If your budget for your company’s online marketing is limited, you may wonder how to appropriately allocate your funds between things like the design of your website and the content you’ll use to fill that website. Both are necessary to promote your business online, but design is usually a one-time cost (with some money set aside for web maintenance and possible future redesigns), whereas content is a long-term investment. As far as which is more important and should get a larger percentage of your budget, it depends largely on your goals.
According to Inspired Mag, the average user only reads a quarter of the content on any given web page they visit. That makes it seem like content is unimportant, and when it comes to a site visitor’s first impression of your business, the web design is undoubtedly most important. In the matter of seconds, a visitor makes the decision as to whether or not to stay and whether or not to potentially become one of your customers. When it comes to “design,” it’s not a matter of the aesthetic look alone, although that’s a large part of it. Design also includes:
- The site’s ease of use
- The site’s compatibility with both mobile devices and PCs
- Easy access to all important information (such as your company’s physical address, phone number and email address)
- Limited use (if any use) of pop-ups and advertisements – these should not be distracting, if your company feels it must use them at all
When originally creating your website, it all starts with the design.
Digital Current discusses the importance of and shares tips about effective content creation. As essential as design is, content still has a large role to play in the success of your company’s website in the long-term. Even after a person has seen your compelling website design, they need something to repeatedly draw them back to your site. Repeat visitors are the most likely to convert into buyers and loyal customers of your brand. Content offers visitors something new to look at every time you update (which should be at least once a week, if not more often). While they’re reading or watching your new content, they’ll be reminded of your brand and may remember to buy again.
Which Is Easier to Produce?
Both website design and content production are best handled by the respective professionals most suited to produce them. Only experts know how to make a website both look good and operate without errors. Professionals are most experienced at writing content that’s both compelling and likely to prove search engine optimized.
Allocate a larger portion of your budget for your website design before you launch your site and then pour more of the money into content over time. If your website is effective and designed well, it shouldn’t need much maintenance or require a redesign for many years. Whether you outsource design and content production, you do it all in-house or a combination of both, focus on designing first, but don’t underestimate the importance of content later.
Even if you’re relatively pleased with your company’s current website, it’s important to understand that web design is in constant state of evolution. The fact that your site looks good and runs well by outdated standards is hardly an indicator of success. Because of the ever-changing nature of web design technology and the rapidly fluctuating tastes of Internet users, you’ll need to update your site’s core design as needed. In some cases, this means doing a complete overhaul; in others, it’s simply a matter of making a few small changes. If your company’s site could stand some sprucing up, you’d do well to consider some of 2016’s most popular design trends.
Although web designers remain fiercely divided on hamburger menus, some of the web’s most visited sites have utilized them to great effect. Despite its somewhat misleading name, a hamburger menu refers to a circular button that’s displayed at the top left, top right or, occasionally, the center of a site’s main page. The instant this button is clicked, users are greeted with one or more menus that display a wide range of page links and options. While hamburger buttons are convenient for people visiting your site on traditional PCs and laptops, they can prove somewhat cumbersome on smaller-screened mobile devices – so if the majority of your site’s traffic can be traced back to mobile browsing, hamburger menus may not be for you.
All-Encompassing Background Images
A decade ago, nearly every site you’d come across, be it personal or professional, was littered with images. At the time, the guiding principle behind web design seemed to be “more is better.” Needless to say, that adage is no longer applied to crafting websites. These days, looking at a site created during this bygone era is liable to elicit disapproving clicks and head-shakes from experienced web designers. If you take the time to visit the websites of successful businesses, you’ll quickly notice one thing they share in common: all-encompassing background images. In recent years, using a large photo or illustration as a page’s sole background image has become very trendy. Provided each page’s image directly relates to its content, the “less is more” principle will serve your site well. As Digital Current’s Sasha Fedkevich points out, 2016 is the year of visual content marketing, so make sure to choose your background images wisely.
Many restaurant websites and ecommerce sites are having success with card-style layouts. Per this arrangement, each page on a site is made up of several large card-like images. Styles vary, but many sites prefer to have one large horizontal card encompass the entire top half of the page, while three or four smaller vertical cards occupy the bottom half. Additionally, make sure these cards are made up of bold colors. According to Forbes’ Tomas Laurinavicius, 2016 will see continued growth in the bold color trend.
No matter how happy you are with your current site, sooner or later, you’ll need to make some aesthetic and functionality-related changes. Although making regular updates may strike you as cumbersome, failing to do so will leave your site looking and feeling outdated. In the quest to keep your site up-to-date on both the technical and visual fronts, you’ll need to stay current with the latest trends in the world of web design.
