The advent of the technological revolution has changed the way that people interact with friends, colleagues, businesses, customers and suppliers beyond recognition. These days, whatever problem, question or need that you have to satisfy, the first place that you look is likely online.
With the principles of supply and demandit should come as no surprise that more websites are launched every day, each one competing in an ever-more-crowded online space for your attention. You might, however, be amazed to learn that there are now 1.2 billion websites in existence, with around 400 new sites going live every minute of every hour of every day.
If you have your own website or blog, then you probably already know a bit about search engine optimization (SEO) – the techniques through which you can rank higher in Google Search results and therefore drive more traffic to your site.
When it comes to SEO, many people automatically start thinking of aspects such as pay-per-click strategies and link building, but there is a more important and more fundamental factor that you need to consider, and that is the website itself. Here are some ways that you can improve your site, your SEO and the quantity and quality of traffic that you generate.
Content is king
It sounds obvious, but the fact that content is king can be easily overlooked: Without interesting, relevant and engaging content, your website is doomed to fail. With the right content, though, you are already halfway to success.
Think about your target visitors. Who are they, and what is bringing them to your website? They will probably arrive there having typed a query into Google or some other search engine. Put yourself into their shoesand ask yourself what that question is likely to have been.
Next, take a look at your website and ask yourself how well the content that you have answers the question. You could even type the query into Google yourselfand see what other results come up. How do other pages answer? Is there anything there that tells you how you might improve your own content?
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Your online shopfront
Whether you are using your website for ecommerce, running a blog for fun or doing something in between, the fact is that the only thing that visitors know about you is what they see when they arrive at your landing page.
In this respect, first impressions count. If you visit a physical shop and the place looks a mess, then there is a good chance that you will keep walking. In the online world, it is extremely easy to click on the back button.
In other words, while what you say is hugely important, how you say it is no less so. Consider a font and color scheme that conveysyour desired image – for example, a law firm may look for muted pastel shades and a professional font, whereas a kids’ club may opt for bright primary colors and an informal tone.
Also remember that a picture paints a thousand words. Think about how you can use imagery to capture the imagination. For example, you could download photographs from a supplier such as Dreamstime Stock Photos to create a unique and arresting look.
So, now you have a website that looks great and has interesting content. Does this mean that the job is done? Not quite – the final step is to make your website so easy to use that visitors will not want to go anywhere else, and this is where the concept of user experience comes in.
Aim for a “less is more” approach and be very careful with aspects such as banner ads and popups, which can divert a visitor’s attention from where you need it to be. Ensure that calls to action are clear and give visitors plenty of choices. For example, as well as a “buy now” button, you could include options to “find out more” or “request a callback.”
Another way to enhance user experience is to check that your website works across all platforms. Most peoplehave been in the position where a site either takes ages to load or does not work properly when it comes up on your smartphone. Today, more people surf the Internet on mobile than on desktop, so a mobile-friendly site is an absolute must, or you will be turning visitors away in droves.
Managing your shop
The digital world might seem quite different to the physical one, but when you think of your online shopfront, the parallels are obvious. Remember the golden rules of content, appearance and user experience, and you will have the equivalent of a thriving shop with great products, a beautiful window display and helpful sales assistants. With these in place, you can’t go wrong.