There are a lots of things to think about when you things you create your website, and I’ll try to cover as many as I can on this blog, but here are a few of the key points to remember to get you started:
All in a name
Registering the domain name you want can be tricky, but try to ensure it includes keywords or your company name. eg. pens-and-pencils.co.uk or abc-pencils.com. Try to make it easy to remember and not too long. Consider what sites use similar domain names – someone mistyping your domain name could end up going to a rival site. Stick to common extensions like co.uk, .com and org.uk. You don’t need dozens of domain names unless you are trying to protect a brand – focus on one and only market that domain.
Content is king
Attention spans are short on the web, so content needs to be clear and concise. Keep all the most important information in the most prominent positions and make sure it includes the kinds of words people will be searching for. Most importantly, clearly indicate how they can get in touch, make an order or do whatever it is you really what them to do when visiting your site. Remember that Google loves well structured, relevant content and standards-compliant code as much as your ‘real’ visitors.
Finding your way
Make sure people can find what they need easily, so don’t over complicate the menus. Titles and headings need to make sense and try to minimise the amount of clicking and scrolling required. Try not to be tempted by gimmicks – like navigation that only reveals itself if you hover over a particular image. The key principle is to not make your visitors think too hard when they come to your site.
We believe in keeping things simple, making sure the content is the focus. Great images can really help, but optimise them and ensure that you have the appropriate rights. Make sure everything is clear and that there aren’t too many things going on at once. Check out your site on different browsers and different screen sizes, including mobile devices. You might also need to consider how people with poor eyesight would view your site.
Get yourself seen
A great website is no use if nobody can find it. Your pages need to be indexed by Google and other search engines, so you need to submit site maps and provide links to your pages on other sites. Google takes account of the ‘quality’ of links, so a link on BBC news is going to do wonders for your ranking, whereas a link on an obscure blog might not help at all. Make the most of free directories like Google Places and use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to promote your website.
Keep them coming back
Regularly update content to keep people interested in your site and provide new offers to entice them to buy from you. A carefully targeted email newsletter or promotion can be very effective in bringing people back to your site. Keep mentioning your site in blog posts, Facebook and Twitter – that’ll also boost your search engine rankings.