For businesses today, a website is far beyond something that is nice to have. It is an absolute prerequisite to doing business in the 21st century, and if your site does not cut the mustard, it makes it practically impossible to attract new customers, meaning your business will stagnate and ultimately die.
That might sound melodramatic, but just think about it for a moment. How do potential customers find out about suppliers of products and services they need? Word of mouth? Occasionally. Yellow pages? Maybe 30 years ago. Today, if you need to find something, you Google it, and while Google might be one of the most successful and powerful companies on the planet, all it does is find people the websites that offer the solution that is most relevant to their queries.
The importance of an appealing site
A common mistake that site owners make is to conclude from the above that they need to make their site appeal to Google. That is a dangerous mindset and can have you chasing the shadows that make up Google’s search algorithm. The better approach is to view it with a broader perspective.
Google is in the business of finding sites that will solve people’s problems and answer their questions better than others. That goes beyond the mere information that is contained on the site but also examines the way it is presented and how authoritative the site is regarded as being.
In other words, by making your site appealing to people, by presenting potential customers with solutions to the problems that would drive them towards your company, and by doing those things better than your competitors, you will rank higher in Google’s search results. You will also see greater volumes of traffic to your site, convert more lookers into buyers and drive your business forward.
That all makes reasonable sense, but what makes for an appealing site? Here’s a secret – some young people have been accused of having the attention span of goldfish, andthe phenomenon is only getting worse with each passing generation. As the Millennials give way to Generation Z, be aware that your site needs to tell them everything they need to know about what your company does, how it does it and why it does it better than the rest. And it needs to do so within five seconds of them arriving, or they will press the back button and be gone forever.
What you say
Ask any digital marketing expert the key to creating a successful website, and they will answer “its content.” Saying that the success of your website hinges on what you put on it might sound like an exercise in the obvious, but the point is that with 1.3 billion websites on the planet, there is a lot of content out there, and to put it diplomatically, some of it is not very good.
Providing content that is interesting, relevant and answers the questions which potential customers type into the Google search box is the first step towards having an appealing site.
How you say it
As well as having short attention spans, some people can be a little on the shallow side at times. If your site contains wonderful, interesting information, but it is on a page that is just crammed with text and looks like a rewrite of War and Peace, the sad news is that nobody is going to read it.
And just for the double whammy, if people start to turn away from your site, Google will be able to see that fact from your performance data, and will conclude there is something unappealing about it, and thus your slide down the rankings will begin.
A site has to look welcoming, be well presented and provide a great user experience from the word go. Think about your use of pictures and imagery, and read up on advice from the experts on what is available and how to use it. A great resource in this area is the official Dreamstime blog, where you can learn everything there is to know about making smart use of stock photos.
Keeping your shop in order
For most potential customers, the only thing they will know about your business is what they see on your website. That is the information they will use to decide whether or not to become customers, so you need to think of it as your virtual shopfront and make sure that it reflects you, your company and your brand to perfection.