Now there’s a question. One that has many different answers. If only it was as simple as ‘Build it and they will come’. its a good thing Kevin Costner wasn’t a web designer!
There are two main reasons why people don’t come to your website – 1. They don’t know its there or 2. they wont gain anything by visiting. We can help you address these issues but it can be more complex than you think.
Getting Your Website Found
Well there is an easy place to start letting your customers know you have a website – tell them! Word of mouth is not to be underestimated. Its free and is one of the best sources of referrals. Announce it on your Facebook page, email your customers and tell them about it. I know this sounds obvious but you would be amazed by the amount of people who miss out on easy referrals through this method. You can also add your website address to all kinds of things – posters, business cards, flyers, signs, email signatures, social media sites and lots more. If people are interested in your services/product already and they need more information then if they have seen your web address then they will visit.
Next thing to do is getting your website found on Google and other search engines such as Bing or Yahoo!. As a web designer we wish it was as easy as just putting a website out there and Google will do their magic for us. Its a bit a of black art to be honest and there are no definitive answers. What works for some may not work quite so well for others. You then have to compete with other already established websites for the top places in Google searches. Your probably wondering right now how to do this but we do have a lot of experience in this. We have a wee list we work through to get you the best results.
- First thing to do is to examine your site and fully optimize it so it can be read easier by search engines. There is a lot of code behind the scenes that helps this work. Imagine one website with pictures only – Google could find this but it wont know what any of the pictures are or what they are for. Whereas if we tell Google behind the scenes a description of each picture, what they are for and in what context plus a lot of words we want associated with it Google will like this better. Its like going to the supermarket and looking on the shelf to see a brand-less bottle with no info compared to one with colours and information screaming ‘LOOK AT ME’. Its obvious which one will rank higher. Other things that help your page rank higher is site speed – this is where good design and solid web hosting comes in. If your site loads slow then why should it be in front of others who are fully optimised?
- Next thing on our list is to research which words potential customers would search for your site/products. For example a potential customer could search for ‘Sausage Rolls Glasgow’. If you are selling sausage rolls you would want to have those buzz words on your site so Google can match up the search to your website. You have to put yourself in your customers shoes and try lots of searches with multiple variations. Once we have compiled a list of these buzz words we can then look at your website content and start adjusting it to suit.
- Having a website is just the beginning. You then have to establish your web presence. You can start spreading this by launching matching social media sites to run alongside your business. These then have to be updated regularly to engage more customers. Sometimes this can be a full time job. I’m sure you’ve all seen great social media campaigns recently like competitions and giveaways. These are designed to engage customers and get them onto your page then website which will then hopefully register a sale. You’ve all heard the term ‘go viral’ well this is what marketing is all about. I saw a steak house in Glasgow getting over 30000 entries to a competition the other week. This was a fantastic example which was a combination of a giveaway and paid advertising. Advertising on social media is another topic that ill cover another time.
- The next step is getting links to your website. The more links pointing to your website then Google is going to think it is popular and so it gets a boost up the page rankings. There are two kind of backlinks – high quality backlinks from sites such as yell.com and Google+. These work great as they are from reputable websites. However there is also bad backlinks that can have a negative effect on your google listing. There’s all sorts of scams out there to promise you hundreds of backlinks to your site for low costs. These are to be avoided at all costs. All these links will be created on spam websites and fly by night pages – Google takes a dim view on these. There are thousands of ways to get good backlinks – getting involved in discussions, business listings, directories, social media etc.
As you can see it can be quite complex!
Why Should People Visit My website?
Well this one is a lot more straightforward. If you want people to visit your site then you have to make it worth their while. If visitors don’t get the information they need or find it difficult to navigate or load your site then you will have lost a customer. There’s a few things you have to take into consideration and see it from your customers point of view:
- Your site has to be visually appealing – the colour scheme has to fit your brand and you have to keep peoples eyes transfixed. Im not saying we need CGI or the full 3D cinema experience but your site should be well designed with good graphics and everything in its logical place. You want it to look professional, appealing and organised.
- Your site needs to be easy to navigate. If people find it hard to get to where they want to go they will click away from your site. Good menu structure and all information in the right place is absolutely crucial.
- Your site needs to load fast. If you click on a site and it takes over 10 seconds to load then chances are you wont last the ten seconds before you click away to another site. For example our website here loads in under 1 second (to date – were planning on making this even faster!). There’s multiple ways of improving your load time – optimised images, caching, CDN, private server etc. (yes – we do them all!)
- All your products and relevant information should be there within one click. you cant expect people to click through multiple pages to get to things. Giving people what they want/need quickly makes them happy.
- Good content – This goes without saying. All your content has to be of high quality, well written and relevant.
- Regular updates – Keeping your website regularly updated is also another underused tool to climb the google ranks.
There’s a whole lot more I could go on about but I think that’s enough food for thought for a Friday!
Getting all of this in place is a lot of work. Thats why this is our full time job. Your most precious commodity is your time. Do you have enough time to devote to all of this? We can help you out with any of it. For example we have custom web design packages that encompass all of the above. We also have business listing SEO packages that list your website on over 500 business directories. These are just a few examples of what we can do to get you started.
You can see some bad websites from the 90’s here as a huge no, No, NO!! for your design and it should give you a laugh at how truly awful they were: 90’s websites