware, search engines like Google and Yahoo! rank their listings in an order that’s influenced by the keywords used on sites. But what exactly are keywords? As you might expect, they are words and phrases that people commonly use when searching online. For example, someone looking for “prescription eyeglasses” online might type in those words exactly. But if they typed “RX eyewear,” “optical glasses,” “mens spectacles” or “designer frames,” would they still find your website? Including these types of words and phrases in your website will help your business show up higher in the search engine rankings. This is one tactic used in search engine optimization (SEO).
Videos are a great way to engage online viewers and hold their attention. With just a handheld camcorder or smartphone, you can create a product demonstration, inform clients and prospects about your business, and make your business feel more personal and approachable. Think about also capturing candid customer testimonials from your most loyal customers and friends.
Use Social Media to Update Your Website
Here’s an easy way to keep your website current: Link your website to your Facebook or Twitter account. Then, download Facebook and Twitter apps to your smartphone. Now when you post news and special offers with these apps, your posts will also appear on your website. No need to sit behind a computer for quick updates to a website!
Give Visitors a Reason to Come Back with RSS Feeds
RSS feeds (also known as Really Simple Syndication feeds) are like news wires that deliver continuous blogs, news stories or audio and video content, depending on what you subscribe to. By adding an RSS feed to your website, you can have fresh material appear on your website without having to create it yourself.
Start Your Own RSS Feed
For those extra tech-savvy business owners who want to stay top-of-mind with their audience, consider becoming the originator of news, stories or blogs. Help readers to stay up to date to what’s happening in your world by becoming an RSS feed. The more they hear from you with information that is relevant to their needs, the more likely readers will stay engaged in your online community and possibly buy what you’re offering.