Your website is your best sales tool in the digital marketing landscape. It is the endpoint of many of your marketing efforts and the place where traffic is converted into customers. It is the place your customers and fans expect to see the best representation of your digital business.
If you went through our "Get to know your digital marketing landscape" page earlier in the guide you will remember the first thing we did is go straight to Google and start to look at your competitor websites. This is precisely because it is the best way to get familiar with an online business.
Your website truly will be judged as if your business itself. And that's just the human visitors! You also get plenty of bot visitors too. Little programmes that read your entire site in a split second.
Both human and bot visitors are there to judge your site. If a bot judges your site favourably, you may gain a position rank in Google. If a human judges your site favourably, you may gain a new customer.
(Incidentally, we can build you an outstanding website with all the principles on this page already built-in.)
Basic Company Details.
Yeah, we know. Sounds like a no-brainer. Yet you'd be surprised just how many websites have this wrong. An old phone number that no longer works in the footer. No phone number at all. A contact form on a contact page but no indication of an actual email address. No company opening hours. No customer support system - or at the very least details of a customer support system. No "about us" page, or at least an empty one.
Your customers and website visitors didn't visit your website to be confused. They have visited with a question in mind. A problem they need solving. A hole that needs filling.
Your basic company details will answer a lot of your customer's questions and enquiries. Repeatedly. If those essential details aren't there, or just as bad, they are wrong those questions won't be answered. The internet isn't forgiving enough to let that happen. You only need to be lacking in one point of information and your website visitor hits the back button and tries the next site.
Comprehensive Product & Service Information.
Once you have got your basic company details and information in place, it is time to turn to the comprehensive information you need to layout for your products and services.
Killer Tip. This is where most businesses fall down. Creating comprehensive content isn't easy and doesn't come naturally to many so instead, you find many websites with really thin content and too much reliance on taglines and lists.
Of course, taglines and lists are a very easy way, to sum up your information in very few words but they should only be used as header areas. It is always wise to add as much text content as possible. And not just content for content's sake, we're talking useful or interesting content. Sell hair shampoo? Create hair care guides. Create a story around the manufacturing process.
The more comprehensive you can be when creating your content the better.
Frequently Asked Questions.
A good "Frequently Asked Questions" section is a fantastic way to get some really useful information on your website. It's also SEO gold dust if you mark your questions up to be search and voice friendly.
Don't worry if your business is completely new and you don't yet have any genuinely frequently asked questions. Very few lists of frequently asked questions are actually comprised of questions that are frequently asked. They are often comprised of hardly ever asked questions that would seem like obvious questions to be asked frequently. Of course, when a frequently asked question does become frequently asked, you can pop it in with your hardly-ever-asked-frequently-asked-questions. And why not.
(You may need to read that again 🤷♂️)
All riddly jokiness aside, a well-formatted FAQ section on your website will be well-loved by your website visitors. Both human and bot kind.
It should go without saying that your website needs to look modern and up to date. Good design is essential and should look just as good no matter what device it is viewed on.
If you are going down the DIY route you might be best using the WordPress + Template combo. This can give you a great looking website with very little technical know-how required. The only downside is that templates - especially good ones - tend to get used a lot so you have to accept that your particular site design isn't going to be unique.
This is especially true if you use an industry-specific template. There is nothing worse than your own competitor having the same website design. With industry-specific templates the chances of this happen are at maximum levels.
Alternatively, you can go the professional route and have a template made from scratch. This is ultimately the best route, especially if you already have a strong brand. A bespoke professional solution will not only be unique but will actually convey your brand as best as possible.
Provide Social Media Follow & Share Options
Once you have set up your social media channels, you are ready to add them to your website.
We recommend making your social media links fairly prominent. Many companies pop their social media links in the footer of their websites but as you can see at the top of this page we like to have ours on full display on every page of our website.
There are pros and cons to both methods. Some people think that by having the links at the top of your site you risk losing your site visitors early on because any click on your social media links will take your visitor off-site. On the flip side, having your social media links in the footer risks people not seeing them at all.
It is worth also adding options for people to share your content. If you scroll down on this page you will see a very colourful list of social networks for you to share our content to (please do so 😉).
A quick tip. Don't use the standard "Share This" text. We find you get a much higher click-through rate if you use sentences such as "Get a second opinion" or "Anybody else needs to see this?".
Mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor for Google. Put simply if your website is mobile-friendly Google will give you a boost.
Mobile-friendliness comes in the form of "responsive design". Called so because your design can respond to the screen size it is being viewed and adjust the display of the website accordingly.
Only a few years ago, mobile responsive websites came with a premium because the design style was still being figured out by many designers. (Responsiveness changed the web design game dramatically. We all had to learn new tricks).
Luckily in as we head into the 2020s, mobile responsiveness is now fairly common. Most designers work responsively as standard. Most pre-built templates are also now responsive.
That said there are still a few stragglers still not doing the responsive thing - or at least not doing it very well. The same is true of the templates. To avoid a pitfall simply make sure you have a good look at a designers portfolio or, in the case of a template, make sure you have a good play with the demonstration. (Most templates, especially paid ones, will have a live demo so you can have a thorough look at what you are buying).
Site speed is also another ranking factor and with good reason. Mobile phones have fluctuating bandwidth reliability depending on their geographical location. Because of this mobile phones often download websites much slower than on a normal PC or on WIFI.
I could go on about how Google wants you to have a nice speedy site but the fact is your site visitors want you to have a nice speedy site. You want to have a nice speedy website.
The reason is Bounce Rate!
Bounce rate is calculated by how long people stay on your site. A visit is considered a bounce if the visitor hits the back button within 3 seconds of landing on your page.
3 seconds is not a lot of time. But that is how long you have to connect with your visitors. If your site is still loading at 3 seconds the chances of your visitors "bouncing" are much higher.
From a business point of view, a high bounce rate is a disaster. It means your visitors are not seeing what they want when they visit your site.
From an SEO point of view, a high bounce rate can also be quite disastrous for your search engine rankings. Google now has Rankbrain. Rankbrain monitors human behaviour and one of the most important metrics is the bounce rate. From Googles point of view, if people search for something and Google provides a result, it wants that result to be relevant to the search term. A high bounce rate tells Google that your content isn't relevant and it pushes you down the search engines.
But there are other reasons.
GDPR and cookie consent are now legal requirements. Considering that trust is a huge factor for Google and these three areas deal directly with site trust it would be foolish to assume they have no impact on rankings - and if not right now, you always have to consider that the Google algo is constantly changing and you never know when.
Besides all the Google stuff. It's just good professional practice anyway.