In today’s business on the World Wide Web there is a substantial difference between the websites of the 90’s or even 5 years ago and the websites now. Effective websites today are not only attractive and functional but also interactive and easily findable. Nobody wants to read or view a website; we want to USE it. Below are 6 different areas that business owners should consider when creating, redesigning, or updating their website.
Interactivity on your website has multiple positive effects for you business. One of the positive aspects is that potential customers/clients are more likely to stay on your website longer while they interact. The more time they spend on your website the more likely they will make a buying decision regarding your product or service. Additionally, if the user thinks that the tool or interactive element is ‘cool’ or useful they are highly likely to tell someone else about it.
We are a highly entertainment driven society. As such we are typically driven to websites that provide a level of entertainment. Interaction on any level often translates to some for of entertainment and we are likely to return to it again.
Search Engine Optimization
One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make when employing a website is twofold: One, not designing the website to be SEO friendly and, Two, not doing and sustained organic SEO for a minimum of 6 months (preferably a year). The reality is that if your website is not findable then it is a waste of money. Most websites do not have search engines in mind when they are created making it even harder for the site to be optimized.
NOTE: It is vitally important to know that true organic SEO takes time. On average it takes approximately 6 to 12 months before you will begin to see the results you want. Be cautious with SEO companies that say they can do it fast as they are likely engaging in unethical practices that could ultimately get your website banned!
Quality Search Engine Optimization always follows the guidelines of the search engines and never tries to “cheat” or “trick” the system to create the desired effects. Although the effects of organic SEO are long lasting, it is something that should always be maintained.
The W3C is the World Wide Web Consortium. They are responsible for establishing the standards for the web in regards to HTML (website coding) practices and other related coding standards on the web.
A good web designer should always be able to validate their work through the w3c.org website and have it return no errors. A good idea before choosing a web developer is running a few of their clients through the validator to see if they return any errors or warnings. Once your website is W3C validated, your website will not only be much easier for the search engines to follow but also will help to ensure that they are cross-browser compatible. This means that they will look the same and work the same regardless of whether it is IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome or another browser.
The type of coding and server make a huge difference in scalability when it comes to upgrading, editing or making substantial changes on your website. Although there are several popular servers and coding styles that are very easy to use and develop fairly quickly, the ease of being able to make substantial changes are a whole other matter.
One of the most scalable and easiest styles of coding is called PHP, which uses the MySQL database server. There is virtually nothing that you can’t do with PHP, which means that you don’t run into any issues trying to add on special scripts that are incompatible.
Although it is important that you update the content of your website on a regular basis, it is recommended that you change or update the design of your website every 12 to 24 months. Of course, having your website scalable makes this really easy.
You can always tell when you go to a company’s website and it was designed 5 to 10 years ago. It is a big turn off for many clients when you see an outdated website that is not modern.
Modern looking websites that look to be newer and relevant tend to be more attractive to potential clients/customers. Additionally, the design of a website should be very easy to navigate. The overall design of the website should incorporate the navigation in a way that is easy to find, highly intuitive and quickly accessible.
Although Flash® looks really cool and modern, it lacks significantly when it comes to SEO. Minimal Flash® use is recommended with highly relevant content in HTML.
There are several important factors to observe when deciding on a web host for your website. Although many web hosts might be cheap, it is likely that their level of service and maintenance will be very minimal. You get what you pay for. Server location also makes a difference at which the speed of the website will load for users. Having a server that is consistent in their up time is also a crucial element to a successful website.
Overall, these 6 elements aren't the only factors when considering a website makover or creation, however, they do represent the most important points that should be considered.