Website Design Tips and Tricks: Case Study #14
A dynamic, young couple came to us recently, proud of their beautiful new website but disappointed that it hadn't generating a single lead or client. They wanted help attracting more attention to the website -- to get their phone ringing.
It was obvious that their previous developer had a good eye for design. However, he or she hadn't addressed any of what we consider to be the 3 most important factors for website success.
Our Top 3 Tips for Building a Great Website
1) Every website project should start with 'Keyword Research.'
What is the exact product or service niche that the website pertains to? A websites purpose for being must be quickly and easily apparent to visitors (and Google).
Is the website talking with exactly the same language that real-world customer use when they are searching for products or services in this niche? Is the site using the right 'keywords?'
Most importantly, is there a large enough pool of potential customers to justify the site even targeting this 'keyword' niche? As we like to say, it is a lot easier to catch a moving train if you lie on the tracks in front of it rather than chasing it from behind. Similarly, it is much easier to sell to customers who are already searching for a product or service than steering them to something they don't think they want or realize they need. And while it may be easier to show up highly in the search engines when you're targeting a rarely searched-for niche, chances are that this will never become a highly profitable business.
In the case of our clients, they identified as a 'Designer Window Treatment Consultants.' Unfortunately, a quick search revealed that zero people are searching Google for this service (phrase). And, even if there was a reason for them to be targeting that niche (which there obviously wasn't) that exact phrase did not appear anywhere -- not even a single time -- on her home page. Nor was the phrase included in their domain name or any of their page names or titles.
So, how was Google to know what industry this website fits into? Unless these clients planned to drive traffic to their website through the use of paid advertising and/or word of mouth, their website had to start talking the language that real world customers are using.
Fortunately, there is a fairly significant pool of online searchers looking for 'custom window shades' and 'heat blocking blinds' and other related products that this client handles... they just hadn't been mentioning any of them on their site!
2) Don't try to 'wow' visitors with a gorgeous, flashy, or entertaining website. Give visitors the webpage they are expecting.
User Experience is our 2nd extremely important concept to consider when planning a website. Big, beautiful images are nice... but they often load slowly, delaying the rest of the page content and frustrating visitors. Some sites' incorporate 'artsy' layouts so as to not appear boring or corporate but again, this often slows visitors from finding the information they need and leads to a confusing and frustrating user experience.
In the case of our client, the pages loaded painfully slow. And the website used a modern-looking black and white color scheme. In fact, all the links on the site were black buttons with the white words 'Learn More'. This is horrible for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes and give visitors little indication of what to expect if they click those links. In addition, studies confirm that it is usually best practice to have your 'calls to action' stand out... and demand being noticed.
3) Help Google understand what your website is about, why you are an authority in the industry, and why you deserve (in fact demand) to be ranked highly.
Google may be smart, but they still need your help to tell them why your site deserves to be ranked highly. In order to get recognized (and rewarded) by search engines, a site absolutely has to include their chosen keywords (as well as keyword variations and related keywords) in the written content, in the image file names and image description, behind the page in appropriate sections of the code, in how links are named and worded, etc..
As you might expect, if it was difficult for us to discern what services this new client offered from looking at their website, Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go and other search engines were completely underwhelmed. No wonder the site was attracting no visitors!
Fortunately, once we had the correct elements in place, improvement (in this case) happened literally overnight.
As these Google search engine rankings charts show, Google appreciated our on-page improvements almost instantly -- plus, they probably liked the fact that the site was now being mentioned on a few other websites (which we also had a hand in). And, since we practice only safe, ethical (white hat) SEO and site improvement practices, you can see that those great rankings have continued.
Disclaimer: We wish we could say that all of our accounts enjoyed search engine ranking improvements this quickly. However -- especially for highly competitive niches -- the improvements come more slowly (5-6 months on average). But most often they are just as dramatic to see, exciting to be a part of and rewarding for our clients.
Want more tips for how to make your website great?
Visit our Joe Web small business website design blog or give us a call:
Joe Web site services
Offices: Asheville, NC