When you’re building a website there are a number of things you should bear in mind. Although your website is a platform for the product or service that you’re promoting, it should always be designed with the visitor in mind.
It’s not difficult. If you can always be objective about what you do to your site, and look at it as if you were a visitor, then you should be okay.
1. Make it readable
People are used to reading dark words against a light background; it’s easier on the eyes. Remember we have an aging population so using a standard 12 point font will make it easier for everybody. Dark backgrounds with colored letters may look incredibly arty but they turn people off because they’re difficult to read.
Links should be left in the normal underlined blue, change them to another color and there’s a chance people won’t click on them. It may be frustrating if you’re the artistic type, but I’m afraid you’re just going to have to conform if you want to build readership and increase traffic and subscribers.
2. Make It Search Engine and Visitor Friendly
Use your keywords at the beginning of article titles so the search engines find your pages easily. Learn to craft effective article titles that entice readers, and keep your articles around 500 words. Use subheadings to break up the page and keep paragraphs short.
Make your website easily navigable. Don’t confuse readers by having too many links in an article surrounded by distracting advertisements. Less is more especially with ads.
Ensure your links are set to “open page in new window” and not take the reader away from your site. If you mention you have another page about some point in an article, make sure you have an internal link to it. Don’t expect your visitor to poke around looking for what they’re looking for – they will go somewhere else.
4. Essential Pages
If you have any Google Adsense advertising, make sure you include the appropriate disclaimer pages. Google clearly explains what it looks for in its Webmaster Guidelines.
An About Me page is also essential because it’s part of self-branding. People want to know who you are and why you do what you do, and by including a nice About Me page with a photograph. You build trust which is essential if you’re trying to sell anything. Build a Contact Page even if you only include your e-mail address. Be open and transparent.
If you use WordPress there are plug-ins that will build all those necessary pages for you including earnings disclaimers and all the legal stuff that Google looks for.
5. Stay on Topic
Stick to the main purpose of your website – don’t get sidetracked and post articles about things your readers won’t be looking for and won’t be interested in.
6. Be a Problem Solver
The majority of people searching the internet are looking for answers to questions and solutions to their problems. It’s fine to offer information about your product or service but craft some of your articles in such a way that they answer common problems. You should be able to get ideas for problem solving keyword phrases by using any good keyword program.
7. Calls to Action
If your website is for the purpose of making money, always include calls to action in your articles. People have to be told to do things!
An effective article will be around 500 words, include one or two internal links and write so a reader is led down the page to a call to action. If you want people to subscribe to your list, tell them at the end of your article and make sure your sign up box is clearly visible. If you’re offering a free download, explain exactly what they’ll get and make sure the link is obvious and it works! Dead links are a killer.
8. Evaluate and Improve
One of the most important things about building a website is knowing what works and what doesn’t. You should always have some kind of monitoring system in place.
If you have ad links and banners that never get clicked on, change them. If you have great articles that never get read, change the titles. If you have good traffic but nobody’s signing up, redesign.
Test your links! There’s nothing more annoying than trying to get further information or download something when a link doesn’t work. If you use WordPress there is a plug-in that will test your links automatically and alert you if there’s a problem.
Your regular readers should enjoy coming back to your site and new visitors encouraged to return, that’s what builds traffic and will earn you money.
Do you have any further tips about building an effective website? Have you also found that the “less is more” theory works? Let us know by leaving a comment.