What to look for when building a website?

By: Peter Cullen


A lot goes into creating a perfect website that leaves your customers happy and engaged with your brand. From eye-catching visuals and engaging copy to coding and UX/UI design, everything is as important as the next. All websites have the same objective in the end: drive new traffic, convert leads into customers, and keep customers loyal.


Backend Architecture

The back-end services to a website are the bread and butter of any website. This is where the magic occurs and allows you to shine in front of your viewers. This includes the programming and integration to really connect with the audience.

Think about your website as a physical store. This store is built using HTML and CSS. Potential customers drive by and see your storefront, the facade, and signage. This invites them inside. Then they see interior colors, lighting, product displays, and signage. This is all your website's CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), code that dictates the layout and design of your website.

The foundation and frame of your store is the HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). HTML determines the size and shape of your website. HTML is how you are able to insert photos, and videos, upload documents, and ultimately allow your website to function. Both HTML and CSS are not visible to your customers on the front end. While most website creation platforms like WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace have WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editors, meaning that you can make real-time changes to a webpage without seeing the backend HTML and CSS codes. While this has made creating a website easier, there are times when a part of your website breaks and you will have to be able to go into the backend and fix the code.


Navigation

If your website is difficult to navigate making it challenging to find information about your brand, consider your customers leaving and never returning.

When creating your website. Map out your customer journey. Where do you want your customers to go? Have easily identifiable sections and links that draw the customers in. Think about how stores use signage and displays to draw you into certain aisles. It's the same concept with your website.


When developing your site, continue to go back and forth and make sure to view it as a visitor and do in-depth processes of making sure everything is easy to find. Navigation menus or site maps are a great way to help the viewer navigate your site and obtain the information they are looking for. Having an easily navigable website creates an immediate connection with the viewer in the credibility of your brand. Good navigation ultimately leads to visitors spending more time on your site and making a conversion like filling out a form or buying an online product.


SEO Friendly

Having an SEO-friendly coded website is CRUCIAL! This is what increases your search engine rankings.

Our immediate reaction when searching for a product, service, or restaurant is to search on Google. We typically look at the top search results. Search engine optimization is what determines what websites are shown first. Why do we keep using Google for search? Because Google has mastered the art of matching us with exactly what we're searching for. If Google gave us irrelevant results we would stop using the search engine and there would be no more Google. So in order for Google to deliver us spot-on results, the search engine relies on keywords to determine how relevant a site is. The more keywords a website has, the higher it will be ranked when a customer searches for a particular product or service.


For example, let's say that you sell tax preparation services online. On your website, you rarely post new content, you only use the word "tax" three times, Your website is slow to load because you use a lot of photos, and the website is not mobile-friendly. Google does not want to show this site to potential customers. The main factors that determine a website's search ranking are security, page loading speed, mobile friendly, age of the website, keyword-optimized content, meta descriptions, having inbound and outbound links, website shares on social media, and having an accurate business listing on Google My Business.


Active Blog

Having an active blog helps keep retaining customers informed of what's new with your business, upcoming events, and any other related content.

Blog posts keep your website fresh with content on an otherwise static site. While restaurants and e-commerce sites may not post as much blog content, if you sell services, blogging is important. Articles demonstrate to your customers that you are an expert in your field. When we are in need of a service, what do we do? We search for the problem online. Let's say we get a speeding ticket, we are most likely to search for something like, "What to do when you get a speeding ticket?" We then read the first few articles to learn more about the problem. We are much more likely to contact the company whose blog post we read.

Consistency in posting content is important to maintaining an active website. You want to create a loyal following of customers and potential leads that consume your content. It's important to use social media to share your post. Fresh blog content that is consistent and optimized with keywords will help your ranking.



Customer Testimonials

Customer testimonials on your site show that you are indeed a professional business and give your viewers the inside scoop.

Like search ranking, customer testimonials and Google reviews are the second important consideration for potential customers. Would you eat at a restaurant, if they have only a two-star rating? Testimonials show your future customers your company's skills, products, and loyalty to customers.


If you are in need of testimonials, reach out to a few previous customers and solicit online reviews. Even better, if you build a strong relationship with a previous client, a very detailed testimonial or even a recorded one would move mountains for your business. Google makes it easy to share a link with your customers so they can post an online review in minutes. However, don't bribe your customers to leave a review, and don't pay Bots to post fake reviews. Google and other review sites will penalize your business for this.


Whether you have a restaurant, an e-commerce business, or offer services, having a properly built website is important. Good website design can be very time-consuming and overwhelming. While it's tempting to build it yourself or get your teenage neighbor to build it for free, budgeting to hire an expert to build your website will save you more money in the long run and will bring your business more customers.


Give the Bridges Consulting team a call today to discuss your website needs. We've built websites for restaurants, small businesses, non-profits, and political campaigns at an affordable price. We're here to make sure your business is successful.


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