How to Build a Successful Website: 11 Critical Factors


Whether you’re on a shoestring budget and doing your best with your web presence or you have an enterprise-level operation, a solid website opens the door to many opportunities.

Good websites put the visitor first, provide a great user experience, and can become powerful marketing engines.

You invest in digital marketing to drive people to your website. Now you need to give them the experience they expect when they arrive.

Here’s how.

1. Clearly define your goals

Although we must always start a web or marketing project with objectives, we must consider both ourselves and the user of our website.

The site can only generate traffic, leads and sales when we make sure that we have what our target audience wants and can deliver it to them satisfactorily.

Setting goals for your organization and your user should be easy to do.

If the goals don’t match up, you’ll likely have a problem where you’re looking to make a profit without being able to deliver the product and experience your audience is looking for.

It is painful to invest time and money in a site only to learn that everyone is bouncing back, where no one understands why they should buy from you. This is a big clue that you’ve focused too much on your end goals and not theirs.

2. Budget correctly

Get ready to invest in your web presence. I’ve known a lot of brands that spend too much on their sites and do cheap marketing. Conversely, there are those who want to get into marketing and won’t put anything on their website.

Find the CMS, technology and type of site that’s right for you.

On the bookshelf? Know what the limits are so you don’t have to throw it away and start over before you get a payback.

Custom design and/or custom code? Make sure it’s not overdone and pushing your break-even point too far into the future.

Don’t be over or undersold. Know what your initial investment is and what is also the incremental investment to make the right decisions to support your business.

3. Earn the trust of your audience

Be clear and transparent in what you offer and what you want your audience to do.

Know what motivates them and what makes you strong.

Take advantage of this.

Too often, websites lack the emotional or credibility connections necessary to gain trust and the lead or sale.

A great example that I often see are e-commerce sites (and even service company websites) that don’t have a substantial About Us page.

Users want to know who they are doing business with, not that you are just another merchant site in the space.

If you can’t put names, images, culture, philosophy, or some type of story on your website, you won’t have the ability to say what you do.

Customers care about your intentions.

Even cost-conscious shoppers who are simply looking for the lowest price should feel like you’re a legitimate business before entering their credit card details.

4. Find ways to stand out

Differentiation is essential.

You can still use a website template and look different.

By customizing images and styles to suit your brand, you can stand out.

This goes hand in hand with gaining trust.

When you tell your story and create factors such as price, quality, customer service, what you profit from, how you give back, etc., you create the necessary connection to stand out from the rest of the market. sites modeled and quickly launched. sell the same products or services.

5. Focus on usability and user experience

Make it easy for your audience to access the content they want.

If you are a viral video website, land users on video pages.

If you have products or services, make sure users can get to the desired page with as few clicks as possible.

In addition to having intuitive main menu navigation optimized for mobile and desktop experiences, consider the location of your search box and other clues to access popular content.

Don’t assume a user is ready to click multiple times to get to the latest chat video or best-selling product that everyone wants.

6. Don’t Forget SEO Fundamentals

It seems like a basic thing, but don’t forget about SEO.

At a minimum, know how search engines crawl and index your content and make sure the basic on-page factors are optimized.

There are many ways to facilitate this, including via plugins and semantic coding.

SEO has technicalities and goes beyond the page, but if you can at least ensure that your content can be indexed (and is indexed) and that you customize all elements of the page to literally represent what your content is and is about, then you can win half the battle.

7. Optimize your landing pages

Landing pages are great tools for campaigns.

This includes PPC ads, email promotions, inbound marketing efforts, etc.

Having a system that allows for quick creation and customization of landing pages is critical to success if you’re marketing.

Make sure your website or content management system gives you control and that your site allows you to set indexing status, change navigation, and separate these pages from normal navigation paths if you use them for dedicated campaigns outside of the normal navigable website. contents.

8. Use your analytics

Another that seems self-evident, but goes beyond simply installing Google Analytics on your site.

You need information about demographics, goal achievement, etc. which you can’t get unless you take a few quick steps to set them up.

Don’t assume you can set it and forget it and go back months and see how things go.

You don’t have to log in to Google Analytics every day.

At the very least after customizing it, set up reports and alerts that come to you automatically so you have a pulse on what’s working and what’s not and can adjust on the fly rather than react when it’s too late.

9. Learn from heat mapping

The on-page heat mapping and analysis tools are great sources of additional user experience insights.

Many aspects that are essential to the success of a website are related to user experience.

Tools like Lucky Orange (I’m a customer and a fan – not a paid endorser) give you insight into how far users scroll, where their mouse follows, how much form they fill out before from bailing out, where they get stuck on your website, and much more that Google Analytics can’t show you.

By monitoring this level of detail, you can fix UX blockers and further fine-tune the site to see success.

10. Make sure your website works all the time

Availability is often all we think about when it comes to making sure our websites work.

However, you might not notice issues like JavaScript not firing, buttons not working, a browser-specific bug, or mobile experience issues without the right protocols in place.

By simply observing sales data and monitoring uptime, you might miss that a segment of your audience hits a snag.

Many users won’t search for you or contact you when they can’t buy or can’t access the content they want – they just leave.

Have you clicked a button in the WordPress admin recently to update a plugin? Make sure you know if it broke anything.

Make sure your code is working and tested on multiple browsers.

11. Listen and learn continuously

Don’t assume.

We are good at optimizing and learning along the way with marketing. SEO is an ongoing process that includes adjustments.

Don’t let your website be a static place that has a different management philosophy.

Listen to your target audience and users and learn.

Do it through social media, customer service channels, analytics, heat mapping, and all the data and touchpoints you have.

Be active in seeking feedback and ways to improve so that your website is an asset that grows and evolves with your business.

Conclusion

While most aspects that lead to a successful website relate to user experience and your brand, it’s important to understand and leverage technology, insights and feedback to optimize and refine your site over time. time.

Remember that optimization is not limited to SEO.

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