It’s almost impossible for any business to thrive without a good website. Even if you don’t sell products or services online, having an online presence is often one of the best ways to attract your target audience. Everyone has smart phones and they Google everything from where they should eat and which shops to visit, to where to get their car fixed and pretty much anything else you can think of. So, given how important online presence is, it’s always a good idea to invest more time and money in your website. With the help of web-development and design agency Peacock Carter (who specialise in both WordPress and Magento platforms), we’ve put together some basic advice that will help you make the most of your business’s website.
Whatever you’re selling, your website needs to look good or users will simply leave as soon as they arrive. Users are very particular about the websites they spend time on because there is always another website they can click on instead. Spend a little time choosing the right typeface (font), colour scheme, and overall aesthetic for your website. Think of these details as extensions of your brand; they tell customers a lot about your business, whether you want them to or not. A good web designer can tie in the aesthetics of your logo and brand into your website, ensuring your website communicates a positive, cohesive message as soon as someone arrives on your homepage.
However, web design is much more than the colours and look of a website; it also relates to the website’s layout and user interface (UI) – dictating how easy the website is for visitors to navigate and find what they’re looking for. Consider a visitor’s journey through your website: is there a way to make their search easier and more enjoyable? Consider your larger category pages, ensuring they communicate exactly what a user will find when they click on them. Always include a search bar to allow visitors to find specific products. If you have a wide range of products, it’s a great idea to include a specialist filter that helps a visitor break it down into more manageable parts. If you sell clothes, for example, your t-shirt page could be filtered by colour, size, neck shape, etc – or from cheapest to most expensive. The point of including these various features is to ensure your website offers a streamlined, effortless experience for customers.
With both the aesthetics and UI decisions on your site, you might be able to make a few changes on your current website. However, if you need a total overhaul, it may be necessary to change your website’s platform. Magento is a purpose-built ecommerce platform, so it is probably the best bet. If you’re in any doubt about which platform is best for your site or which changes should be made, you should get in touch with a professional web designer.
Search Engine Optimisation
Another aspect of your website that you cannot ignore is its search engine optimisation (SEO). Just as it’s important to make sure your website is well designed, it’s important to make sure people can find it easily. This is where SEO comes in. As almost 80% of all search engine traffic takes place on Google (source), most people focus on optimising their website according to Google’s SEO guidelines. SEO can be incredibly complicated once you get into the technical side of it, but the theory is relatively simple: you have to make sure your website loads quickly, that its pages’ titles and content clearly state what they’re about, and that you have links pointing to your website from relevant sources. You should definitely talk to an SEO expert about the technical side of things, but you may be able to optimise your website’s content yourself. Visit Moz’s on-page optimization resource to learn the basics. Put simply, writing content that is optimised for Google is all about using clear keywords throughout and ensuring your content is well written and entirely original.
Be careful not to over-optimise your website, however, as over-optimisation reads poorly and Google penalises any website that appears to merely be taking advantage of its guidelines instead of writing useful, informative, well-written content. Google is constantly refining its algorithms so that it can tell when a website is badly written. The good news is that it rewards business that take the time to write informative content with industry-specific terminology. So, presumably you’re an expert in your particular industry; if you ensure that your expertise finds its way into your website’s content, then your website’s Google rankings will improve significantly. So much of Google’s guidelines about SEO involve doing things properly, taking time to write good content and ensure your website is worth visiting. If you see an opportunity to cut a corner with your website, it will probably hurt your website’s SEO.
Research Questions Potential Customers are Asking Online
Once your website’s design is updated and you’ve worked a little on its SEO, you can start playing the long game. The long game is to increase traffic to your site and improve the perception of your brand. One great way of doing this is to create an area on your site dedicated to guides, FAQs, tutorials, etc. If you produce a collection of well-researched, well-written guides, people will start to view your business as an authority in your industry. And, as most of the time people spend on the internet is spent looking up information (as opposed to shopping), you are giving them something they need and making an impression on them. Once someone has visited your website and had a positive experience, they are much more likely to return when they need to buy something.
If you are struggling to think of subjects to write about, Answer the Public is a great tool for generating lists of questions people have typed into Google about your particular industry. Type in a keyword into Answer the Public’s tool and it will give you all of the commonly searched phrases people have Googled about your industry. This information allows you to write guides and articles that specifically answer your target demographic’s questions. This provides a useful service for potential customers and it allows you to connect with them and make a lasting impression.