Whether you’re a fan of the movie Mean Girls [you know every single word], or animal analogies make you smile [puppies make everyone happy], here are five areas you need to focus on if you are editing or building a website.
The only acronym you’ll need for website success: FETCH
- Have valid/compliant and simple HTML/CSS coding
- Use reduced file sizes for all graphics (specifically aim for .svg files, or less than 100kb)
- Allow for cookies and caching
- Limit the number of re-directs someone must go through to get to your pages
An “easy” website can be categorized into three areas: easy to navigate, easy to manage, and easy to find.
Easy to navigate:
- Are your pages and navigation arranged in an easy-to-follow pattern? Remember, your idea of importance might not align with what visitors are looking for. Specifically, make sure the following three pages are super easy to find:
- Contact Us
- About Us
Easy to manage:
- Don’t leave all of the knowledge trapped with a web developer. For last minute edits, make sure you have a Content Management System (CMS) that’s easy for you to use. We’re currently big fans of WordPress; but, Concrete 5 and Drupal are some other examples.
Easy to find:
- First and foremost, make sure the URL you choose is intuitive. If your company name is Blue Duck Hardware, it’s going to be awfully hard for someone to find you at www.hardwaretoolsforyourhouse.com.
- Just as important to your URL choice, make sure to invest in quality SEO work. Best practices, rules and regulations are next to impossible to keep up with. But, it’s not impossible to find a specialist you trust with the superhero skills to deliver it all to you.
Imagine if you’re the owner of Blue Duck Hardware. You specialize in selling the tools and products for both the average homeowner and the quick-shopping handyman. What if the images on your homepage were of industrial supplies? Or, even worse, what if there were no images!? You may be thinking, “duh” – but, spending quality time making sure your site appeals to your target audience is critical. A targeted site does the following for your visitors:
- It quickly answers their questions
- It aligns with their common aesthetics and appeals to their tastes
- Builds trust by making the right information easy to find
Just as I mentioned in a previous post, your website can be like your closet. It’s your forward-facing, impression-making tool for all visitors. With all of the capabilities of technology and the robust resources for website building, you have a chance to build something unique – do it!
Warning: When it comes to creativity, don’t reinvent the wheel. Custom-styling takes more time (and money!) and you run the risk of losing your fast and easy factors.
Another creative aspect of your website is the integration of your brand elements. Have you built a brand standards guide? Make sure that when someone is moving from page-to-page on your site they don’t get lost! Consistent treatment of images, language, and layout helps visitors continue to feel they are in the right spot.
The best way to use your website (a core tenet of the Inbound philosophy) is to built it as a resource center. Remember, they searched your name because they were trying to solve a problem. Put the solution front and center and make someone’s day a little easier!