Building a website requires a vast amount of checks and balances in order to create something worthy of high rankings and user interest. Today we will cover 5 of the most important things you require to make sure you have a successful website. These 5 sections are respectively; Branding, Functionality, Engagement, SEO, and Competition. Keep in mind, you shouldn’t limit your focus to these 5 aspects. Digital marketing is complex, but these 5 aspects are a great place to start. 

Before we jump in, there is something for you to consider. If you are about to make a website, what will be its purpose? This will heavily determine how you go about designing and refining your site. Therefore, each of these topics we will discuss is up to interpretation for the most part. However, we selected these topics since they could be mostly generalized for any site. So just keep in mind, your goals may not align with some things we say. Although, this should give you enough food for thought to adapt as needed.

In essence, websites are just another form of advertisement, especially if you are operating a site in order to sell a product or service. Yes, there are also sites that aren’t looking to sell you anything, but they will still inherently sell themselves by presenting a certain look, feel, and/or functionality once you visit it. Therefore, you have to consider your website as an advertisement, this way you can optimize it in order to increase visibility, conversions, and the overall appeal from your visitors. 

Branding Your Website

Name 5 brands, just off the top of your head. Now name 5 types of trees. Unless you’re an arborist, the 5 trees took you a little longer didn’t it? Don’t feel bad, your brain just cares more about products rather than the environment. 

In all seriousness, our exposure to brands has shaped and refined how we act as consumers, who we trust in the market, what we will purchase, when we will purchase it, and so much more. Branding is absolutely crucial when it comes to becoming a known company and building trust with the market. 

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The Nielson Global Survey conducted in 2015, surveyed 30,000 consumers across 60 different countries to determine the importance of branding. What they found was intriguing, yet expected. Turns out roughly 60% of consumers surveyed said they would buy new products from brands they are familiar with, and 20% said they would buy a new product because they like the brand specifically. In essence, they data collected proved how important branding was for the consumers buying decisions and likeliness to become a repeat customer. 

Therefore, the branding of your company will be absolutely crucial when it comes to advertising and becoming a trusted company. Moreover, branding is a fantastic opportunity to streamline all your company’s visual assets, including your website. A company with a consistent flow of colors, shapes, designs, sayings, and overall messaging presents a collective whole. This flow also presents professionalism and quality. So be sure to incorporate your branding guidelines into your site to further improve your company’s image and capture the trust of visitors. 

Functionality

Ever click on a website and get an error page? Happens all the time, and for various reasons. However, it is critically detrimental to the performance of your website and the conversions generated by it. Broken pages and broken links can lose business quickly. So let’s dive into some topics of functionality you should perfect on your site to increase traffic and conversions. 

For starters, each page that is meant to be part of your site should all be live and functioning. Anything incomplete or non-existent will lead to an error page, and as stated before, this is bad. When creating a site or refining an existing one, an important step is creating a sitemap. This helps you visualize the flow and connectivity of each of your pages, as well as being used to tell search engines how your site is structured and what pages to look for.  

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Once you have the mapping of your site, and all the pages are live, you can start linking things together. One primary asset to any site is a menu, this is usually located at the top of a website and follows you around as you navigate and scroll through pages. A menu will be the go-to for most people looking for a specific page, but you can additionally set up linking structures within each page. This can be done through hyperlinks for example.

The goal is to guide your visitors to the right pages based on their interests and needs. So be sure that these linking structures are working and sending people to the right places of your site. A fully functioning site will do this seamlessly.

Moreover, any additional functionality on your site should be tested and proven to work. For example, when you import a video, is it functioning properly when someone clicks on it? In your ecommerce store, can someone select the size of their product? Do the contact forms actually send leads to the right email? All of these are just minor examples of the many functions that sites can accomplish. However, more functionality means more checks and balances. 

No matter what type of website you have, a very important aspect is functionality, so be sure to audit your site regularly and be sure your site is always functioning properly. This way you won’t miss out on any opportunities because someone didn’t like your malfunctioning site. 

Engagement 

Ever wonder why car salespeople are always offering test drives? There is a very specific reason. Giving something to someone to hold or try out increases their level of engagement, which in turn, increases the chances of them making a decision to purchase what you are selling. 

When you get into the car for the test drive, you feel how comfortable the seats are, how it feels to drive, how nice the sound system is. Immersing yourself in these details provides you with a vision of what ownership will be like. Your psychology will envelop around the idea of having it as you soak in the details. 

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Much like going for a test drive, your website should incite engagement for your visitors. On a website this could go a multitude of different ways depending on what kind of business you own. You may be lucky enough to have an online demo on your site for your product. However, if this isn’t the case, you can still consider engagement to be anything that involves clicking on links, sharing links, and even just scrolling through pages. 

Having avenues of engagement across your site will not only help visitors funnel into paying customers, it will also look good in the eyes of search engines.

