Monday, December 16, 2013

Make Sure Your Website Makes the Right Impression--And Builds Sales

As the old saying goes, “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” In the online world you have one moment, so make sure you make the best impression right away on your business’ website. Here are five ways to make sure your website works in positive ways to build your online reputation and identity.

Good website design. This is a crucial part of how site visitors will perceive your brand and it’s sad to say, I see many websites that are not updated and look unappealing and musty.

Site visitors (and future customers) will trust your brand based on what they see on the Web. You want to encourage them click through to view more pages, watch a video, or fill out the contact box for more information. Make your website design clean and uncluttered, with images that support your brand’s story and encourage interaction with the pages.

Mobile-specific website. Smartphone market penetration has skyrocketed; according to, market penetration in 2014 is projected to reach 64 percent of all new handset sales, and IBM reports that mobile commerce sales now account for over 13 percent of total online sales. It is predicted that more people will access the internet via their smartphones than their desktop computers by next year.

Mobile-specific websites are formatted to accommodate the smaller screens, touchscreens, and gestures so they are much more user-friendly for smartphones and tablets. They are thumb-friendly and don’t require lots of zooming in or panning left to right (just scrolling up and down). If you are creating a mobile version of your current site, leave out the flash graphics—they don’t load on mobile devices.

Embed video. Your website should offer various media because people take in information in different ways—through text, images, or video. Videos become your online commercials and should be just as short to keep viewers engaged. Embedded videos in your brand’s website increase visitor engagement or interaction, increases length of time on the page, and is good for SEO because videos can be optimized for search. By linking your short videos to longer forms on YouTube or Vimeo you create relevant back links to your website.

Link your social media accounts. Social networks provide excellent ways to boost your business’ online visibility; there are hundreds but the most popular for business are LinkedIn, Facebook (fan pages, not personal pages), Google+, and Twitter; Pinterest is becoming a popular business-building tool for certain types of businesses as well. You should cross-promote your social media content with your website to drive traffic to specific web pages or promotional landing pages.

Optimize and analyze. Strong search engine optimization (SEO) enhances your website’s organic search engine results. Implement the proper keywords and keyphrases, write relevant on-page content, and use targeted meta tags, title tags, and page descriptions.


After you optimize (which should be ongoing) you need to see how the site is performing and meeting your goals. Website analytics provide valuable data that will inform content and actions to take to grow your business. You can see:
- Which search engines your visitors use
- The search terms they used to find you
- Specific pages they are visiting
- Time spent on each page and bounce rates
- Interactions with the website pages

Analyzing these metrics helps you determine where you are losing your customers (on the site) and the channels they use to reach you; use the data to make necessary changes to boost website traffic and convert more prospects to customers.

Taken separately, each element can only do so much; put together in a cohesive website development plan can help you transform your website into a valuable online business asset. If you need recommendations for SEO experts who can help you with this important internet marketing effort, feel free to contact me for a referral.