- Talk about your products and services — not yourself
Visitors to your website are there because they are interested in what your company does. Information about who you are is important, but only as supplementary material to back up what you do. Your home page should showcase examples of your work and, if possible, hightlight the features and benefits of your core products and services
- Make it easy for people to get in contact with you
It seems obvious but many websites make this mistake — a customer who has to spend too much time looking for how to get in touch with you will get frustrated. Keep important contact information on everypage and provide links to your contact form that are easy to find.
- Make sure any information you publish is useful and informative
Writing online is most effective when it gets to the point quickly. Irrelevant copy on your site will quickly turn potential customers away as they are looking for information to help solve the problem that brought them to your site in the first place
- Don’t use too much copy — keep sentences and paragraphs short and to the point
This follows on from Point 3, and leads into Point 5… People have a tendancy to scan web pages, rather than read them, looking for prominent words and sentences that are of interest to them. Remember that web content should be about half of its paper equivalent.
- Break up the page with headings and lists
Make it easy for people to scan through your copy. Break up content on the page using headings and lists so key points of interest in your copy are easy to find.
- Update your content regularly and make sure your content is up to date
Content that is updated regularly will not only help your search engine rankings, it will also let visitors to your site know that your company is active and in business. This is important for building trust in the products and services you provide. Talk about the latest projects you have been working on, products and services you have in development and recent successes for other clients. Keep your content up to date — a visitor to your site who finds information that is several months/years old will not hang around for long.
- Use descriptive names for your images and describe them properly
An image called “our-design-studio.jpg” will provide more information to both the search engines and your site visitors than one called “image1.jpg”. Use the “alt” attribute to describe your image properly, taking into consideration the purpose of the image in context of where it is placed on the page.
- Make sure your site is easy to navigate
The more logical, familiar and intuitive your site is the better it will be at retaining visitors. Make your links clear and use them to guide your visitors efficiently through the site. Provide breadcrumbs to let people keep track of where they are in the context of your site. Steve Krug’s book Don’t Make Me Think! is a bit of a bible here at Red Ant Media and is highly recommended reading for more information about designing your site and making it easy to use.
- Name your pages logically
As with Point 7 about your images, a web page called “improve-your-website.html” will do better with the search engines and be more relevant for your visitors than one called “page1438.html”. Remember not to use spaces when naming your pages (and the same for images too!) and to call them something relevant to the content they contain.
- Make sure your site has a logical structure and heirachy
Plan your website to reflect the activities of your organisation — both in its design and its structure. Our site for example has both a portfolio and descriptions of our products and services. Relevant to our home page there is a folder called /portfolio/ and one called /products-and-services/. When navigating to a particular section of the site it is clear in both the url and the breadcrumb what section our visitors are in (redantmedia.com.au/portfolio/graphic-design/ or redantmedia.com.au/products-and-services/graphic-design-and-printing/).