There’s a lot of confusion about websites, and every day I see the result of people spending absurd amounts of money on the wrong things. So what does your business website really need… and what doesn’t it need?
Your Website Has 9 Needs:
We’ll assume for the rest of this article that your goal is to draw targeted traffic that can convert to a cause or sale, who will find the site useful, informative, helpful or entertaining.
Basic On-Site SEO
You MUST have proper keyword usage, Title Tags, Heading Tags and Alt Tags for your site to rank well in search engines, and so be found.
Effective URL Architecture
Your web pages need to have addresses that work with your SEO. My “About” page is http://outcomemarketing.com/marketing-coach. My blog posts have both the category name and title keywords in their site addresses. For example, http://outcomemarketing.com/social-media/facebook-business-page It’s clear to a visitor and to Google what this article is about. Many sites still use numbers, dates or other irrelevant references to name pages. Such a waste.
Navigation That Works For Visitors And Robots
The Ability To Pass The “Seven Second Test”
Glance at the “above the fold” area of the home page of your site (the part visible without scrolling down). Will a visitor grasp, within seven seconds, what you can do for them?
Your site needs original content, clearly written and edited. Illustrations and pictures are very much recommended. Regular content and updates are really helpful, which is why blogging is so effective.
A contact form or other method of contacting you is essential. Company address and phone number must be on the site (ideally on every page) for your site to rank well in local search.
Quality Inbound Links
Your site needs to be referenced by external sites. These can include Google Local, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, web phone directories and other business Directories, social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The more (quality) “pointers” aimed at your site, the more seriously the search engines will take it. Junk links don’t help – in fact they can detract from your site’s ranking on search engines.
Information must be kept up to date for visitors. Copyright notices need to be current. Security updates must be done, and broken links checked and fixed.
Your Website Doesn’t Need:
Fancy Graphic Design
A skilled graphic designer can really improve a site, but simple, or even ugly sites can perform well.
Video, Flash Animation or Interactive Toys
While these options can add value to a site, they should never replace any of the items in the “Need” section of this article. In particular, a home page with only video or Flash animation will utterly fail to be effective in drawing search engine traffic, since search engine robots can’t see the pretty animation.
Multiple Updates Per Day
Google frowns upon reused and “scraped” content gathered from other sites, as well as low-quality short posts. In other words, they’ve recently changed their ranking system so that simply getting a bunch of people to write brief commentary on your site isn’t going to count as quality content. A couple of in-depth, original content articles on your topic per week (or even per month), is a better choice than a large volume of junk content purchased or attracted cheaply.
Doorway or Portal Pages
A welcoming page that is primarily a big graphic with little text, other than “click here to enter”, is not an effective design for search engines. It’s also annoying. Don’t make your visitors do extra clicks unless it’s necessary.
Even in situations where you need your visitor to select a language or country, incorporating that into the main landing page is a better choice.
When I Build A Website
At Outcome Marketing, I build business websites for my clients that structurally have everything NEEDED to rank well on search engines. Of course, content is (primarily) up to the site owner, but I ensure that every site comes with enough training that the owner can go in and change content, add blog posts and keep the site updated. If you need your website built (or rebuilt) the right way, check out my full website setup package – it’s reasonably priced and has everything your website NEEDS.
About the author
I'm a big fan of entrepreneurship. Most of my learning, teaching and business is focused on effectively creating "freedom businesses" that allow you to focus on your strengths, and bring what you're really good at to the world - profitably. My clients are looking for more of the right customers - and I show them how to make that happen. I help them develop their web presence through their website, SEO, social media and other marketing tactics.