- 17th Jan, 2014
Ingredients for a Successful Website
Just like baking a cake, there are some essential ingredients in building a website which shouldn’t be left out. You’ll have to spend time using search engine optimization, or SEO, to get your site ranked well in the search engines. You’ll also have to come up with a nice looking visual layout. In addition to all of that however, you’ll need to include many different elements that will make your site professional and easy to navigate. The best websites start with careful website planning.
This article will show you a handful of the ingredients necessary for a successful and user friendly website.
One of the most important website components you need to include is contact information. Contact information used to be contained to a “Contact Us” page on your site. While this kind of page should still be included, it’s now considered a best practice to include your contact information somewhere on every page of your site. This is especially true for e-commerce websites or any website selling a product or a service. Including your phone number and a link to email you on every page gives an impression of trust and that communication lines are open.
A live web chat or customer support chat interface can also add a lot of value to your website. There are many companies that offer this service for only a nominal price. It allows you to interact with your website visitors directly and easily. This makes them much more confident in what you have to offer, and it will allow you to produce higher conversion rates.
Another ingredient any successful website should have will be a sitemap. You actually should have two versions of your sitemap. One will be an actual page on your website that lists all of the pages on your site, broken down by category. This helps people navigate your page should they get confused. Your other sitemap should be a .txt or .xml file that you submit to search engines. This helps your entire website get indexed, which will produce far more favourable search engine traffic results.
To help improve the usability of your website, you should include a search box in a prominent place above the fold – meaning the website does not have to be scrolled down to be seen. A search box will enable visitors to your site to have direct access to information they are seeking. This is especially useful if your site is very large and has tons of information and pages.
The best websites also include an RSS feed signup prominently displayed on all pages. This allows people to access your new postings and content through their RSS feeders and aggregators. If you’re unfamiliar, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and allows people to pull the headlines from all of their favourite websites into one place, making information very accessible and easy to find. Including this option for your users will help encourage repeat visitors and will enable you to reach out to a wider audience.
Other website components include social networking sharing links, which will enable people to favourite your content on various websites and grab more attention for it. You should also consider creating a blog or a newsletter, and having a newsletter signup option on your site. All of these things can be grouped together seamlessly and they should all be present above the fold.
One final thing that you should include with your website is some kind of tracking or analytics service, such as Google Analytics. This is for internal use only, and not for your visitors. It will enable you to improve the performance of your site a great deal by allowing you to spot trends, see how people are finding your site, see why and when they leave your site and so forth.
These elements are just a few of the necessities that a successful website should have. Every website is different, and different businesses or industries will call for different things. Additionally, whether you are an information site, an e-commerce site or anything else will in large part determine what kinds of things should be included. The above ingredients however are a great starting point and will assist your website in the process of becoming a successful, respected, professional and trustworthy destination on the Internet.