While having a website might have been an optional extra ten years ago, it’s almost mandatory today for success in marketing your business and services.
It’s also not enough to just have a site. It’s not always so easy to get noticed in web-land with all the competition out there, so your site really needs to stand out above the rest to rank well with search engines and users.
Of course when companies develop websites they all want theirs to appear at or near the top of the first page of results when people are doing searches. Once upon a time it was possible to do all kinds of SEO tricks to get a good ranking with Google or other search engines – such as the copious use of popular keywords or participating in link schemes to get other sites to link to yours.
Now, the standards are much higher, and Google has clamped down on many of these activities and developed more sophisticated algorithms for ranking of sites, which focus squarely on high quality and relevance. Here are some of the required qualities.
The attributes of a high quality website
- Quality content – this is absolutely essential when it comes to SEO. All your web pages should be well-written, informative, truthful, engaging, up-to-date, and also provide sound solutions for potential clients and be free of spelling or grammatical errors. It’s also important to continually add fresh and informative content to your site – such as blog articles, videos or infographics. All content should also be unique (i.e. not copied or plagiarised from elsewhere).
- Good usability – your site should be easy for people to use and navigate around, quick-loading, and also have clear call to action buttons that make it easy to purchase your product or service, or contact you for a quote. Analytics tools (such as Google Analytics) can show you how long people are staying on your site and where they are exiting from – enabling you to make improvements as you go.
- Optimised for mobile – rather than having your desktop site appear in minute form on a smartphone, it’s better to have your site specifically optimised for mobile. A mobile-friendly site will have fonts that are easy for people to read without having to scroll sideways or turn their phone to horizontal, and have a simple and uncluttered design without ‘busy’ elements that could slow it down. You can check your site for mobile friendliness with this Google tool.
- An ‘About Us’ page – this should explain simply and clearly what your business provides for clients, so that your audience can find out what they need to know about your business, without having to trawl right through your site, which can be off-putting.
- Other features – links to social pages (so people can check out reviews and discussions), not too many popups (if used), and meta titles and descriptions for each page (these help explain your site for users when they do searches).
- Attractive design and appearance – a website is a bit like an online shopfront, and just like a physical shop it needs to be well designed, inviting, and well maintained to ensure it is spam (graffiti) free.
A quality website, along with other online tools such as cloud computing, social media, internet fax, online storage, and programs that enable you to send large files by email, can help businesses to be more professional, efficient and successful. A poor quality website is just not going to cut it with either Google or with customers, so make sure to put plenty of effort into making yours stand out!
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