Evolve Systems works closely with many different companies in order to give each one of them a uniquely branded website. We’ve invested hundred of hours into acquiring the knowledge and discerning eye as to what users are looking for when they visit a website. Many of the reasons people stay on a website are simple reasons, but you’d be surprised at how often people tend to overlook those items until they are shown the difference!
So here are 5 ways to update your website for Web 2.0 for 2011 and bringing and retaining traffic to your website.
1 – Center Your Website
In the early days of the Internet, many companies hired web programmers to design their website, and those programmers used programs such as Dreamweaver to write the HTML code. Nowadays, while HTML is still being used for many thing, new computer languages have arisen, and CSS is one of the most dominant. One of the first things Evolve Systems recommends to clients who are looking to refresh their website is to center the web pages. More and more computer users are using widescreen monitors, and a center aligned website will be optimized for all monitors currently being sold.
2 – Use H1 headers.
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo don’t view your website as you or I do. They look at the code, and see such things as the text on this page, or something like “Image #1”, when you may have a picture of a dog where “Image #1” is placed. To get better search rankings, your code should “show” those terms that you want to be known for. Let’s say your company’s name is “Canine Heaven”. To get good search results, you should include terms such as “canine”, “dog”, “puppy”, and other variations in the image codes. One of the first things a search engine sees when it visits your website is the H1 headers, which are raised in prominence, similar to seeing the chapters in a book. If your keywords are in those H1 headers, you will rank higher.
3 – Include a SiteMap.
A SiteMap is essentially an outline of your website. They are great for searching through a website quickly and seeing all published pages. Often times users will not want to play the “links game” on a website and instead search for the SiteMap directly so they can quickly get where they want to be. Also, similar to H1 headers and image tags, search engines “see” SiteMaps and use it to organize your website in their directories. More developers are implementing SiteMaps in their work, and programs such as Amiro.CMS have an option to auto-generate a SiteMap as the website is being built.
4 – Let Go of the Words
We’ve written previously in this blog about our love for Janice Redish’s Letting Go of the Words. Statistically people will leave a website within 30 seconds if there is not something to grab their attention, either through images or content. But at the same time, most people don’t want to sit and read a lot when they visit a website. For example, at the end of this sentence, this blog post will contain 553 words, which is ideal for a blog post, but obviously you can tell we just went over. Writing on the web needs to be broken down into short paragraphs, clear headers, sub heads, and bullet points. If someone is scanning a website and sees the words they want to see (Example – “Canine Heaven – Treats for Dogs”), they are more likely to stop, click, and stay a while, then to just see a large body of text that they have to laboriously read through. Yes, the Internet is making many of us lazy…while forcing the rest of us to be better writers and marketers!
5 – Place Contact Info Prominently
Many companies used to choose to create a single “Contact Us” or “About Us” page on their website. Nowadays, the trend is to have that contact info available at all times on every page, by writing it in the headers or footers, or by even having graphical buttons that serve as links (a common web practice that 99% of users will self-identify) to a contact form or a social media account such as Facebook or Twitter. A good example of this would be Camp MakeBelieve Kids where their social media accounts are prominently displayed.
Hopefully these 5 suggestions for improving your website were helpful. If you like these suggestions but don’t have time to implement them, Evolve Systems does offer a comprehensive Website Maintenance Plan that will enhance your website while providing solid analytics data and SEO optimization. Send us an email if you have any questions!