The Top 12 Elements of a Successful Website
Based on over 8 years’ experience as a Sydney web design company Magicdust has come up with the 10 key factors for a successful website. These elements are not really in order of importance as they are all valuable in their own right. Executed in unison, these 12 elements form the puzzle for a successful website and online presence of any business.
1. Implement Conversion tracking
You need to clearly understand what the purpose of your website is and how you are going to measure its success. Often this is measure by the rate of conversion your website or marketing efforts achieve; this can be anything from a purchase to converting a lead into an enquiry. Measuring this is orientated around goal tracking, and can often be measured from your Google Analytics account, as well as sales data or your website’s dashboard analytics. This is often fairly quick to set up and is a really great way to test your website’s usability and evaluate your current marketing efforts.
2. Compelling Call to actions
According to a recent article in the Guardian; ‘the modern day consumer will scan a page to try and pick out the piece of information they are looking for’. With shorter attention spans and an internet saturated with information, users don’t want to have to work hard to obtain the information they’re after- or be sold to.
A great way to increase your conversion rate is to introduce great call to actions throughout your website to guide users to what they’re after which is hopefully aligns with your point of conversion. Examples of these would be adding a phone number in the top right hand section of your website or having a ‘enquire now’ button throughout your website.
3. Effective about us pages
Often overlooked, the about us page is the go to section of a small business website. It has become the place to find out key information about the business such as: its services, governance, history, staff, and location and is also key for assessing its credibility.
The about us page should sum up your business and sell you as a company, much like what was traditionally considered to be your elevator pitch. If you’re struggling to craft these 200 or so words, it is worthwhile to consider employing a copywriter or web design company to help you craft the perfect pitch.
4. Intuitive User Journeys
When you know how customers are likely to move through your website, make sure you make these pages easy to find. Also when considering how you would like your customers to convert or what you would like them to do on your website, put convenience first. So if users are likely to visit your about us page first but you want them to get in contact for a quote, consider embedding an enquiry form on this page.
5. User Experience
Just as your user journey needs to be considered from a conversion perspective, your website’s usability also needs to be considered. Creating a positive and valuable experience for website visitors is important for creating a good first impression and demonstrating your value as a business. Make sure your navigation and site map is intuitive and easy to use, that all links are still active and all functionality (such as forms and galleries) still work as expected. The easier users can find information the more likely they are going to continue on your website’s conversion path. Also a great user experience creates an affinity with your company and gets your relationship off to a great start.
6. Mobile friendly
25% of internet traffic is now coming from mobile devices. And this number is increasing steadily, so before long just having a website that can be accessed on a mobile device won’t be enough. Your website will have to be optimized for mobile devices first and desktop computers second. In our experience, the best way to achieve a website that provides the same valuable functionality on all devices is with responsive design. The main intention of a successfully mobile optimized website is to provide a positive user experience. The easier your website is to use then the more likely users will stay on your website, and if they are doing this on a mobile device then case for investing in responsive design can’t be ignored.
7. Good content
Web 2.0 was all about the adage ‘content is king’, and while good quality content is still important for SEO and providing valuable information for your customers- it is nothing without thought out placement. User experience in our opinion holds precedence over even the most expertly crafted content and on the most successful websites the two are incredibly complimentary to each other. If your content is focused around what will be interesting, easy to digest and valuable to your users you’re on your way.
Excellent content however, manages to sell your business, products and services in a way which visitors find valuable and don’t sense they’re being sold to. This is achieved by having good quality content that is placed ‘in the right place at the right time’.
8. Choosing the right CMS Platform
The platform that your website is built on is integral to the scalability and longevity of your website. Most websites are built using a content management system these days, so you could describe this as the scaffolding of your website and the website design as the ‘façade’ of your website. By not investing in quality infrastructure on your website, you’ll be limiting your ability to keep your content and website up to date. This inevitably has dramatic cost implications, negative impacts on your SEO and if you neglect to choose a well-known platform this could mean running updates and keeping your website secure could be difficult. Make sure you research your CMS platform intensively before committing to ensure your website has a good foundation on which to grow.
The "Build it and they will come” philosophy sounds dubious in theory, and is even less realistic in practice with websites. It is great to simply have a presence online where you can direct people to for information and resources, but if you want to capitalize on the full potential of the internet for your business you need a marketing strategy to support your online presence. There are 4 main forms of online marketing: PPC, SEO, email marketing, social media. Certain types of online marketing work for certain businesses and industries better than others. But when you find your sweet spot it can be a game changer for your business so it is well worth exploring and experimenting with each avenue until you finely tune what works well for you.
10. Website design companies
Website companies are a dime a dozen these days, and they can often seem to be all the same and relatively disposable. However a good quality one is more difficult to find and when you do they will become more of a long term partner for you. Online marketing and websites often go hand in hand, and can be difficult to master if you’re not experienced with digital. A good website company will understand this but not hold any lack of knowledge over your head. When selecting a website design company, look for one that is focused on educating you and nurturing your business alongside you in the long term. Although online is a fast paced environment, often a patient and calculated approach will be the most robust, so be sure your website development company is interested in achieving long term gains for you, rather than short term wins.
11. Good design
Good design is the number one factor for a successful website. This is not only the aesthetic aspect of good design, but also the practical aspect. If a business manages to execute a impactful and quality website design that ties in with valuable functionality they will almost always experience a growth of leads.
A good design will tell you a lot, not only about the other aspects of a website’s success as outlined above, but about the business itself. Not only is your website design often the first impression of your website that customers will form a subjective opinion on, but it’s also reflective of your values. Ultimately, if you don’t place effort into your website functionality and design, this signals to the client that you place a similar amount of effort into other aspects of your business, ultimately causing them to lose faith in your ability to provide a specific good or service for them.
This perception of your ability to provide value is essential the end goal of your website and by including the 11 elements outlines in this article on your website; you’ll be on your way to demonstrating this value successfully. This article was contributed by Magicdust, a Sydney web design agency providing website development, e-commerce solutions and online marketing services for businesses throughout Australia.
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