You may already have a website, or you may be considering one for your business.
Either way, you should think very carefully about how it looks and functions, as more-and-more, your website will be the first port-of-call for anyone interested in using your business or services.
For a website to be a success it needs to fulfil the following criteria:
1. It needs to work. Not as silly as it sounds – web surfers now have a plethora of different methods for accessing the internet. The home PC is still the most common method, but your website could also be visited on mobile phones, PDAs, and even the latest games consoles – which allow users to hook up to the web and surf from the comfort of their sofa. You should also consider “speaking browsers” – as used by the visually-impaired. For your website to work consistently across all these different devices you should ensure that it’s built to follow the standards set out by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This can be regarded as a “kite mark” for web design. If your site adheres to these standards then you can be sure it will be viewable by the highest possible audience.
2. It needs to be usable. The information on your site needs to be relevant, up-to-date, and easily accessible. Simple navigation and a logical structure are essential. The “3 click” rule means that users should never be more than 3 clicks away from the information they’re looking for. If this information is tucked away at the bottom of a page, in an illogical position, the user is likely to become frustrated and will soon abandon your site and go elsewhere.
3. It needs to be found. It’s all very well satisfying the above 2 criteria, by having a beautifully-designed, well-structured website, that displays correctly on all manner of gadgets, but what’s the point if nobody knows it exists? Getting a high ranking on Google isn’t easy, but there are several ways you can improve your sites “visibility”. Firstly, it should be built in a way that is “friendly” to search-engines – this means having relevant page-headings, meaningful link-text etc. Secondly, you should try to get as many links as possible to your site, by offering a link-exchange to relevant websites, or by getting “out there” and promoting your site online, wherever you can. Thirdly, and crucially, Google now ranks sites higher when their content is refreshed on a regular basis, so you should ensure that your site is built with a content management system, which allows you to modify the page content, add news articles, special offers, etc. whenever you see fit.
So, there you have it – A solidly-built site, viewable by the largest audience possible; A site that is easy to use and offers all the up-to-date information the user might need; And a site that is easily found by the search engines.
Your 3-steps to internet heaven.