At this point, it’s become impossible to ignore just how far behind the times your company’s website is. You always took pride in being among the first entrepreneurs to realize the Internet’s true potential and create a website for your business. Unfortunately, your lackadaisical attitude towards updating has turned your site into an outdated relic. Now that every small, mid-sized and large business under the sun has a website to its name, simply having a site is no longer enough. In order to win over prospective clients and prevent your company from being viewed as out-of-touch with modern technology, put the following tips into practice.
Keep it Simple
Throughout the ‘90s and early ‘00s, many web designers took a “more is better” approach when it came to imagery. During this time period, many personal and professional websites were littered with pointless images, as well as clashing colors and templates. These days, websites of this type stick out like a sore thumb. According to Forbes’ Ilya Pozin, sites that are “busy and flashy” are steadily going the way of the dodo. When putting together a new website for your company, it’s important that you stick with a predetermined color scheme and design theme. While there’s no unspoken rule against switching templates from page to page, doing so multiple times on the same page is frowned upon by most contemporary web designers.
Make Your Mission Clear
As Business News Daily reports, clarity is more important than ever to modern web users. Not everyone who visits your site is going to possess a solid understanding of what your company does. If your site’s homepage fails to make your core function and/or general mission immediately clear, you stand to lose a substantial number of prospective clients. Within five seconds of arriving on your site, most visitors will have made up their minds regarding whether or not to stay, so your homepage needs to grab their interest – and quick! You’re free to elaborate on your company’s history in the “About Us” section, but the text and imagery found at the top of your homepage should make it clear what your business is all about.
Write a Blog
In addition to being upfront about your company’s mission, your homepage should feature a regularly-updated blog. Not only will a weekly blog keep prospective customers and existing clients in the know, it will show them that you’re serious about updating your site. If time constraints prevent you from composing a post every week, delegate this task to other people within your organization – preferably those with a knack for writing. You can also change things up by featuring a video blog, or “vlog,” in place of a written one. A blog will also help boost your Google rankings, as the world’s foremost search engine has a marked preference for sites that are consistently updated.
Just as search engines have effectively taken the place of the Yellow Pages, website visits have taken the place of in-person pop-ins. Needless to say, if a potential customer doesn’t like what she sees on your website, there’s virtually no chance she’ll reward you with her business. Additionally, since researchers have clocked modern human attention spans at a mere eight seconds, you have very little time to make a lasting impression on people who visit your site. By committing to a simple design scheme, offering clarity and maintaining a blog, you can increase your chances of retaining visitor interest.
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. That applies to website design just as much as it does to anything else. If your website is in good shape, a total redesign could backfire and cause your customers to be unhappy. If you’re like most small businesses, you do about 44.2 percent of your online marketing with your website, according to Entrepreneur. That means you don’t want a backlash against a web design – but if there are areas where your site could improve, you’re unlikely to encounter anyone unhappy with the rehaul.
Speed Is Slow
A slow speed when it comes to loading your website, particularly when traffic is high, is enough to require a redesign. Hubspot reports 40 percent of visitors leave a website and don’t return if it takes more than three seconds to load a page. Your site has to be fast not only on PCs, but on smartphones and tablets as well, especially if you sell products directly from your website. Depending on the scope of your speed problem and the quality of your code, some designers may be able to keep your aesthetic design while fixing the speed.
Lack of Function or Clarity
Your website should be easy to navigate and use. If people are complaining that they’re finding it difficult to buy products, redesign the website so putting items in a cart is only a click or two from the main page. If your site simply posts content, make it easy for your visitors to read your latest updates right from the main page – don’t make them hunt around for your new content. Also, improve your visitors’ ability to navigate through related content by tagging posts and prominently featuring the search function on your site.
Poor Design Feedback
Ask visitors to complete a survey about your website in exchange for a reward like bonus shopping points, coupons for your products or access to exclusive content. If most people are unhappy with your design, take a look at the most popular websites among your competitors in the industry. Are your graphics out of date? Is there too much movement on your pages? Ask a designer to make your website appear more modern and attractive. Remember, though, that there shouldn’t be so much to look at it’s overwhelming to the visitor and distracting from the goal of your site.
If you can’t afford a complete redesign, look into small improvements like better quality images. Sign up for membership at a stock photo website with a variety of images you can use to go along with each post. You might also purchase a pre-designed template for the overall look of your site.
Talk to a professional website designer about ways to improve your site. Ease of use is by far the most important aspect of any site, but aesthetic quality does play a role in your website’s attractiveness to visitors, too. Just remember that redesigns don’t have to involve an entire rehaul if the look of your website is iconic or popular with consumers, so only make the smallest amount of changes necessary.
