Here are twelve secrets to website success.
1. Have specific goals for your website.
2. Know your customer or site visitors and what they want to get out of your site.
3. Have pages dedicated to specific items or subjects the customer or site visitor is looking for.
4. Don’t make the home page of your site a “flash” animation. Web visitors routinely skip those animations (or just leave) because they aren’t interested in pretty graphics. They want facts. If you’re going to use flash to demonstrate your product (or a video) let people choose to view it, don’t force them to.
5. Make it easy for visitors to find what they want. Use a simple navigation structure, and if you use drop down menus, make sure visitors can actually click on the links without the drop down rolling up before the person hits the link they want.
6. If you’re selling products, have category pages plus individual pages for each type of product. (For example, if you are selling furniture, have one page for dressers with links to individual pages for different types and manufacturers of dressers, such as Broyhill, Lane, etc.)
7. Pay attention to search engine optimization (SEO) in setting up pages. The more closely the page title, page description, and keywords match what someone would search for, the more likely they’ll find the website, and the more likely they’ll buy whatever product is advertised on the page. Don’t stuff your keyword tags with words that aren’t relevant.
8. Have a means for legally and ethically capturing visitors’ email addresses so you can contact them in the future.
9. Plan to advertise and market your site on an ongoing basis through all methods available to you. Don’t think that just putting up a website is the end, it’s only the beginning!
10. Track and measure traffic, bounce rates, sales conversions and progress.
11. Ask for feedback from site visitors and stay in contact with those visitors (those who gave you their email addresses) on a regular basis so they remember to come back to your website.
12. Keep your content updated. Unlike blogs, where content is constantly being updated (or at least it should be), websites tend to be more static. But the days of slapping up a website and just leaving it for months (or years) are gone. You must be willing to update your site and give visitors a reason to keep coming back. Otherwise, they won’t, and you’ll be constantly faced with the battle of finding new customers and clients, over and over.