Five things your website needs to be successful.

Five Things Your Website Needs to Be Successful

You probably know by now that a website is absolutely essential to the success of your business. Your website is your first impression to potential customers and clients. Before they pick up the phone to call you or make the trip to your brick and mortar, they are online. Your website is where they find out who you are and what you can do for them. Because your website is still working hard for you, even when your business is closed for the night, you need to make sure it is portraying the right message, in an appealing and concise way.

Of course, that sounds easier said than done, right? Designing a website can be really daunting if you don’t know where to start. Strategy? Functionality? Branding? Combining all three of these aspects is crucial for communicating your brand’s promise. If these things are working for you, you will engage your ideal customer and elevate your brand.

Within 15 seconds of landing on your homepage, a customer makes a decision about you. Let’s take a look at the 5 things your website needs to make sure you are making the right impression.

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A Strategy

The word strategy can be intimidating, but it essentially means having a plan. It is important to have a plan of attack before starting the content and design of your website. A strategy allows you to stay on track by always having a resource to return to when difficult questions come up. A place to turn when you’re unsure where to go next.

To determine what your strategy is, you can start by answering a couple of these questions:

Will you be using a content management system such as WordPress?
What pages do you need on your website?
What are the main objectives of your website? To grow your email list, to make sales?
What is your brand promise?
Who is your ideal audience and what do you need to communicate with them?

When planning your site, it is important to keep in mind why you have a website. Your website is for your customers to get to know you. You should be thinking about what they will be searching for and how you would like them to find that information. Your strategy will allow you to direct your customers through your site so that you are able to communicate your story effectively.

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A Clear Navigation

One of the main components of a successful website is clear navigation. Your navigation should include only the pages that add value to your customer. With the rise of smartphones and responsive websites, drop-down menus can be very intrusive, so it is best to avoid them. If you have additional pages, you can use one of the following options:

Add secondary navigation in the footer.
Combine those pages with existing pages when possible.
Add those links within the content.

It is also important that you are clear when labeling your navigation tabs. Your main navigation is not the place to be clever or unique. When someone lands on your site, within seconds they should be able to find the page they are looking for, so be clear and honest about your page names.

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Clear Call To Actions

A call to action is typically a button or link that offers instruction or a directive to your customers. Good call to actions will lead your customers around your website in the order you would like. Strategy.

Ideally, you should have a call to action on every page of your website. For example:

If you are an e-commerce brand, on your homepage you might have a showcase of your best-selling products. Your call to action might guide them to your products page.

If you are a service-based brand, your about us page might have a call to action leading your customers to your services page.

If you are a restaurant, your call to action might direct customers to your online menu.

It is important to note that you can have more than one call to action on a page. You want your customers to easily navigate to the information they are after, so you might have side-by-side buttons so they can select the option that suits them best. These buttons should be distinct from each other, so the customer knows which one to click. For example:

If you have a potential customer who has just landed on your site for the first time, you might want to direct them to your about us page.

If you have a potential customer who has visited your site twice before, you might want them to land on your services page.

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SEO

If you are an entrepreneur, you probably know about SEO or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is essentially the way Search Engines (Google, Bing) rank websites when we search on their platforms. It is how your website is found by people who don’t follow you. In other words, it is one of those things your website needs to be successful. Try searching a phrase such as Minneapolis Design Studios. The listings that come up on that first page of Google have the highest SEO rankings for those particular keywords. That is the goal of SEO.

If you want to naturally grow your website traffic, without marketing and promotion, you need to focus your attention on your website SEO. SEO is constantly evolving, so this isn’t a one and done project. To get started, try these basic SEO tips:

Set up Google Search Console.
Select keywords for each website page strategically and incorporate them into your website copy.
Write page titles and meta descriptions for each web page.
Make sure all of your images are optimized (size of the file, the name, the alt text).

Remember, there isn’t an exact science to SEO, so be patient and continue working on it. Your website doesn’t do you a lot of good if no one can find it organically.

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Blog + Opt-ins

Visibility is so important for a business and a blog will keep people coming to your website. You want to position yourself as an expert in your field, so quality content is essential to building trust. And while you are building trust, your blog will be working hard on building your SEO as well.

I know blogging can feel like another thing you need to add to your to-do list, but it is truly one of the most impactful ways to engage your audience and elevate your brand. Still not sure? Elle and Company has a great post on this. Having a content strategy will help you stay on track. Here are a few things to consider when determining your content strategy:

Who is your target audience and how are they finding you?
What are your target audiences interests?
Of your target audiences interests, where is there a gap in knowledge that you can fill?
Are there additional topics that overlap with those main interests?

A good content strategy is planned for impact. Start by filling out an editorial calendar that includes blog posts + social media marketing. Be specific. Do you want to post on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 am? Do you want to post one blog post a week, followed by social media posts the rest of the weekdays? You will also want to consider different media. Do you want to use video and post on YouTube? Do you want to create infographics? These questions can be answered by determining your target audience and when they are searching out content and how.

Whatever you decide, you should also add an opt-in to each blog post. That could be a free checklist download or simply an opt-in to your newsletter. Leverage that space to grow your email list subscribers.

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Now that you know the things your website needs to be successful, you can implement them into your site. Remember, in all of your website decisions, keep your strategy and customers in mind. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us: courtney@gracebuiltco.com.

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