The backbone of any online business is its website.  If you want your online business to succeed, you have to have a great website which is designed to encourage success.  This means getting as many visitors as possible and then encouraging those visitors to convert into paying customers further down the line.

There’s no “magic bullet” for creating a popular website.  Having an attractive design is good, but it’s far from the only factor.  A lot of different elements all contribute to determining how popular a website is, and therefore how productive it is.

Knowing what makes for a great webpage will go a long way towards creating the success you desire.  Here are the most critical website design and development factors to focus on!

If You Want Your Website to Succeed, Focus On These 5 Elements

1 – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

Search engine optimization services offer a series of guidelines for creating a website which is likely to rank high in Google searches for relevant keywords.  This is important because usability studies have shown that the vast majority of users will never click past the first page of search results – anywhere from 75% to 90%, depending on the study.  If your website isn’t on the first page of results, it’s effectively invisible to most Google users.

There are a number of key elements here:

  • Picking keywords which people are likely to search for when looking for products/services like yours, and mentioning those keywords in your content.
  • Recognizing questions relevant to your industry, and seeking to answer those questions.
  • Making your website easy for search engine spiders to search and index – such as including an index metapage within the data.
  • Having good tags on all your graphical elements – these help image searches catalog your graphics.
  • Using human-readable filenames.

Good SEO doesn’t happen overnight.  It’s a patient game of slowly improving your ranking.

2 – Encouraging Social Sharing & Inbound Linking

A successful website doesn’t succeed on its own – it has help; lots of help.  Without exception, the most popular and most visited webpages are also popular on social media.  In addition, they will also have plenty of other websites linking to them.  It’s even better if those shares and inbound links are coming from sources which are, themselves, popular or well-respected.

In fact, this is one of the biggest factors determining your Google search placement.  Plus, of course, having more of your materials being shared by others will inevitably drive more traffic towards your website.   This isn’t something you can directly control, but there are ways to influence it.

  • Make friends!  Collaborating with other websites, such as swapping guest blogs or doing podcasts together, provides a popularity boost to both.
  • Be aware of viral trends.  Try to jump onboard popular fads.  It feels cheap, but it works.  There’s a reason you see hundreds of articles about superheroes every time a new Marvel movie comes out.
  • Produce more videos.  Videos are shared more often than any other content.
  • Be an active participant on social media, particularly in communities which are relevant to your industry.  (But be a good participant, don’t just self-promote.)

One word of warning: do not buy links.  Google is extremely good at detecting paid links and will harshly punish websites that try this.

3 – Adaptive Mobile-Friendly Design

Today, the majority of online users are browsing the web using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, rather than desktops or laptops.  Your website design must be able to accommodate a wide variety of device types, shapes, and sizes.  Fortunately, there is an entire field of web design called “Adaptive Design” which does exactly this.

Simply put, your website needs an adaptive design to provide substantially the same experience for users whether they’re on a 5-inch smartphone or a 50-inch smart TV.  This is an absolute must-have for modern websites, without exception.

Plus, if you need more encouragement, Google will downgrade websites without adaptive design.

4 – A Great User Experience (UX)

User Experience is an extremely important aspect of web design, although one which can be difficult to pin down precisely due to the wide range of possible websites out there.  Basically, good UX means your site is enjoyable to use and functions properly.  Some key points to keep in mind here are:

  • Keep the load times as fast as possible.  Try utilizing compression to make the assets use less data, or hosting your page on a Content Distribution Network (CDN) that reduces load times.
  • The functional design of the website should be simple and intuitive.  Try not to clutter up the screen with too many menus and buttons.  Anything over 5-6 menu pull-downs is probably too much.
  • Make the website easy to navigate.  Use server-side features that track how your website visitors move around the site and look for ways to streamline their journey.
  • Offer accessibility features, such as high-contrast text or text-to-speech output, for users with special needs.
  • Always include a search bar.

Google is judging you on your UX as well, so this too will affect your search engine placement.

5 – Strong Calls-To-Action (CTAs) 

Finally, consider how your content marketing strategy inspires your users to take action.  A website with well-written blogs and optimized videos will certainly attract a lot of traffic, but traffic by itself doesn’t create sales.  Every piece of content, from your front page to your individual blog articles, needs to end on a strong Call-To-Action that pushes the visitor down the path towards converting into a customer.

At the bare minimum, you should have links encouraging visitors to contact you for more information or to explore relevant pages in your catalog.

A better strategy is to have dedicated landing pages which users are funneled into, ones which encourage them to swap contact information for a piece of premium content.  “Give us your email in exchange for this exclusive eBook!” is an excellent way to build up your lead database.

Plus, don’t forget, you can also use social media for CTAs, contests, and other offers.

Want a Great Webpage Fast?  ALM Is Here for You!

ALM Corp. has extensive experience in building sales-focused websites built to drive new business while also delighting customers.  We utilize a strong SEO focus, coupled with the latest techniques for driving more traffic to your websites.  Generating leads is our business!

So, if creating a great website on your own seems overwhelming, let the pros work their magic.  To learn more, check out our client testimonials, or just contact us for a free consultation.