We can go into a bit more detail later on, but for now, just understand that search engines will crawl websites to make sense of them in order to provide the right sites for the right search queries. 

This comes into play because search engines also can see how often people engage with websites. This includes inbound links and outbound links that are clicked on, as well as overall page views along with their respective bounce rates and session times. There are a plethora of other things that search engines track and analyze as well, however, we can leave that for another article.

Having an engaging site people are active on will boost your rankings and your overall conversions. Therefore, utilizing these strategies will not only make search engines happy, but it will be sure to make your visitors happy, informed, and satisfied with your site.

SEO

Ok, here’s the big one. Overall, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can encompass everything mentioned in this article. It is quite literally the process of optimizing your site for search engines.  

To understand this, you need to understand search engines. Unfortunately, most search engines aren’t so forthcoming with their methods and preferences for what they deem to be a “good” site. You’re in luck though. Over the years, people have tested and measured many tactics and practices to discover what seems to work best.

There are a few things that are staple components of any optimized site. Today we can go over them, and leave the more complex stuff for a future article. 

For starters, every bit of content on your site matters, some things more than others. For example, the headings and titles of your pages are extremely important. Not only does this help visitors make sense of your site, but search engines rely heavily on your titles and headings. 

When building a site, there is backend coding created which is what search engines look at since they can’t peruse the web like humans. This coding is what generates the front end experience your visitors see. Therefore, for each visual bit of your site, there is coding associated with it to create it. Search engines will analyze this coding deeply to unpack your website and learn more about it. 

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This is where SEO comes in. You can edit this coding to sort and focus on certain things so search engines have an easier time crawling and ranking your site. Headings for example can be organised as H1’s, H2’s, H3’s, so on and so forth. H1’s are saved exclusively for the primary keywords for each page. H2’s  and lower are headings that are related to your keyword rich H1. 

Another interesting example would be the “alt-attributes” of each image on your page. Images have their own coding behind them as well. Beyond generating the image, this coding also helps describe what they are to search engines. Alt-attributes are where you enter in words that describe what the image is to search engines. This is a fantastic opportunity to add in related keywords to what your site/pages are focusing on. 

SEO also pertains to things outside of your site as well. This includes things such as social media accounts and your backlinks. 

Social media accounts with your business info are taken into account for rankings as search engines prefer sites associated with other sites that have high traffic. So making sure your social accounts are linked to your website is an easy way to gain some brownie points for search engines. 

Backlinks are the bread and butter of SEO to most experts. Backlinks are just links from other websites that point towards your site. You can think of these like votes for your site. The higher the authority of the sites linking to yours, the higher their vote value is. Therefore, fewer votes from high authority sites is still more valuable than many more votes from lower authority sites.

This is merely scratching the surface of all the elements within SEO as a topic. This should get you the general idea of what it means to optimize your site though. So starting with this and researching more, you can elevate website rankings very quickly with the right optimizations.

Overall, this will be how you generate more traffic on your site and increase conversions.

Competition

Last, but not least: competition. Your competitors can actually be a valuable asset to your growth and development. Taking advantage of market analysis and getting an idea of your competition can give you the valuable insights needed to make the right moves.

Before we get too far ahead, understanding your competition starts by understanding your own business. Start by asking yourself: What do I want my website to accomplish for me? Who is my target audience? What keywords should I focus on? What’s the best way to market to my target audience? Is my business niche a competitive one?

The list goes on, but by understanding these questions and getting a full grasp on your business goals, you can see where you fit in your niche and what options are available for you based on your unique needs. 

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Once you know what you are looking for, you can analyze the competition to find weak points or strengths that you may want to replicate or eliminate from your strategy. Your competition is doing a ton of work for you already if you look at it the right way. By using analytics, understanding your competition provides you insights into what is successful in your market based upon overall traction. 

If you see a certain competitor that is succeeding in your niche, find out why. If a competitor is failing in your niche, find out why. Understanding the “Why” is what will propel your business to the top of search results. If you know why things are happening, you can manipulate your marketing goals in the right direction, every time. 

This is Just Scratching the Surface of Web Design and SEO

Digital marketing is an ever changing environment. The markets change, consumer interests change, hardware changes, software changes, so on and so forth. You get the idea. This is why we wanted to provide you with an article that will withstand the test of time. 

With these 5 key topics, you now have a general understanding of what makes a successful website. Compared to most people, you are a website genius now. However, there is a nearly insurmountable amount of information and practices to master. So if this is something that interests you, dig in and explore. There are plenty of resources out there to take advantage of in the process of learning.
If this isn’t your cup of tea, that’s fine, we love developing successful websites. So if you’re not interested in hours of studying, leave it to the experts. We can help your business grow to new heights with intuitive web design, backed with advanced SEO strategies. Give us a call, contact us online, or even test your website online before contacting us to see how we can help you succeed.