That’s roughly the number of websites in existence today – but because new pages are born and others die every single minute, and more than three-quarters of all websites are inactive, it’s virtually impossible to get a real count. What’s much easier to imagine is just how important it is to stand out in a screaming sea of personal and product marketers trying to get your attention online. And users? Well, even your grandmother has thrown away her phone book. Today’s consumers have big expectations, and they’re not easy to please. They’re also web savvy, impatient and mobile. There are five major – and hundreds of minor – things to do when building a new website or freshening up an old one. These are the biggies.
- Reinforce your brand David Ogilvy described brand as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” When someone visits your website, your brand should be obvious. Every element from typeface, color-scheme, text and graphics should define who you are. It should also match your off-the-web collateral. Authenticity matters.
- Make it look good First impressions are a big deal – in person and on the web. Your website should look interesting, which doesn’t mean overly complicated. Today, minimalist websites are the trend. Many feature only one perfect picture or graphic on the home page, and are designed with great typography and an appealing color scheme. Interesting gets them to stay.
- Fill it with good content A great looking website without relevant content is like going on a date with someone who’s unbelievably attractive, but has no substance. You really want to date the woman, but you just can’t. To continue the date metaphor, remember the old boyfriend who monopolized the conversation and tired you out just listening? Good web content doesn’t mean more content. Make it something he cares about.
- Optimize it No matter how good your website looks, it only adds value to your company or brand if it can be found. Relevancy seems to be the key to an optimized site – that and smart SEO. Update content regularly with a blog, new photos, new banners and a social media feed. Another key is keywords. This means that the textual content contains words people use in their search. Make it easy for search engines to match you with your target audience.
- Make it interactive Once a user has found you, you want him to stay on your site, even share it with others. Interaction is one of the best ways to accomplish this. Include a video or an audio clip. Create a blog and ask for comments. Create a survey or quiz and provide instant results. Make it easy to share content with social media buttons – and ask for the share. Provide relevant downloads and even more important make your website mobile-friendly.