Having a competitive website is a crucial part of your marketing plan in today’s digital world.
Web users need to be able to find your site, be drawn in by your images and content, and navigate their way around to find the information that they need.
So how do you accomplish all of that?
Search Engine Optimization
You can have the most beautifully designed, knowledgeable website, but if it isn’t optimized the chances of people finding it are low.
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your website show up on the first page of results on search engines to help gain visibility for your brand. Think about it, when was the last time you went to the second page of Google?
Some simple ways of improving your SEO are producing strategic content, using relevant keywords, and labeling your images with alt text.
It is important to follow major changes in what search engine algorithms look for so you can keep your website up to date. In May of 2021, Google doubled down on the importance of User Experience (UX) in determining its Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking, and this year have implemented additional changes to how page experience impacts ranking. It’s changes like this that makes SEO an ongoing challenge.
Visually Pleasing Design and Branding
Websites that have a visually pleasing design and cohesive branding with the rest of your digital and physical presence give viewers a professional and knowledgeable impression. You want to draw your visitors in with clear, unique imagery, complementing colors, and easy to read fonts that convey your brand.
Keeping your website up to date with new trends for design, without changing your brand, is key. If you compare good websites from just a few years ago to now for the same company, it is most likely going to look different. With upgrades in technology and changes in what users want to see, your website should be ever-evolving.
Use your buyer personas to help you identify what your customers look for in a company’s branding.
Compelling Content and Quality Pages
Now your customer is on your page (thanks to SEO) and they are impressed (thanks to your beautiful homepage). It’s time to keep them there with your content. You want to feature informative, well-designed pages about your company and your products or services. Include photos and videos to help sell your products or services.
Having a blog that highlights your expertise and paints your company as a thought leader is great for increasing website traffic and boosting SEO. Blogs are a chance for you to show off your brand’s personality along with providing information to your viewers. Include links for internal pages and external pages (make sure they open in a new tab, never redirect off your site!), utilize headings, and create pillar pages to help make your blog successful.
Navigation and User Experience
It’s critical to have good navigation and user experience so that your viewers can find your extraordinary content.
Your navigation menu should be simple and straightforward with a clear path that viewers can take. If you have a lot of pages that you want to direct people to, utilize drop-down menus. These should be streamlined as well so that it isn’t overwhelming to viewers.
This ties into user experience (UX). Your website visitors should have an easy time moving around and finding information that they’re looking for.
Having a mobile-responsive website can be the make or break difference for mobile users. If your website does not give the optimal experience to both desktop and mobile users, you are at risk of losing a large percentage of the internet’s users- with mobile devices making up for more than half of the all internet traffic.
Loading time is also a critical component of UX. Web users want information quickly and are often unwilling to wait for a page to load. Use photos and videos strategically as they can increase load time.
Analytics and Data
Now that you’ve put all this work into your website, it is time to get something out of it. Look at analytics and data to figure out what’s working and what you should tweak. We like using tools like Hotjar to determine what the most engaging content is on a website through heat maps.
Making small tweaks in language and producing more content like your most popular blog page can go a long way in increasing your digital presence.
Designing a competitive website can seem like quite the task to take on. If it seems overwhelming or too time-consuming for your business, consider partnering with a web design agency for this project. You’ll get a beautiful product that you have 100% control over, without taking away time from running your business.
Thanks for reading,
Editor’s Note: Originally published in April 2019, this blog has been updated and edited for content in March 2022.