You have your business plan. You have your financing. Now you need a website. But how do you tell whether your website will perform as expected?
Whether your website is for a bricks-and-mortar business or e-commerce, you can evaluate its ability to achieve success by using the following basic metrics.
Top 7 Elements for a Successful Website
- Appearance: Does your website look up-to-date? Do the colors “pop?” Is there plenty of white space? Is there a balance between image and text? Not sure what this all means? Visit any one of the major ecommerce websites for guidance.
- Functionality: Does everything work together to show visitors what they should do? Remember, if it isn’t clear what action they should take, or if they have to search for a phone number or an email form, visitors are likely to move on to the next site rather than struggle to make yours work.
- Mobile-optimized site: Statistics show that half of all interactions with ecommerce websites come from phones, tablets and other mobile devices, and the number is growing. Make sure your website works on mobile devices. Especially important are tap-friendly buttons, including text phone numbers that allow users to tap to call.
- On-page SEO: Think about who should be visiting your site. What are they hoping to learn? What are the search terms that are relevant to your business and products? What terms should you use to differentiate individual pages? Whether you hire an SEO specialist or do it yourself, you will need to think carefully about the terms you select and how you incorporate them into page titles, headers, copy, calls to action, and more.
- Inbound links: On-page keywords are only a part of website optimization. You also need links from other credible websites to capture traffic. Which sites depends on the type of business you have. The more authoritative and relevant the website that links to you, the better. For example, if you are a land surveyor, take steps to ensure the state professional surveyor’s website links to your website.
- Great product pictures: Consider using a photographer who concentrates on photographing products for online marketing. It is worth every penny.
- Off-site website traffic drivers: It is important to take steps to create awareness of and drive traffic to your website. For instance, you need a social media presence—Facebook, Instagram, or other appropriate social media platforms. (Warning: A social media presence is not something you create and then walk away. It requires care and feeding through frequent updates, posts, news, and customer review links. ) If appropriate, find ways to get your business mentioned in the news. Be active in professional associations. And don’t forget the obvious! Include your website URL on your business card, in your email signature and anywhere else you print your contact information.
Get the Foundation You Need to Succeed
Whether you build it yourself or use a web marketing company, a great website is critical to the success of any organization. It takes time and money to get it right. And then it requires dedicated, on-going involvement. Remember: Your website doesn’t have to be flashy, but it does have to be attractive, easy to navigate, and optimized correctly. Incorporate the top seven criteria for a good website and you will be well on your way to success.