With the Internet growing at a rate of around 600 sites per minute, standing out can be tough…really tough. For those starting out on their first online adventure things can seem a little overwhelming. If you don’t have someone to hold your hand through the initial stages you can easily find yourself swamped with information.
Should I put on-page SEO before off-page? Will Host1Plus VPS servers suit my business better than a private cloud? Do I need to be able to code in order to get ahead? Where the heck am I going to get backlinks from?
Having all of these questions running around in your brain is only going to slow you down. Take a deep breath and begin at the beginning. These four basic principles will stand you in good stead as you move forward with your business:
1) Be clear about what you do
Now is not the time to be clever. What your website needs is a strong and clear message right from the get-go. Those who land on your site want to know what it is you do and what you are offering them, straight away.
It never ceases to amaze just how many businesses seemingly go out of their way to hide what it is they do. Don’t fall into this trap, shout your business from the rooftops…well at least from above the fold, anyway.
2) Make it easy to navigate
Nothing is more frustrating to a user than not being able to get to where they want to go. Hidden buttons, poor colour choices and illogical structures are just some of the ways that many first-timers fail to serve the end user well.
Keeping things clear and simple will allow your visitors to see exactly what you have on offer across your site and allow them to hop from page to page without wanting to tear their hair out or put their fist through the screen.
Make sure too that the way the pages work together is logical. Keep the structure sound and they will easily be able to find what they are looking for, and you may even be able to entice them into something they wasn’t!
3) Keep your content relevant
For too long now the mantra has been, ‘Create great content…and lots of it!’ Naturally, content is necessary, and making that content great is essential too, but too many businesses fall down by creating for the sake of creating.
If you feel that your business can only produce one quality piece per month, so be it. The days of churning out posts every day is over for most, as the poorer, less relevant content soon begins to dilute the overall message. Keep your content relevant.
4) Make friends
Great content needs to be seen, so you’re going to want to have someone other than your parents to show it off to. Thankfully, this has never been easier. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter allow you to hook up with likeminded folk and get your message out there.
The best thing about this is that, providing your content makes the grade, they will begin to do the donkeywork of promoting your content for you. Having a few of these evangelists onside can do wonders for growth, so nurture these relationships right from the start.
That’s it. Four simple things to get you started with your first foray into the world of websites. While a lot of the other questions you’ll have will be important, by following these four steps at the start you will be well on your way to creating a website that will not only stand out, but also stand the test of time.