In the world of online services you very rarely get a second chance to make a first impression before potential customers move onto the next website. There is nothing worse than logging onto a website and then having to think about what it offers. Many sites are cluttered, difficult to navigate, but the main problem seems to be a lack of focus on the key services/products which they offer.
If you are looking for a particular service but a website is not pointing you in the right direction, would you move to the next one?
While the likes of Google and other search engines dominate the online arena, you still need to spoon feed them subject matter for websites. Website owners need to make the most important points as clear as possible on each page, which services/products are on offer and ensure that their website is ranked for the right terms. There is nothing more frustrating than creating a website, doing all of the link work, adding content and then finding you are ranked for terms which have no relevance to your primary business. This type of traffic can be completely worthless because the chances are visitors will be looking for something you don’t offer.
Research core keywords
Even though the online arena changes on a regular basis, with emphasis, regularly switching to different areas and changing search engine algorithms, core keywords and backlinks will always be the backbone of any good website. To remain as focused as possible on the services and the products which you offer, research core keywords and key phrases which you would expect to use to find your website listed on Google. While much of the power for your site will come from quality backlinks, it is still vital that you have a range of short tail and long tail search terms. If nothing else this makes your website look “human” which is what the likes of Google are looking for.
There are different views about online navigation themes with many arguing that individual pages are more often found directly from the search engines while others believe a precise navigation system is vital. The reality is that it is a mixture of the two because while the vast majority of people will find individual pages through the search engines, many will also look at your front page – at which point you will need to take them by the hand and walk them to the sections most relevant to their needs.
Sometimes the most eye-catching themes can mask what the underlying website is all about. Keep it simple, make full use of images but make sure that the focus is on what you are offering not the site design or images you are displaying.
If you have a website which for example provides online marketing services, it is evident that you should focus on this particular area. However, you will find that customers who sign up for your marketing services will also need an array of other complimentary services which you may not offer.
This opens the door to formal or informal relationships with other websites offering complimentary services. You can cross market your services; you can arrange a commission structure for customers that you refer and while this is secondary to your underlying business it can give you some useful additional income. One note of warning, where you recommend complimentary services in exchange for a commission, or some other reward, you need to ensure the third party offers excellent value for money otherwise this will reflect poorly on your reputation.