You may already be aware of the importance of business blogging. However, you may not be very clear as to how you can optimize your blog posts and make them search engine friendly. Without search engine optimization (SEO), you cannot expect to take full advantage of the tremendous marketing potential that blogging can provide. A study conducted by blogger.com showed that approximately 60 percent of the businesses have blogs, but 65 percent of the blog owners do not even update their blogs. The aim of this article is to provide some tips on how you can optimize a blog post for SEO so that you are in position to enjoy the benefits that blogging offers.
8 Tips On How To Properly Do Blog SEO
#1: Do extensive keyword research
For proper on-page optimization, a thorough keyword research is essential. You may naturally include keywords when you provide valuable content on various topics on your website. However, it is important to make use of certain techniques and tools in order to identify related keywords that you may have not considered, but are relevant to your blog. You can make use of semrush and Google Adwords keyword tool to find out related keywords depending on the topics covered in your blog posts. You can also use these tools to find out what keywords or keyword phrases your competitors are targeting in order to generate traffic for their websites.
#2: Sprinkle keywords throughout your blog post
After identifying the keywords that are relevant to the topic of your blog post through research using the tools, the next step is placing them strategically to create maximum impact. This is important because search engine crawlers index the content on the basis of relevance and keywords usage. Include keywords in the title, title tags, headings/subheadings, first paragraph in the introductory sentence, last paragraph, anchor text and meta descriptions. However, you must take utmost care to avoid keyword stuffing as it can irritate readers. In addition, Google can penalize you for keyword stuffing. The trick is to strategically place them at a couple of locations.
#3: Optimize images
You must include the keywords in the filename of the photos that you add to your blog. Additionally, you should also include a keyword rich description in the alternate text field.
#4: Reference other blogs/bloggers with links
Sometimes, you may refer to another article or blogger in your post. If you do that, it is important that you incorporate a link to the referred article or blogger. It is good blogging etiquette. In addition, you may receive a link back to your blog, if you are lucky. Quality links are helpful in improving your SEO ranking.
#5: Give visitors an opportunity to subscribe
Place Feed/RSS subscription button at a prominent place on your site so that readers can easily subscribe to receive your blogs through email. This enables your followers to receive instant notification when you post new blogs.
#6: Make use of social media platforms to expand your reach
You may already be using Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc., in order to create new connections for your business and engage with your current customers. It is a good idea to promote your blogs also through these sites. This will help to increase your web exposure. You can easily post the links to your blogs on several social media platforms with a coule of clicks by using free programs such as Hootsuite.
#7: Write good blog posts
It is very important that your blog post remains relevant and well laid out. Many bloggers just write whatever that comes to their mind. If you are a natural writer, then it may be easy for you to write good articles. However, it is a good idea to keep the following aspects in mind when creating a blog post.
• What is it that you want to convey to the readers through your text? What is the reason for creating the blog post? What is it that you want the readers to do after they finish reading your blog? It is a good idea to write down your answers to the questions prior to writing a blog.
• Decide the structure of the blog post. Your article should definitely have an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
• If you want to convey more than one idea, segregate the body of your article into different paragraphs. Convey only one idea through a praragraph.
• Use headings to help people find their way through your article. Subheadings help to lead people. It also helps them to scan your page and makes the structure clearer.
• Use signal words in order to make it easy for your readers to scan through your article and quickly grasp the main idea. For example, if there are three reasons as to why you are selling a product, then the signal words you can use are: Firstly, Secondly and Finally. Words such as So, Therefore, Surely, Nevertheless and Indeed are also signal words that you can use in your blog posts. Signal words are important elements that enhance the structure of your text.
• Prior to publishing your blog, get someone to read it. This is to ensure that there are no typos and there is clarity as regards the main idea of the post.
#8: Use WordPress SEO plugin
WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast helps you to create a blog post that is search engine friendly. This is because the plugin measures several text-related aspects as you write your article. The three important ones are as follows:
• It helps you to formulate your meta description.
• It calculates your article’s Flesch reading ease score. This provides an indication about the readability of the blog. For example, the score even takes into consideration the length of sentences.
• It checks whether you have included the keyword in 5 key locations such as the article title, page title and URL, article content and meta-description. In addition, it checks as to whether there are images and links in the blog. Further, it determines the word count and keyword density of the article.
If you can invest some time and incorporate the simple SEO tips explained in your articles, you are sure to enjoy higher rankings in search engine listings, increased web traffic and better customer conversion rates.
Finally, here are a couple of links that will help you to have a better understanding of the aspects discussed in this article. One is a blog written by Jonathan Long on B2C http://www.business2community.com/blogging/6-blog-post-seo-tips-get-content-ranking- 0963109 and an article contributed to Yoast’s blogging site by Marieke van de Rakt https://yoast.com/seo-friendly-blog-post/