3 Keys to Build an Effective Website: SEO, Design and Usability

Your company’s website is essential for increasing brand awareness and for lead generation: the ultimate goal of your marketing activities. Your website acts as your storefront digital. Just as potential customers walk by and evaluate a business on its physical storefront, today’s customers often base their first impression of your business on your website. There are three key elements to consider when building your website: search engine optimization, design and usability.

Search Engine Optimization

If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound? If you build a beautiful website and no one can find it, does it help your company? One of the top errors that plagues poor websites is ignoring SEO. Build a website that can be found easily online by optimizing it around targeted key words. There are many factors to achieve optimal SEO, but they all translate into a powerful result— high page rank. When your business lands on page one of search engine results for several relevant keywords, it’s thanks to proper SEO implementation. Link building is an important ingredient to boosting your SEO. There are 4 steps to increase links to your site.

  1. Include a link to your website on all your press releases and feature articles.
  2. Submit your website to relevant online directories.
  3. Become a guest contributor to a credible blog or online news site.
  4. Create high-quality, education or entertaining content

Another important element of SEO is using appropriate keywords and placing them strategically throughout your website. Use relevant words or phrases that prospective customers will search for when looking for your services or solutions. Placing these words in your page titles and in page URLs will rank your page even higher in searches, than merely in the body text on your website. However, write for your reader not the search robots.  If your page is ranked highly, but the language is so focused on keywords that it no longer reads smoothly or offers relevant information, your potential customers will continue looking elsewhere. Don’t forget to also include your keywords and phrases in your website’s Meta tags and Meta descriptions.

Broken links or “page not found” errors will quickly chase viewers from your site. Not only are these frustrating, they convince your potential customers that your website is out of date and this reflects poorly on your company’s attention to detail. These broken links not only detract from the user-friendliness of your page, they damage your SEO rankings. Regularly use web tools to identify and fix broken links.

Design

Your website’s design is vital to an enjoyable user experience. Overuse of colors is a common mistake that can reduce your professional appearance. It is suggested to use between two and four colors to give your website a sense of continuity—use more colors, and you risk looking clownish. Additionally, avoid excessive flash animations or playing background music. Most visitors will find these features annoying. As an alternative, consider embedding a video that introduces your staff, explains your expertise or describes a product.

Usability

Ignoring the impact of design features on your website’s visitors is a huge mistake. The wrong design elements can cast an unprofessional light on even the most trustworthy and credible business. First, make sure your website is easy to navigate. Even the most beautiful graphics and color scheme aren’t as important as functionality. Keep your website simple and use a clearly marked navigation structure.

Your website should make your company stand out. It should reflect your company’s culture and business model. Pairing the right design and superior customer experience with high search engine rankings will position your business as modern, savvy and customer-focused. Your website is your storefront; keep it clean, attractive and engaging. The right website will invite your potential customers to explore your solutions and transform curious visitors into customers.

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