How to Make Your Website a Business Tool
Brochure style websites
Many small business people tend to consider a brochure style website to be sufficient. It’s a site they will send potential clients to in order to reassure them that they have a web presence.
In general these sites have a homepage, an about page and a services page. Not really enough content for Google to decide the website has credibility and authority which means that the site does not come up in search.
If a site does not come up in search then it means that there will be no visitor traffic from people looking for the services or products provided by the business.
A website that comes up in search
A business website that come up in search is of course the best possible scenario to plan towards. In this way the site adds value to your business. By value we mean a visually pleasing window into your business, a website that is easy to navigate and useful to users and a sales tool that works for you 24/7 the whole year around.
Spending the extra money on setting up a professional business tool online will cost more as there is extra work that needs to be done. Keywords need to be researched, content written to include keywords, copy written in a way that will make the website visitors want to engage further and each page has to be optimised so that search engines find them.
Spend a little time to review and work through the processes below to understand what needs to be done to design and build a website that will be a business tool and will contribute to the bottom line.
Getting a website that works for you
Read on for more information on the additional input required as well as a cost estimate for each stage. This is what needs to be done to make your website an asset rather than having a brochure style website only.
Your website’s SEO keywords are the key words and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. A website that is well optimized for search engines “speaks the same language” as its potential visitor base with keywords for SEO that help connect searchers to your site.
Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the search marketing field. Ranking for the right keywords can make or break your website. By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.
Developing the Site flow and SEO Components
As an initial exercise to determine the information architecture of the site, or where what pages need to go, and how the flow of a website should work a sitemap in a spreadsheet format is an invaluable tool.
In addition to identifying all menu items, the drop down sub menu items and how the pages link to each other this sitemap needs to also already show all keywords to be used. This includes adding keywords to urls, title tags, meta descriptions, header tags and alt tags etc.
In this way the architecture or map of the site is determined up front allowing the designers and developer to easily work on the site. It also identifies what content needs to be written and what keywords need to appear in this content. It identifies the image tags that need to be added and is in general an excellent start off document.
The copy on your website is your salesperson. The copy on a website is not just a bunch of words meant to fill in the blocks left by your designer. It is the speech or presentation made by your salesperson. It is your chance to captivate your visitors and persuade them that your product or service is worth considering.
Copywriting is the art of writing copy (words used on web pages, ads, brochures and in fact any promotional material) that sells you, your product or service. By extension it’s copy that persuades your customers to take action to contact you with a view to doing business.
It means that your copy on your website replaces your sales staff. Instead of hiring an expensive salesperson to cold call potential customers, drive across town to see new customers, to send out mailed sales campaigns or email bomb a bunch of maybes that never open their emails you have a permanent staff member on call 24/7 all year around.
Take some care in preparing your copy. If you do not have an in-house skilled copy writer you should outsource this part of your website build to us or to an external copywriter.
The importance of engaging images cannot be overstated. The first impression a user of your website gets is the look and feel of a website. The images are a huge contributor to how the website comes across.
Low resolution, fuzzy and unclear images of your product or services will not do anything to help sell you or your business. Professional images taken by your appointed professional photographer will work well. If you do not want to take on the expensive of using a professional photographer then allow us to select images for you that are excellent quality and on topic. Of course these will be generic. That is they will be on topic but will not display your specific service or product.
For example. If you provide corporate training the images will be of trainers in a corporate training environment but will not show you. If you want to have yourself in the image you will need to appoint a professional photographer.
There will be no copyright issues as we cover the fee. Should our recommended portfolio of images not be suitable after a second iteration we would look to client to provide images that appeal.
A recent trend has been to showcase a looping video instead of a hero image at the top of the home page. Using a video loop can create an immediate impression and adds interactivity to the page. This is optional of course. A superb example of this may be viewed here: https://www.invisionapp.com/
A website design is both a creative endeavour as well as a scientific exercise. The best web designers not only present your images and copy in the most visually pleasing way but will also take into consideration the users experience. That means it has to be intuitive for a user to be able to navigate and enjoy the website.
Besides the user experience a designer also needs to ensure that the information architecture works and that the lay-out and structure of the entire site works well for users who need to navigate around and find information, buy goods, or send through enquiries. This all starts in design when working with small to medium sized web design projects. Of course larger projects will require UX/UI specialist departments.
The cost of the design of a website depends on how many different pages need to be layed out and designed. Other design elements such as icon development, video preparation and image correction will also impact on the design fee.
The cost of building a website depends on a number of things. If there is a different design for each page it will take longer to translate the design into code. More complex items such as calendars, booking forms, long form enquiry and application forms, online shops and membership sites will cost more to develop.
Of course the fact that websites now have to work on mobile devices adds to the complexity of the build. A website now has to be responsive. That is the site needs to automatically respond to the size of the screen of the users’ device. This is not as straightforward as one imagines. In fact in many cases the designer needs to advise which elements of the main desktop size site need to be hidden in order to make it easier for a smartphone user to get the most out of their website experience.
A sitemap on the site itself, as opposed to the sitemap used for the development, is a list of pages of a website accessible to crawlers or users. Sitemaps make up relationships between pages and other content components. They show the shape of information in the format of an overview. Sitemaps can demonstrate organization, navigation, and labeling system.
Sitemaps are an important way of communication with search engines. While in robots.txt you tell search engines which parts of your site to exclude from indexing, in your sitemap you tell search engines where you’d like them to go.
On-Page SEO Optimisation
In search engine optimization, on-page optimization refers to factors that have an effect on your website or webpage listing in natural search results. These factors are controlled by the web site administrator or by the coding placed on the page by the developer. Examples of on-page optimization include actual HTML code, meta tags, keyword placement and keyword density.
A site’s title tag is by far the most important website optimisation element. A site’s meta description should contain a brief description of the website while focusing on the areas and services that the business is specialised in. This small piece of text can be considered as a selling snippet, if a searcher finds it appealing he is likely to click and go inside your page to find out more information.
In a nutshell on-page optimisation refers to all measures that can be taken directly within the website in order to improve its position in the search rankings. Examples of this include measures to optimize the content or improve the meta tags.
Site load speed optimisation
Minimise HTTP requests by reducing on page components, reduce server response time, enable compression, enable browser caching, minify resources, optimise images by focusing on size – format- and the src attribute. Optimise CSS delivery, prioritise above-the-fold content, reduce the number of plugins you use on your site, reduce redirects.
According to requirements.