Many business owners are surprised to learn that a website can look good, contain many pages of original content, and still not be found by the search engines. Or even when it gets traffic, the same site may not be effective at converting visitors from natural or pay per click traffic to customers. Depending on the category, more than half the visitors “bounce off” the average website. This means they exited the landing page without going deeper or stayed less than a prescribed amount of time, usually 30 seconds for most web analytics programs. Unless the customer is looking for a telephone number quickly, this means they likely did not “convert” or take the action intended.

The Art and Science of Effective Websites

A website is a prime example of art and science. It takes many skills to produce an effective website, and it is not easy to find web design individuals or firms that can produce an effective site affordably. If you rely on one individual, chances are they will come from either a design background or technical background. Rarely does one individual have the skills to cover all bases well. Some web builders will partner with others who fill gaps in their skill set or work preferences.

Below we will list some aspects of a good overall website & marketing plan.

  • Website look and feel that satisfies the site owner and appeals to/quickly engages the target audience
  • Stand six feet away from an average computer screen. Can you tell what your website is about? You should be able to.
  • Site structure and content that can be found by search engines (mostly html, limited flash, etc.)
  • Provisions for your potential future business needs and uses: ecommerce, databases, etc.
  • Built on a standard platform, so any webmaster can modify the site later
  • Reliable hosting account that you have login access to for future needs
  • Control of your domain name registrar login info
  • Usability and conversion efficiency (number of pages, length of pages, ease of use, what is visible above the fold, length of forms, placement of phone numbers, etc.)
  • Best practices followed for optimization for natural search, aka SEO. This consists of two elements: “on page” elements such as the way the site is built, meta tags, text content of main pages, attached blog, etc; and “off-page” elements such as news releases and other actions that link back to your website.
  • Blog attached to inform/engage customers and provide original, fresh content for search engines
  • Best practices followed for PPC advertising, conversion tracking, and phone number substitution
  • Simple content management system (CMS) so it is easy for you to make changes to text or content yourself instead of having to contact your webmaster
  • Regular backup plan for the website

We welcome your comments.