Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Make Sure Your Company's Website Doesn't Disappoint!

The fiasco that is HealthCare.gov is known far and wide now. Contractors who did the design and coding have found themselves answering questions from Congress, doing their best to recover from one of a handful of governmental flubs in recent history. Try to bring America into a new era of health care coverage and then drop the ball this hard--it's going to be difficult to recover from. But unlike a few weeks ago, we're not here to talk about health insurance for your small business or mistakes that the federal government has made: We're here to talk about the value of having a strong website.

You might be asking, "What makes a website strong?" Well, just like a new building, the most important thing is a solid infrastructure. This means making sure that there is no extraneous code; this means making sure that each and every link is unbroken; this means making sure that everything you want visitors to see and know is accessible. Each of these things can be easily overlooked by amateur website designers, making your site potentially unstable. Knowing what a company needs for its online presence is essential and experienced players are more likely to get it right on the first try. Once you have a reliable base, it's time to bring value to your site. This is easily done by generating quality content.

Remember how I mentioned keeping the important things accessible? This is essential both when developing code and content. If you ramble on your website, it's likely that potential customers (assuming you're looking to garner more) will leave--wordy pages can cause a website visitor to quickly jump ship. These visitors are looking for the vital information they are either already seeking or do not know that they need to know yet. So give them the information they want--usually things like your product or service, your location, your hours, and your contact information--as well as a reason to stay by posting content that is both interesting and relevant.

Imagine how much business these pandas could bring
you! | Source: Crochet Dreamz
For instance, if you are a grocery store, you could post recipes and dinner ideas, provided that you stock all of the ingredients. Doing small things like this can bring visitors and customers back to your website and back to your store over and over again--we all know that repeat business is a good sign for a company. Obviously, this means making a habit of posting such content. Customers often look to the companies they support for predictability, so this means being regular about such updates. If you put up a blog post with a recipe on Monday, make sure you do it every Monday. Or if you have a store that sells crafts and decide to give your readers the directions to crochet a cute animal-themed hat, perhaps make a themed day of the week a la Instagram (I'm looking at you #tbt also known as Throwback Thursday, when a users post old picture of themselves). Whatever your business is, regular content is needed to refresh your website. Not only does it give customers a reason to visit again, it also lends legitimacy to your search engine ranking by showing that your site is active.

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