The Importance of Getting Your Website Right
By Andrew Rufener
You finally took the decision to make the effort and incur the cost of developing a website for your company, your club, or for yourself. Now you naturally want this site to be beautiful, relevant and to have a big audience, right? We all do, but there are a few things that you should ensure you get right, so let’s get right to it.
Apart from the obvious that your website should look attractive to your target audience, there are a few other things to consider that will make a real difference to how much traffic you will get. Consider the following 10 point “checklist” as a starting point.
1. Structure and Navigation
When designing your website think long and hard about the structure to make it simple and logical to navigate. Convoluted websites with complex structure lead to visitors not finding what they seek and abandoning your site never to return.
2. Content and “Flow”
Make sure your content is relevant and compelling. More often than not “less is more” if it is compelling. Ensure a logical flow so visitors can traverse the site easily. Optimize keywords to attach searchers and engines.
3. Navigation and Landing Pages
Ensure your navigation is logical and well-structured and consider adding landing pages, allowing it to be linked to and to land directly on a key page rather than forcing visitors to navigate.
4. Title, URL, & Description
Ensure that your pages have titles, a relevant URL and descriptions to help them draw high CTR in the rankings.
5. Play Nice with Search Engines
Ensure that search engines can crawl and index your site and “tell” search engines how to crawl your site. This will help ensure that the search engines index and rank the most important parts of your site that you wish to share.
6. Search Engine Optimization & Measure
After having ensured that the search engines can access and index your site, measure, optimize and repeat. A site isn’t something static and you will need to continue to optimize in order to improve performance and remain relevant.
7. Static versus Dynamic Content
Static and stale content drops in the search engine rankings, so ensure you refresh your content and add relevant content regularly.
Link to other relevant sites and more importantly make sure other sites link to you. The more other sites link to you, the more relevant you become – literally as well as for the search engines.
If you have social media accounts that are relevant, and which you can use and update, link them to your site to create additional outlets for content and additional links to your website.
Often overlooked, make sure your site is secure. This includes updating plugins for example if you are using WordPress, or generally ensure you apply security updates to your system. A hacked system targeting other systems will certainly affect your reputation and possibly also the way search engines treat you.
If the above list seems daunting to you, don’t despair. There is ample help you can get from professionals to get these things right, but make sure that you use these points listed above as a “checklist” to help select a supplier and to help ensure that your website blooms as it deserves.