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Business Advisor

Elements of Successful Websites

Tips to boost your online presence

Your website is your online storefront. We live in an Internet-driven society. One of the huge benefits that we all love and enjoy is instant access to all sorts of information. According to the Domain Name Industry Brief by VeriSign, Inc., the Internet now has more than 183 million domain names (1Q 2009). This is a 12% increase compared to the same quarter a year earlier. Facebook has more than 300 million active users that spend 6 billion minutes per day on the site. LinkedIn has 50 million members. Twitter has roughly 20 million unique visitors each month.

Clearly, we are in an era where information is a key factor driving consumer behavior. How can you make your website stand out in the highly competitive online market?

Here are a few things to consider as you seek to boost your website to get more qualified leads.

1. Your website should be attractive.

There are millions of websites out there that are…well, pretty unattractive. An attractive website has a good blend of colors that enhance your message and that are appropriate for your target market. It is clean-looking, not confusing, and easy on the eyes. A good professional web designer can help make your website appealing with graphics focused on your market niche. Keep in mind that your website, e-zine or e-newsletter, business cards, and all your collateral materials should be consistent with the same logo, look, colors, feel, and, of course, your message.

2. Your website should be functional.

Your website needs to be user-friendly, easy to navigate, and set up so that it’s easy to find how to contact you. Include a site map that gives a snapshot view of your site’s content; some people find this an easier way to locate the information they are looking for. Include multiple ways for visitors to access the information, such as displaying the main menu bar options that are normally at the top of the page on the footer of the page as well.

3. You should have good content.

Good content is the key to a successful website. Potential customers read your website first before contacting your office. Include information that is consumer-focused and content-rich, such as how-tos and guides, to position yourself as an expert in the minds of your visitors. Consider a section for visitors to “Ask the Expert” so that they can submit questions on the information posted or not found. This will give you great insight as to what is in the visitors’ minds, and what it is that they are looking for in a potential builder. Periodically and consistently update your website with fresh information to enrich your site’s overall content.

4. Use your website as a marketing strategy.

Your website is a great marketing tool. Many businesses are not taking advantage of this opportunity. Those that are using their websites wisely, together with social media tools, are reaping the rewards of qualified leads and additional business.

5. Boost your website for page, keyword, and search-engine optimization.

Search engines look for the relevance in your site’s content against the keywords people use to search online. Your content pages should include the keywords in the meta tags section of each page. Search-engine optimization is vital to rank higher in the search engines and to appear on the first page of searches.

The key to a great website is a combination of the various elements explained above. Take these tips into account, discuss your goals with your web designer, and optimize your site to increase your company’s online visibility.

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