Three Ingredients To Digital Success – Your Website (Part 1 of 3)
Your Website Is Your Root
Your business website is the root and foundation of all your business marketing efforts. Customers will research your business online before engaging. Your website is likely the experience your clients will use to evaluate your business, and decide if they’ll want to do business with you or not.
The first stage of deciding whether a client is interested in doing business with you is made within 2-6 seconds of landing on your website. Therefore, your website is your single most valuable asset when it comes to marketing your business.
To be successful online, there are three elements to digital success. They are:
- Your Website
- Your Content
- Your Marketing Plan
In this article, we’re going to concentrate on the six main elements of your website that determine success. We’ve included links to visit articles on Your Content and Your Marketing Plan at the end of this article.
Elements of Success
There are six main elements your website must have that determine success. They are:
- UX / UI
We’ll go through each of these components in order.
UX / UI
UX and UI are industry “Short Codes” for User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI). UX and UI refer to the optimization of your website allowing a user to interact with your website in an effective and enjoyable manner. UX and UI are technically related. There are many considerations to plan for when creating an effective UX / UI design. For the sake of simplicity, two (of many) considerations include:
- Button placement. Is the placement of buttons considerate and within areas that a user might expect to see a button and interact with it? Are the buttons large enough and easy to read with their intentions and outcomes clearly marked for the user to see? Does the button’s colouring properly contrast with the rest of the site to ensure it is obvious for the first time user of your site to easily understand your button is a button and not a quote or highlighted text?
- Telephone numbers. Are there telephone numbers on your website? (There should be!) If so, are they optimized for mobile devices? For example, if a user is browsing your site on a mobile device and sees your phone number, can they just click your number and have the call automatically dialled, or do they have to remember the number and type it in after leaving your site and activating their phone dialing screen? A proper UX would ensure the user could simply click on a number on your site and the call would be made seamlessly and without leaving your site.
These are two of many UX considerations which lead towards making your site usable and enjoyable to navigate.
Although Drag relates to UX and UI, it’s more a measurement of with how much effort a user must exert to complete a desired task on your website. For example, imagine you have a website with lots of useful content that people find interesting. Imagine a user returns to your site a few weeks or months later and wants to locate that article previously enjoyed. (Perhaps to read it again or share it with someone else). Does your site allow for searching to find that article or would a user have to go through all your content manually to find the desired article?
Let’s look at an E-Commerce example. Some questions one might ask themselves in an e-commerce site include:
- How much effort might a user have to exercise to find a product and buy?
- Is the checkout process easy, quick and effortless? Or, is the checkout process needlessly convoluted with unnecessary steps and perhaps prolonged?
- Do images load within the proper sizes of their containers to prevent unnecessary downloading of oversized content?
The more drag there is for a user, the less likely the user will be to buy.
Layout refers to the consistent placement of images, text and video and other items on your page. A layout that’s consistent will be much easier for a visitor to consume than a site where every page is like an unexpected and inconsistent jumble of content that doesn’t follow a predetermined flow.
Questions to ask oneself when referring to layout include:
- Is the site layout intuitive, consistent and easy to follow?
- Are the pages laid out in a template fashion, with images and text consistently appearing in expected places?
- Is the header and footer (and sidebar if applicable) consistent from page to page?
- Do the colors used compliment each other?
- Do the images used make sense and align with the concepts conveyed?
Layout is extremely important because even before a potential client begins to consume your content, they make decisions to either stay or go based on the layout of your site.
SEO is a term that’s widely used and often misunderstood. SEO refers to the design of your site “behind the scenes” and optimization for being found in Search Engine Response Pages (SERPs). When someone submits a query to a search engine (such as Google), the page that displays the search result is known as a SERP. There are many components to SEO and proper utilization of those techniques increase the likelihood that you’ll get ranked and displayed in SERPs. The simplest way to describe one of many SEO techniques can be done with images. Imagine you have a website with a few images on it. To humans, the images do not need tags because humans can easily recognize images and understand what the image is about. Behind the scenes, computers and search engines don’t see, therefore they canno recognize images. Images must be properly tagged to be indexed by search engines and to provide search engines with the context of an image. Similarly, links, pages, video and audio files must also be properly tagged to assist search engines with the indexing of content. Pages with properly tagged content will be indexed as more valuable to search engines that do not tag content.
SEO is a huge factor in gaining high rankings in organic search engine results, as well as lowering the costs for paid online advertising.
Hosting refers to the place where your website is stored. You can think of it as the land that your house sits on. In order for your house to exist and for people to find it, it needs an address where it can exist. The same occurs with a website. A website receives a physical place on a server to exist. Your web address or URL points a user to that physical address where your website is stored. Each time a visitor visits your website, they are actually using the information on the physical server to display your website on their device.
Hosting is a huge factor in search engine indexing because search engines prefer to index websites that are fast where pages load quickly. Long gone are the days when a search engine would index and display a slow-loading page in the search results. Budget hosting is a huge culprit in poor search engine results because budget hosting companies eventually host too many sites on a single server. Those sites compete for limited bandwidth and thus all the sites become slower due to infrastructure limitations. The solution is to use reliable and fast hosting companies which will definitely cost more, but they’ll obviously pay for themselves because people will be able to find your site.
Premium high-level hosting starts in the range of $55 / month for a single site and up. Sites with high levels of traffic need more resources and monthly fees can range in excess of thousands of dollars a month. Think about it. If you’re investing thousands of dollars in a premium website, would it be wise to skimp on hosting instead of delivering a reliable, stable and fast user experience with better search engine rankings? Of course not. Also, premium hosting allows you to scale as your website traffic scales.
Website security is extremely important if you’re concerned about getting indexed on search engines. Search engines now rate secure sites higher than sites that don’t have an SSL certificate installed. With the number of digital security breaches, search engines want to protect their clients and provide access to secure sites over insecure sites.
Web browsers such as Google Chrome provide immediate notifications that a secure is insecure. Browsers such as Edge and Firefox are less “Vocal” about insecure connections.
Instead of advising that a site is insecure, they passively fail to show an image of a green lock indicating that a site is secure.
Browsers such as Safari, are set by default to refuse a secure connection and don’t allow a connection to insecure sites.
By browsing insecure sites, usernames and passwords can be easily intercepted. Since many people have still have the same username and password combinations for many sites (the same email address and password combination), it would be easy to obtain a single email address and password combination and begin to hack multiple accounts on popular sites.
In this article you’ve learned about the six most important factors affecting how your website and it’s various aspects contribute to getting indexed and discovered online.
Thanks for reading this “Three Ingredients To Digital Success – Your Website” article on considerations regarding your website. If you want more information on strengthening your digital presence, feel free to visit:
- Three Ingredients To Digital Success – Your Content (Part 2 of 3); and,
- Three Ingredients To Digital Success – Your Marketing (Part 3 of 3)
If you found this article useful or helpful, please feel free to drop us a line or share this on social media. If you have questions about your own website, or are unhappy with your online performance and wish to grow your business faster, please feel free to reach out to us. You can schedule your free strategy session below.
Thanks again and have a great day!