Three Things Your Website Needs & Two That it Doesn't
What goes into making an exceptional website? Many of us think it’s great design. We all want to deliver an impressive first impression and have the WOW factor. While the aesthetics of your website are important, there are three things your website needs, and two things it doesn’t.
Original, One of a Kind Content
The most important thing your website needs is original content. Not only is copying someone else's content illegal, it also doesn't fare well for your search engine optimization. Google and other search engines prioritize where content originated. So even if you find a great explanation of a service you offer, you must write it in your own words. Yes, you might have to put forth some effort, but defining your brand, company, products and services is important for your customers, and potential customers, to know about you. It is information they are searching for and they want to know what makes you different from your competitors. Only that can be described by you. So, find your voice, let it shine on your website.
While you can re-purpose content and share articles from others on your social media platforms, it's important that original content is found on your website or blog first. You want to drive as much traffic as you can to your website, and original content helps that tremendously.
Your website needs to be responsive. Does it look as good on a mobile phone as it does on the computer you designed it on? What about on a tablet, or a laptop? So much of what we do and search for is done on a mobile device, so it is incredibly important that your website displays nicely on various screen sizes. We're in the transition to a "mobile first" world, and many industry leaders think we're headed to a "mobile only" world. This means that responsiveness and load times are more important than ever.
Usable Contact Form
Your contact forms need to be easy to find, easy to fill out, and easy to share. If you don't have a direct link to your contact page, go make one – right now. If a link to your contact form isn't in the menu of your website, go put it there – right now. These are simple changes you can make that can drastically increase your leads. People are impatient. Don't make it hard for them to contact you.
Additionally, make sure you have a process for following up with those who contact you on your website. Nothing is more irritating than submitting a request via a contact form and never hearing back from the company. So, respond to your leads in a timely manner and make sure you have someone dedicated to doing it!
We've gone over some things that your website needs, but there are a few things you should not have on your website too.
Years ago, there was a "hack" that was said to increase your search engine optimization: invisible text. The theory was that search engine bots were crawling your site for keywords, and the more times those keywords appeared in your content... the better your site's positioning would be. Many developers found a loop-hole in the system and started hiding text at the bottom of pages, in footers, and all over on websites. Then... search engine bots caught on. Now, this is considered a "grave offense" by many SEO specialists. If website crawlers detect these hidden lumps of keywords, and even content that is overly stuffed with keywords, they can bury your website so deep that no one will ever find it. After all, they say "the best place to hide a dead body is page two of Google."
We recommend treading very cautiously when it comes to using SEO “hacks.” You’re much better off if you play by the rules, create original and engaging content, and utilize the SEO tools provided to you on your hosting platform.
Another thing your website doesn’t need is old content. Stale content can date your company and can even hurt your brand. So, when was the last time you scrubbed your content? Does your website list pricing for products and services from 2012? Is your contact information up to date? Does your "about" page reflect your current company structure and culture? If not, it's time to update it. We recommend doing a full review of all your website content every six months.
Does your website need a facelift? Let us help!