If you asked ten people what makes an effective website, you’d get ten different answers.
But here’s the thing.
If you’re going to have an effective website, one that attracts and keeps visitors interested, you need to know the goals for your site and if you’re meeting those goals.
Secondly, if your site’s performance is poor, maybe it’s time to take a look at how your visitors see your website and if they’re finding what they need.
Secondly, if you’re trying to create an effective website, these are the top 10 things that will make the most difference.
They’re not hard to implement, but they will help you find and meet your goals and meet the expectations of your viewers, very important!
1. An effective website makes it crystal clear what your site is about.
If I’m looking at a website, I want to know immediately what the site is about and how it will benefit me. If I can’t find that right away, I’ll leave, simple as that.
One thing I’ve noticed, especially with new websites, is that site owners will add text in the very beginning of the page that’s either irrelevant or too wordy, forcing their readers to scroll down the page before they can get to the real meat of what the site is about.
That’s frustrating for a reader.
Get to the point quickly. Be clear and specific in your header and in your headlines on what your site is about. Don’t ramble on in the first paragraphs with generalities or irrelevant text.
Remember, if a visitor can’t determine what you are about quickly, or find some relevant value, they’ll leave.
2. Know where are your visitors eyes are drawn when looking at your site
Do you know if your web page traffic finding what they’re looking for? Do you know where visitor eyes are looking?
What your visitors see in those first few seconds may not be the same things you see. In fact, your eyes will typically move to the things that you are most interested in, that’s not necessarily where your viewers are looking.
Try asking a few individuals to look at your site and get some feedback on where their eyes are drawn. Don’t simply ask someone on the web to do a site review. Get an individual in front of your computer and ask them in person what they see first. If they’re not seeing what you would like them to see, it might be time to make a few adjustments.
Here’s a cool way to see exactly what your web page visitors are looking at:
3. Put Your Most Important Information Above the fold
Don’t make your visitors work for the good stuff. Keep your best content, ideas and important links above the fold of your page.
If the content above the fold is dull and uninteresting most people won’t scroll down hoping it gets better. They’ll just hit the back button.
4. Highlight Your Site’s Unique Selling Point
Your unique selling point or USP is a statement that sets you apart from your competitors. It’s a simple statement that gives your audience the confidence that you have what they need. You could call it part of your branding. Your USP should point out clearly the benefits of your product or service.
For example, a few things that make you unique might be helping someone save money or make more money. Perhaps you can help them save time or do something quicker. Maybe you can help someone with an ailment or overcome an inconvenience. Are you noted for fast delivery, awesome customer service or top quality products?
What is it exactly that sets you apart from your competitors?
Know exactly what your target market is looking for and come up with a unique way to enter that market by demonstrating how you can help them, why you are different and why they should listen to you.
Then make that clear at the very beginning of your site. Either in the header, headline or sub-headline of your site.
5. An Effective Website has a clear call to action.
Each page of your website or blog should have a purpose. You might be offering some really great information but where are you going with that information? Are you trying to sell or promote something, get email sign-ups, encourage feedback, what is it?
Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to ask for it. If you want a reader to make comment, ask for it. If you want your reader to sign up for your free guide, ask them. If you want your reader to take a look at another page, point them there with your link.
If your reader is engaged in your content and they’re finding value in what you’re telling them, they’ll be open to your call to action, so put it out there.
They make not take your suggestion, but the answers always no if you don’t ask, right?
6. Your Content has to be easy to read, engaging and useful
That brings us to writing great content. It all starts there.
You may not be especially good at writing, but the good news is that writing for your website or blog isn’t the same as writing a school paper or a college thesis. What you write on your site should, of course contain good grammar and spelling, but it should connect personally with your reader in a simple and direct way.
Good content starts with offering useful information, preferably not information found everywhere on the web. That’s why writing in your own voice, demonstrating personal thoughts and taking a personal stand on specific topics is what works well on the web, it makes your content unique and interesting, and that’s what readers love.
Effective Writing Tips:
- Use no more than 2-3 sentences in a paragraph and space your paragraphs so they have plenty of white space between them.
- Always keep text on a white background. It might seem dull but it works best.
- As for text size, think of your audience. If you’re market is retired folks, use a larger text size. For most audiences however, the average size of 10 or 12 is acceptable. Text that is too tiny isn’t preferred even for the good eyes.
7. Compose an impressive and engaging ‘about me’ page
When people come to my site for the first time, about 70% of them look at my ‘about me’ page.
That’s not really surprising because visitors like to know who’s behind a site, they want a little background on who I am, what I do and why I created the site, especially if they like what they’re seeing.
Why is that important?
People are social by nature, so the more they can know about the person behind the curtain, so to speak, the more they will trust the site. This is especially important if you are in a niche where you are mentoring, educating or coaching.
By creating an impressive about me page you can effectively demonstrate your personality, your commitment and your character. If your visitors like you, they’ll trust you, and that goes a long way for creating a business and a website that is profitable.
8. Effective websites capture their visitor’s email
If you don’t currently capture your visitors email addresses I have to ask you, “Why Not“?
If you can create your own opt-in email list, you’ll have an easy, yet effective way to keep your visitors coming back to your website.
Not every one of your site visitors will want to subscribe to your list, but that’s OK; those that do are the people that truly crave what you have to offer and those are the most targeted visitors you can have, so capitalize on that.
I rely heavily on my email list to connect personally with my readers and help gain their trust and confidence. Of course I don’t spam them or annoy them by sending them garbage, which is what many email marketers use email for. But if you use email for what it’s designed to do, it’s an effective and powerful tool
9. Use Multimedia
This one’s tough for most of us, including myself The written word is powerful but don’t give up on things like video, audio and podcasts.
People are twice a likely to get all the way through a video or audio versus getting all the way through your blog post.
The other positive for using video and audio is that if someone can see you speak or hear your voice, they’ll feel a more intimate connection with you, and people prefer that.
10. Link to social media Sites
Include social media links on your website or blog. These give your readers the opportunity to comment or vote for content they enjoy on your site. People love to share what they’ve learned or heard about so give them that chance.
If you have a WordPress blog there are plenty of plug-ins that make it easy to include links to Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and others. I like the Smart Sharing and DiggDigg WordPress Plugins, in fact I use Digg Digg on this site.
If you have a traditional website instead of a blog, all of the social networking sites offer free icons that you can place on your site that are easy to install.
Summing It All Up…
The real effectiveness of your website is how well you meet the objectives you have set for it and whether or not your visitors find what they need on your site quickly.
What things have improved the effectiveness of your website since first creating it: