Whether you have an existing website that isn't converting or you're looking to launch a new site for your business, there are hundreds of things to keep in mind. From SEO and site copy to web design and aesthetics, every choice you make can have a direct impact on your conversion rate and appeal. Thankfully, industry experts are willing to share advice on the best practices and successful strategies.
Creating a small business website can be challenging, but don't let it intimidate you. Let's take a look at some helpful tips related to each of the four main areas of website building: content, SEO, design and analytics.
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While the untrained eye may believe web design is the most critical component of building a small business website, that's not the case. Content is king and will always lead the way. With that in mind, it's important to create persuasive web copy that engages and converts. That leads to the first three tips:
- Make content digestible. Nobody enjoys staring at large blocks of text, and your site visitors are no different. Make it easy on them and break your content up into digestible pieces that can be quickly scanned. An effective way to do this is through the use of bullet points.
- Get your priorities straight. Not all content is created equal and you want to make sure your highest-quality, most important information takes precedence. Do this by putting it first. Much like a news report, start with what matters and then build out from there.
- Use layman's terms. As a professional, it can be easy to resort to industry jargon and complex language. However, you need to speak directly to your audience. Instead of resorting to complicated words that require access to a dictionary, use layman's terms that everyone can understand.
Search Engine Optimization
After content, your SEO is most important. Think of this as your advertising tool and primary means of acquiring traffic. Without SEO, it's possible your investment in quality content will be wasted. Here are three SEO tips to keep in mind:
- Focus pages. Keyword stuffing is gone, but that doesn't mean strategic optimization is a thing of the past. Each page on your website should be optimized for a single keyword or topic. This means everything from the page title and heading to image, text and copy. The search engines reward pages that clearly identify what they're about.
- Enhance site speed. Google isn't shy about publicizing their affinity for site speed. In fact, they offer a slew of tools to help optimize and analyze your website's page loading speed. Ideally, you want your site to load in the blink of an eye, but anything under two seconds is considered fine.
- Invest in local. SEO is now heavily focused on local search. It's pertinent that your site is listed in all local directories and a participant on Google Places. This allows you to be searched for and found when consumers are looking for directions and contact information.
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Web design is a constantly evolving field and requires significant attention from savvy business owners. For 2015 and beyond, here are three tips to help you design an engaging website:
- Huge backgrounds rock. You've probably already seen sites like PayPal and Airbnb implement huge, fluid backgrounds, but you may not realize that thousands of other sites are starting to as well. In fact, it appears to be the new thing, since customers are responding so well. Take advantage of this new trend by implementing a similar design on your own site.
- Focus on colors. Your website color scheme shouldn't be taken lightly. The different colors you choose to use say a lot about your brand and may subconsciously play a role in whether or not your site converts well. Always ask for second opinions and gauge responses before implementing a particular scheme.
- Be responsive. Responsive web design is the new standard practice and any sites not willing to adopt it will surely be left behind. With the explosion of mobile devices over the past few years, it's important that you design a site that works well on a variety of screen sizes.
Finally, analytics is an important component of the website building process. While it's not anything tangible that users see, it's plays a significant role behind the scenes. It allows you to see how people are responding to your site and whether anything needs to be changed. Here are three final tips:
- Pay attention to sessions. One of the most important metrics you can pay attention to in any analytics program is total number of sessions. This tells you how many times your site has been accessed over a period of time and lets you know whether you're reaching anyone. Depending on the tool you use, it may also be able to tell you detailed information about specific users (such as age, gender, and location). Be sure to track sessions and study traffic trends.
- Analyze the bounce rate. Your bounce rate is a very telling metric and lets you know what percentage of users are landing on your home page and leaving before clicking on another site page. In essence, a high bounce rate means your home page isn't engaging enough, while a low bounce rate means everything is fine. Keep an eye on these rates and see if you can determine what's working and what isn't.
- Set up conversion goals. In Google Analytics, you can set up what are called conversion goals. These allow you to analyze a specific action such as moving from the home page to an order page, and study how people are responding. This can provide helpful information regarding whether your navigation, content and layout is working.
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Putting it All Together
While each of these four areas must be dealt with, they should always been examined in light of each other. Taking a completely segmented approach will leave you with inconsistencies and may cloud your overall brand image. However, when addressed from a top-down point of view, content, SEO, web design and analytics can harmoniously work together to create a successful, high-converting business website.