Monday, October 11, 2010

The Importance of a Web Presence - Where Are You?

by James D Fulton

These days having a web presence is just as important as it was to have your business listed in the yellow pages in the days prior to the internet being an every day house hold commodity. Seriously Good Design's own web guru, James Fulton takes a look into web presence and the importance it has when it comes to being seen and getting the customers...

Firstly, name a large company which doesn't have a web presence? All medium to large companies have a web presence and most companies are directing the majority of their potential customers to their site. 

A web address is often easier to remember than a phone number and people today will tend to look at a company's web site rather than pick up the phone to gather information, compare businesses and to get a visual idea of the product or services your business has to offer. Web presence is very important today as a means of communicating with potential and existing customers, almost all SME and large companies have a website. 

However just a website alone is not all it takes to get the attention of your target market, it is vital to stand out from the crowd and especially from your competitors.

There are 3 points that can change a website from being good to great and to draw your target market to you rather than your competitors, these include:

1. Content
2. Look
3. Navigation

Each of these points is essential to enhance your web presence.

Content

People don't want to sit on a website and read pages and pages of information. Content has to be short and sharp, straight to the point. Get your message across in the least amount of words.

Look

The look and feel of a website is very important. Visuals play a large role in how the website looks. But it is important not to overload the site with images as it can look unprofessional. Having too many images in a website can affect the website's loading speeds. It is important to keep the loading speeds of your website down, viewers do not want to sit around waiting for the site to load, and they are more inclined to leave the site if they have to wait a significant amount of time for the site to load.

Consistency is a must for all websites. Each page's basic look and feel should be the same on all of its pages and most importantly the navigating should be consistent for all pages. This will allow the user to easily navigate through the pages, and find what they are looking for. It also gives the entire site a professional look.

Overall a nice clean looking site with a good amount of visuals will make the website look aesthetically pleasing for the viewer. Consistency is a must for all websites. Each page's basic look and feel should be the same on all of its pages and most importantly the navigating should be consistent for all pages. This will allow the user to easily navigate through the pages, and find what they are looking for. It also gives the entire site a professional look.

Navigation

The navigation of a website is the most important element of a websites success. There are so many websites with very confusing navigation systems. The key is to keep it simple. Use the most simple and common headings for navigation titles to avoid confusion and ambiguity and don't let navigation systems go to deep. 

Viewers do not want to be clicking endlessly around a page trying to find a particular page. By grouping pages into sections can help ease the congestion but make sure they are grouped with a common theme, and a clear and meaningful heading.

In moving away from the actual site itself, search engine optimization is essential. Internet users are more likely to search for your site using a search engine, rather then type the exact URL into the browser. Having a website appearing in the first 5 rankings of a site will enhance website traffic enormously. The key is to be ranked higher against your direct competitors to prevent losing customers. By grouping pages into sections can help ease the congestion but make sure they are grouped with a common theme, and a clear and meaningful heading.

And once you've got your website sorted...

Search engine optimization is essential. Internet users are more likely to search for your site using a search engine, rather then type the exact URL into the browser. Having a website appearing in the first 5 rankings of a search will enhance website traffic enormously. The key is to be ranked higher against your direct competitors to prevent losing customers. 

To help enhance your rankings in a search engine, it is important to keep your website updated. The popularity of your website will also count towards how high in the list your site is ranked. The words used to find your site however are the most important for getting your site seen when it's searched for on the net. Identify the key words used to search for your website and optimise their use within the website, the use of them on your website can help boost your ranking, also include these words in your meta tags which is basically, a list of words that will help search engines associate your website with those search terms.

About the Author

James D Fulton, Seriously Good Design http://www.seriouslygooddesign.com.au