Here are 5 things I feel a website should have in order to succeed in the ever-changing world of the web:
Number One: Your website must look good on all devices.
You have heard a lot about responsive design, there is a good reason for it. Google for instance has now made this part of their algorithmic criteria. You are now punished if your website is not mobile-friendly. So what once was a great bonus is now a must have. The beauty of this that it is not that hard and it’s not that expensive. If you have a website that you like a lot you can convert it into a responsive design for a lot less money than you may think. If you are not happy with your current web presence, this is a great time to build a new site and make sure it looks great everywhere. Now when I say everywhere, what do I mean? Your site has to look good on mobile phones, pads and of course on a large monitor. For whatever reason, nowadays some people are forgetting about the big beautiful monitors out there. You have to make sure your website looks good on high-resolution settings.
Number Two: Content.
Content is king, always was, always will be. Your website needs to have more than just a few static webpages. You must have quality content that is consistently added. Google and other search engines want to see good quality content and you must avoid having stale content that never changes. Imagine a brick-and-mortar store that never changes in inventory? After a while they would be gone and so will your website. Well, it may not technically be gone by the number of visitors will decline to the point where it’s not even worth having a site up and all. The great thing is that the advent of the blog has made it so easy to add content. And if your site doesn’t have a blog, it’s easy to add. One thing I hear is that people have nothing to write about. Something is happening every single day at your company, are you saying that you can’t write a few paragraphs? I don’t buy it, but I do know it’s not that easy. You have to schedule writing and treat it as any task that can’t be ignored. Think of it like this, one article a week, is over 200 pages in Google’s index after just a couple of years. Want to see your rankings improve? This is better than anything you can do, And much better than hiring unscrupulous SEO firms.
Number Three: Consistent Branding.
Your brand must be consistent throughout all your channels. This includes your website, print collateral, email marketing, your packaging, and even your office/store decor. There is nothing less professional than receiving a beautiful mailer from a company, then you go to the website and it looks nothing like that mailing. When designing a logo, think of where that logo will be used. Make sure that it will translate for all types of media. Your logo is the best place to start in terms of branding. Everyone notices your logo and if it’s bad everyone sees it. The great thing is that logos have come down in price so much over the years. Once the domain of expensive marketing firms, now there are numerous ways to design a top-quality logo for short money.
Number Four: Authentic Imagery.
Wherever possible, use real photography. Avoid stock photography if you can. Now stock photography certainly has its place, but it should be to fill in places not your main content images. I would much rather see a photo taken in someone’s office, rather than a stock photo of pretty people smiling at the camera. It makes you look like everybody else, you’re better off being unique. Digital photography has made photo shoots much less expensive and there are many quality photographers available all over the country. If you can’t afford that, then your smart phone can take excellent photos as well.
Number Five: Limited SEO.
Yeah, I know you’re shaking your head and they’re saying WHAT? I will explain. We have a cottage industry that has come about to try and outsmart the Googlebot. So what’s happening is you have all these companies vying for your business promising things they can’t deliver and you end up with a horrible website. Think of it like this, what if they do improve your search engine ranking and more people come to your site. But then the content isn’t even readable, doesn’t flow and sounds terrible. This will not gain new business, in fact it may hurt your business. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use tried-and-true search engine optimization techniques. But, as I have always said quality consistently added content will improve your rankings over time. There is no magic bullet, so use a common sense approach and you will succeed. Also, if you get nothing else from this article, avoid Black hat SEO companies at all cost, they will get you removed from the index.
Bottom Line: These of course are not the only things you need to succeed. But these are five I think are crucial. I would love to hear you feedback below.