When building a website, it’s important to begin with a clear focus and plan. When you have clarity about which direction you want to go in, it makes it much easier to set and achieve your website goals. In the article below, we’re outlining 5 tricks to help you succeed as you build your first website.
Target Your Audience
In the course of building your website, you have to keep in mind who you’re doing this for. Your target audience should be clear in your mind. A grocery store near an elementary school will likely have a lot of parents of younger children as customers. If you sell products for aging citizens, then your audience will be the elderly and their caretakers. So who are you building your website for? What sort of content would be useful to them? Take some time and write out a profile for your ideal visitor. Imagine their age, gender, geographic location, income, and other relevant information. Use this profile to give your website a clear direction and focus.
Stay Up to Date
There is no shortage of outdated websites online. Some come in the form of blogs that haven’t been updated in over a year, while others sport layouts and themes that were popular during the Clinton administration. An outdated website quickly loses credibility with its audience. Not only that, but the older a website is, the more outdated its technology. Keep your website up to date by keeping your content and information current. You should also stay on top of website trends that could affect your website, such as SEO and HTML standards. And speaking of SEO…
Search engine optimization is more than just a set of tricks. In its purest form, SEO is a way to make your website easy for search engines (and ultimately people) to find. This is supremely important in that 91% of adults use search engines regularly when they go online. A lot can be said and has been said about the best way to go about optimizing a website, but there are a few core rules you should keep in mind.
Fresh Content: Without content that is fresh and relevant to your niche or industry, your website can quickly grow stale. Search engines look for websites that are updated regularly, and use this as criteria for ranking. Your content should not only be fresh, but also unique and relevant to the rest of your site. In other words, stay on topic and be original. Take a new take on a subject whenever you can instead of writing just another blog post on the topic.
Relevant Keywords: The keywords you use throughout your website matter. Find a keyword research tool and find out what keywords your customers are searching for. When it comes to keyword popularity, it’s best to aim for somewhere in the middle: Keywords that are popular but not too popular. That way you’re more likely to rank for search terms that aren’t as competitive. Include your main keywords in your title tag and URL, and otherwise as often as you can while still sounding coherent.
Accessible HTML: Your site should be accessible to those with visual, hearing, and mobility impairments. Use an accessibility validator to test your website against currently accessibility standards, and modify accordingly. Making your website accessible to those with disabilities also makes it easier for search engines to crawl.
The Internet can sometimes be a cold, sterile place, which makes it all the more important to put a human face and feel to your website. Unless your website is of a strictly technical nature, always remember that you’re a human using a website to communicate with other humans. You can make your website more personable by:
Using a conversational tone when writing and publishing content. Avoid excess industry jargon, big words, and overt sales talk.
Creating an “About” page. This is especially useful if you work with a team. Create a mini bio for each member of the team that includes not only their role, but also hobbies, nicknames, and other interesting tidbits.
Including contact information at the top of every page. By making it easy to get in touch, you’re creating trust with your audience.
If you were planning to just eyeball it when it comes to website traffic, there is a better way. Website analytics is a measurable method for tracking the success of a website. Whether you measure success by number of unique page views, monthly downloads, monthly sales, or newsletter subscriptions, you can see how well you’re doing by using analytics software to track your website’s progress. Among other features, you can also use analytics to see which pages of your website are most popular, and which pages people tend to exit from. This makes analytics software a valuable tool for tweaking your website for best performance. Google Analytics continues to be a great choice for those just jumping into the world of website analytics. It’s easy to install and user friendly, and also includes a bunch of great features like goal setting and split testing. It’s also very customizable. You can segment users into groups for easier tracking, such as customers from Milwaukee who spend $50 or more each month.
Your website doesn’t have to be one of those that eventually falls by the Internet wayside. As the old adage goes, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Putting a strategy in place ahead of time will give your website a much greater chance of success.
Have you picked a domain for your first website yet? If not, click here to search for and register your domain.