Website Design And Development
There are 2 main aspects of a website that make it effective. These two aspects are Search Engine Optimization and User Experience. Having neither of these is obviously the worst case scenario but only having one can also be a huge problem. Here’s a bit about them:
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a fancy term that has to deal with how effectively your website shows up in search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
Why Is SEO Important?
SEO is super important because it’s a huge part in gaining leads. When a potential homeowner wants to go on the internet to search for a contractor to do certain services, websites that are outfitted with proper SEO will show up higher in the search engine results. The higher up in the results, the more likely the company will be to have the user go on their website.
The easiest way to think about this is to imagine having to use Yelp to find a restaurant to eat at for your family. You’re more likely going to root around the first couple pages on Yelp for a restaurant instead of heading to pages 7 or 8, and this is the same when it comes to a contractor service.
How Do You Achieve Better SEO?
This is where everything gets technical. There are a lot of different ways to increase the rankings but the main two ways are:
- Keyword Optimization
In Keyword Optimization, each website and then specific webpages need to be set up to tell the search engines “hey Google/Bing/Yahoo, this webpage is all about this one service that I provide!” From there the search engine will analyze the whole page to decide “you’re right, this page is all about that service you provide” or it says “you’re telling me it’s about that service, but the rest of the page doesn’t really back up what you’re telling us it’s about.” Depending on how well the page is set up for that service (or in Google terms – a keyword), you’ll rank higher or lower.
What Linking is is a search engines way of determining if the website/webpage you have is of good quality based off of other people linking to it. The easiest way to think about what a link is is an online bridge to direct someone to a different webpage/website. So if you want someone to check out a separate webpage, you can set up a link that if they click it, it will take them there. When it comes to SEO, the quantity and quality of the links that come from outside of your own website back to your site help the search engines if the website is of good quality. The better the quality, the more likely someone will be to link to your website!
User Experience (UX) describes the overall experience when someone is using a product. In other words, UX is what it’s like from a customer’s perspective when they browse a website.
Why Is UX Important?
UX is important because it determines how effective your website is once a user is on the site. Just because someone has gotten onto your website does not mean that they’re going to necessarily enjoy it nor do take whatever your intended final action is.
Some people use their website just as credibility purposes while others use it as a selling tool! The latter is an ultra effective means to actually sell to clients because if set up properly, a website will shed insight into the contractor’s company and sell the company’s message to the client.
How Do You Achieve Better UX?
The first step to improving your user’s experience is to reverse engineer your website. Determine what your end goal of the website is going to be and then work backwards. If you want the potential client to fill out a lead submission form, make sure the link to that form is accessible. Most new website users won’t get to your website and immediately fill out a form, so you’ll need to determine what the usual steps potential clients take on your website before they get to your lead form.
Another way to improve your UX is to have a family member/friend go through your website as a mock client and have them tell you if they could find a specific service or piece of information about you in an easy fashion. If not, it might be time for a website redesign.
How Do I Know If My Website Is Effective?
We discussed both the benefits and the how-to of Search Engine Optimization and User Experience. These are tied together more than most people give them credit for so you’ll need to make sure you have both.
Piggy-backing off the idea of having someone else test the UX of your website, have that person start from the beginning. They’ll need to pretend they’re a potential client and they want a service provided by you. Are they able to find you high in the search results and then determine if you are going to be the best bet for whatever they want out of you?