With millions of competing websites, designing a website, let along a successful website with a high ranking, can be quite daunting. The following “Ten Secrets for a Killer Website” will help give you an edge on your competition:
1. Custom vs. Templated â€“ A Custom website is a website that is totally designed and formatted with original material. A Templated website is constructed from a list of premade designs and formats that you pick from. Which is the best route to go? If you are interested in attracting customers to your site and converting them to a paying customer, then a custom website is the only way to go. A Templated website does not receive a high search engine ranking in Google or Yahoo. Search engines do not like sites that are duplicates of other sites, so they give them a far less ranking. What is the use of a website if people canâ€™t find you? A Custom site gives you a uniqueness that fits your business and message. A templated website restricts you in choice of colors, images, and layouts. Custom is the best way to go.
2. Fonts, Content, and Placement â€“ Do not use font sizes that are too small. You should use 10 point or larger. Smaller font sizes are too difficult to see and read. Never run more than 52 characters across the screen, so as to not lose the reader. That is why news print is in narrow columns. It is easier to read. Pick a font style that is widely used on the Internet and personal computers. If you are using too fancy of a font, the text becomes difficult to read. Some safe fonts to use are Times New Roman and Arial. These are fonts that are available on most all computers. If you use a font that is not supported by a userâ€™s computer, they will not see the text in the font you chose. They will see it in the font that is set to default on their computer. It is very important to use only common fonts. Make sure that the content (text) of your site is useful information; information that your customer can use. Place your most important content towards the upper left-hand corner of your site. Research has shown that your visitor will start in the left hand corner of a website and move across the page to the right and then down. Use bolding and larger font size to draw attention to a phrase or word. Do not use underlining, as it has come to communicate that the underlined text is a hyperlink. All of your text should be flush left and not centered. It is more difficult to read if it is centered. Use good headlines and subtitles to draw attention to an area.
3. Advertising (PPC) â€“ Once you have a website, how are people going to know about it? It is interesting that some people have this idea that once they have a website up and running that customers will flock to it. “Well,” they say, “I now have a website and people will do a search and find me there and come to my site.” Donâ€™t be fooled! How many other competitors do you have selling your same product on the Internet? Letâ€™s say that you sell printed business cards. So if you do a Google search on the keyword phrase “Business cards printed,” youâ€™ll find that there are 20,700,000 listings for that search. That means that there are over 20 million other sites competing for that searcherâ€™s attention. How in the world can you compete with that? Well, if you notice on the first few pages youâ€™ll see “sponsored links”. Some are in the top left section, and some are down the right side of the page. These are your competitors that are paying to advertise in top positions on Google. Does it work? Absolutely, or you wouldnâ€™t be seeing so many every time you do a search. These ads are called “paid per click” (PPC) ads. This means that every time someone clicks on their ad, Google charges them. Some ads can be as cheap as 10 cents per click, and some can be as expensive as $20 a click. It is the advertisers that determine the cost based on what they are willing to bid for a position. The stiffer the competition, the higher the bid price. You can learn more about PPCs by going to http://adwords.google.com.
4. Keyword Frequency â€“ It is important to use your main keywords or phrases (words and phrases that people search on) in the body of your text, as close to the top of the page as possible. Search engines look at the website text, from top left to right, to determine the relevancy of the site for ranking it for the keyword searched for. Becareful to not load up on a lot of duplicate words that donâ€™t make sense. Search engines donâ€™t like that and will score you lower for trying to put too many of the same word in your text.
5. Relevant Links â€“ One of the aspects of getting a higher ranking with Google and Yahoo is linking your website with quality, reputable sites. The search engines are looking for websites (hopefully yours) that provide the information that a searcher is looking for. This is one of the areas the search engines evaluate. Is your website linked from other relevant and quality websites? For example, if your website is a hotel reservation site, some good links to acquire would be car rentals, restaurants, airport transfer services, art galleries, etc. These should be links that are useful to the traveler. You should consider links that are not necessarily competitors, but supportive services to your business.
6. Flash Movement â€“ Flash-based components add movement, sound, and interactivity that usually cannot be achieved with a standard static html website. Flash enhances the experience for your visitor. It grabs their attention and helps make a rich presentation to drive your message. With custom Flash you have almost limitless design options. It allows you to provide a variety of graphics, tutorials, film clips, and introductions, has the state-of-the-art technology and professional look about it. It creates an interactive environment. Generally, you will not have this with a templated site.
7. Call to Action â€“ Imagine walking into a retail store where no one helps you, there are no “50% off” signs anywhere and basically nothing there to motivate you to buy their product. That is what happens when you put up a website with no “call to actions” on it. A call to action is a reason for your visitor to sign up or purchase your product or service. Call to actions are very important in content and placement. A typical visitor to your site is only there for a few seconds, so you need a “hook” and a “call to action” to keep them there and motivated to buy. It is important that you satisfy what they came looking for. If they came looking for a nice picture for their office, you must give them a reason to purchase your beautiful print and to purchase it today. Remember they may have been shopping several other sites before they landed on yours. Give them a special deal if they purchase today. Do a two for one. Give them a free article or eBook for signing up.
8. Contact Information â€“ Make it easy for your visitor to contact you. Your phone number and email information should be prominent on each of your pages. You also need to give them a reason to contact you. Ask yourself this question, “Why should they call or email me?” Give them a reason. Take a look at the websites you visit. What motivates you to fill out their form with your information? There are a lot of sites that donâ€™t ask for the visitorâ€™s information. What is the purpose of a website anyway? Basically, it is to sell something or to provide useful information. How are you going to sell something if you donâ€™t have a way of communicating directly with your customer? These are important questions to ask as you design your website.
9. Auto Responders â€“ An Auto Responder is an email program that captures your customers contact information from a form on your website and automatically sends periodic emails from you. These are emails that you have previously drafted and tell the Auto Responder Program how often to send them. You can send out emails to new contacts, your customer list or a list that you purchase from a list copy. Statistically, these are your best leads for converting sales. An Auto Responder gives you an easy way to stay in contact with them. It is important that the information you send them has value and substance to it. Generally, people wonâ€™t mind receiving an email from you if it is something they can learn or use. For more information on auto responders go to these sites: www.aweber.com; www.activecampaign.com.
10. Images and Graphics â€“ Graphics and Images are extremely powerful in leading the eye through your landing page. They should not just be there to make a site look pretty, but to push actions and indicate eye pathways. An appropriately placed image can draw attention to a headline or title. You should consider making your images a clickable link because visitors tend to click on them. You could show a larger pop up image or more information about the offer or product. The type of image needs to have purpose with your page. Donâ€™t just throw any image on the page. It needs to fit in with your theme. Images of nice looking people looking directly at you seem to attract more attention and give the visitor a warmer feeling than objects. If you are selling a product, make sure you have a very clear and quality type image of the product. Customers want to see what it is they are buying. It is also important to keep your image file size small. The larger the file size, the longer it takes to load the image to the site. Remember, the average visitor is only there for a few seconds. If your site is loading slowly, they will move on. Also, when you are saving your image to a file, try to save it as close to the same size as you will be displaying on you site. Trying to take a large sized image and squeezing it into a small sized image on your site creates a picsolated (grainy looking) picture.