Making your website a success has always been a challenge and just when you get the hang of the current trends in search engine optimization and internet marketing, everything changes again! It has been an ongoing dispute since the middle of 2012 on what changes we should be prepared for in the years to come. One thing is for sure, if you’re not ready for change, you will surely fall behind and in today’s every changing internet market, it’s vital to stay on top of things if you plan on having any chance to keep up with your competitors.
Before we get into the technical stuff like the internet marketing, SEO, and SEM aspects of making a website successful, let’s touch on a minute about design. Yes, design is and always will be an important factor to online success. If you have a well-designed website that is easy to navigate and offers accessibility options to the handicapped, you are definitely on the right path to success. Time and time again, I’ve come across websites with amazing content but the website itself looks downright awful! “Do It Your Self” or “Build Your Own” website services has been a big rage lately, but in all honestly, if you don’t know how design can effect marketing, it’s best to avoid the DIY or BYO website schemes. If you have no previous experience in design, you’re more than likely going to end up with an eye sore that doesn’t function the way you want it to. So always, ALWAYS start out with a beautiful website that is easy on the eyes and that appeals to your potential market.
If you don’t have experience in web design, I recommend hiring a web designer with an internet marketing background. Since your website is one of your most important marketing tools, it’s good to have a web designer that knows how to appeal to your market. A good web designer will simplify your website’s structure, making it easier to navigate to giving more emphases to the important parts of your website while making it visually appealing. Be advised that there are a lot of scams out there and I always say “Never trust road sign web designers”. Be sure to check credentials, references, and always, ALWAYS, ask to see work they’ve previously done. Also make sure they know what they’re doing. Look online for some web design reference and quiz your designers upon interview. If you don’t, you’ll most likely be sorry.
So web design aside, what can you do to make your website a hit this year and the next? Well, the answers aren’t as simple as they used to be. For the past 20 years, the answers has always been simple – Search Engine Optimization. Even though SEO is still very important and even crucial to online success, it is no longer the only revenue. Multiple venues have been popping up online that are drawing a lot of attention like social media and mobile media. For example, Social Media has been leading the forefront of internet marketing, it’s not really a big secret or anything but it’s still the truth. So having a presence on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest; is one of those important factors that can no longer be avoided. Remember about 10 years ago when they said that having a website is no longer something that can be avoided? lol
So what can social media do for you? Social media can do a number of things, it allows you to reach an every growing audience with your brand, product, or cause. Social media gives you the chance to interact with clients and build popularity within a vast array of social groups. Also with the every growing popularity of social media and its uncanny way of separating the popular from the not so popular, search engines have started taking steps into using social signals as way to determine the rank of a website within SERP’s (Search Engine Page Results). Bing is the leader of this revolution by having what your friends like on Facebook influence your search results. Basically, it’s like recommendations from your friends within search! This can be a very good thing! If you’re website and content is popular on Facebook and shared by a bunch of people, you’re visibility in Bing’s search results will improve abundantly.
As social media is becoming a very popular method for people to communicate and share information online. It is very important to make your website’s content “Sharable” So how to do we do that? Simple! By having easy-to-use URL structures and social sharing options. Setting up social sharing options is pretty easy to do, there are many free scripts out there that you can use like AddToAny or ShareThis that can definitely serve the purpose. In fact, social indicators are greatly effecting how your SEO experts are building inbound links. By having outstanding, useful, unique content that is share worthy, (like this post you’re reading for example lol), people will actually share it on their social media sites, blogs, forums, websites, etc. If you provide good authoritative content, people will even reference your site when writing for their blog or on a forum, or even arguing on Facebook or Twitter. This more natural way of building up inbound links is the way to go in 2013. In the past, we used to submit mass amounts of articles across many websites, dump anchor links in every blog or forum we replied to – and most of the time we were just replying for the soul purpose of gaining a backlink.
So what else can we do to make a website successful? Well, we’ve already covered design, search engine optimization, and social media so what’s next? Ah yes, functionality and interactivity! Simply put, if your website doesn’t function or is loaded with bugs and runs super slow, no one is going to like it (especially search engines), and if people can’t interact with your website, why would they comeback, recommend your site to a friend, or share your stuff? It’s very important to make sure your website is quick loading, functions properly, and is engaging to your audience. If not, then everything you’ve done up to this point is folly. Making a website function properly can be kind of tricky. Most functionality include server side programming like Ruby on Rails, PHP, or Action Scripts. If you don’t have experience in such things, it generally a good idea to hire a web developer. The right web developer will help you make your website function properly with no issues making your website more engaging to your audience.
Well I think that about covers the basics, I will be doing more specific posts on web design, web development, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and all that fun stuff in the near future so keep an eye out for more exciting stuff!