Having a web presence is essential for everything from little ma and pop locations to big business corporations. Many live under the premise that if it’s not on the internet, it doesn’t exist. So since a web presence is essential, you should know how to make that web presence work for you.
I have developed and designed web pages and sites for individuals and businesses for many years, as well as teaching web basic design classes at a community college and computer programming and coding at the university, and all my experience has taught me what is necessary for a successful web page.
However, there are five basic things every web page needs to be successful that are very often overlooked by many web developers; they can make a big difference in repeat traffic to your site, harvesting information from your site viewers, and converting sales or clicks into money for you.
Improve Your Website Tip #1: Call to Action
When someone visits your site, you will have no way of knowing who they are, getting in touch with them again, or enticing them to stay on your page or return to it if you don’t give the website viewer some call to action.
You want the website viewer to DO something while on your page. One of the best ways to get information from a website customer is to provide an informative newsletter or ezine that is free to sign up for. Nowadays, people are a bit more particular about what they will give their email address, so offering a free prize or downloadable ebook might entice them to give you that all-important point of contact.
Additionally, you want to keep them on your page as long as possible, so instead of providing everything they need on one page where they have to scroll and scroll to read, give them links to more information. And avoid the tired CLICK HERE tags… use something more interesting and exciting, like learning more; keep reading, and get this fantastic product now. You get the idea – entice the reader to keep reading, keep going, and keep viewing.
Improve Your Website Tip #2: Error Pages
If you own a domain, and the site visitor gets a page wrong but has the right domain, they will see a 404 error. Many people, even web developers, don’t know that you can customize this 404 error for your entire site. Absolutely! You can even use your logo and header and whatever text you want to let your visitor know this is not an active page on your site.
If you leave it with the standard 404 error, you aren’t doing what Improve Your Website Tip #1 tells you to do, which is a call for action.
A specific 404 error page with links to other pages on the site that DO function will likely keep your visitor on your site much longer, not to mention it might bring visitors to your site who ran across the page quite by accident. Also, this will help a lot with pages when you update, and perhaps someone in a forum somewhere had directly linked to a page on your domain you had removed or moved. A special 404 error page will keep the visitor on your site and give them alternative links to view live content, whereas a standard 404 error message would likely cause them to close the browser and go elsewhere.
Improve Your Website Tip #3: Privacy Statement
These privacy statements that tell your viewers exactly what date you collect and what you do with that data are so important that Google is said to use whether or not you have a privacy statement on your site to help determine your ranking.
A simple statement is: “We value your privacy and will never sell, trade, give away, or otherwise disseminate your personal information, including but not limited to your email address, name, address, phone number, etc. Of course, if you have a partnership or an opt-in sharing agreement where the website viewer knows they are opting in, that’s okay, but include it in your privacy statement.
Of course, this statement needs to be true if you place it on your web page, and honestly, if it isn’t true – then shame on you!
Improve Your Website Tip #4: Contact Information
Nothing screams scam artists like a site that cannot contact someone with the company or website itself. If you are a small business and don’t want your home phone associated with your site account, I’d highly recommend getting a second line just for your business. Having the means to contact you other than just a generic email address is essential for building trust, and it is another thing Google looks at when ranking pages, so they say (you see, no one knows for sure what Google uses to determine page rank.)
Improve Your Website Tip #5: Keyword Rich / Natural Flow
Your content on your pages should contain your keywords for your product or service, and while you want to have a high density of keywords, it won’t do you any good to have proper keyword optimization, but when you finally get someone to your site, they are turned away by the poor writing on the pages.
When writing for keyword optimization, the text may appear repetitive, but it should always make sense and just be a bunch of words to get more keywords on your site. Think of a viewer who doesn’t know how keywords work, and how would they read your website copy? If it doesn’t make sense, is choppy, poorly written, or doesn’t flow well, ditch it and start with a better copy. Keywords versus quality, quality should win, hands down, and keywords are a distant second.
As the internet continues to evolve, you will soon see that keywords will change drastically shortly. Latent Semantic Indexing, Google’s baby, and live individual search sites will soon do away with keyword stuffing and optimization, and we will see more relevant search results. Don’t write for the search engines – write for your potential customers, and learn how to market your site in other ways.