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With the rising awareness of search engine marketing and social media, companies have taken its website more serious than ever. But, what makes a good website?
Search Engine Friendly
When I started building websites years ago with popular open source CMS such as Joomla and wordpress, SEO was not that popular yet. But, creating a search engine friendly (SEF) website became a top priority since.
An SEF website gets more pages indexed in search engines and stands a better chance to attract organic search engine (or keyword driven) traffic. Check out this crash course by Matt Cutts.
Easy to Manage and Collaborate to Publish Content
A great website makes it easy and efficient to publish and organize content, being it newsletter, new products, press release, or content change. Depending on the organization structure, some companies require new or updated content be sent for review before get published. A great website makes it painless and efficient.
Scheduling content to be published sometimes is a very useful feature. Getting prepared early is one advantage; last minute publishing may get interrupted. In addition, different hour of the day or different day of a week could make a big difference for reaching potential customers, especially when your content is synchronized with other channels such as email newsletter, twitter, or facebook page.
Flexible to Produce Landing Page for Online Campaigns
Highly efficient organizations require quick setting up of a landing page for online campaigns, either on search engines, eDM, or social media.
Driving all traffic to homepage is still often seen in markets like Singapore, which is totally wrong. Driving relevant traffic to the most relevant page could not only reduce the bounce rate but also increase the conversation rate. Selecting an existing page is okay; but a serious marketer will always put together a landing page for optimal on-site conversations.
Instead of briefing a web agency for a landing page, a flexible CMS could produce a less clustered and highly concentrated landing page, at least for small scale campaigns.
Some of my clients in the past get obsessed with SEO and whenever they change something on the site, they consult me whether it will affect their rankings in the search engines. More often than not, if it’s good for the user, it’s good for search engines. Of course the tricky part is, sometimes it’s hard to tell combining views from different angles whether it’s really good for the user.
What does usability measure? Quality of users’ experience. Ease of learning for new visitors, efficiency of use, and subjective satisfaction. Remember this, the look and feel is not about projection of company ego or anyone’s personal likes or dislikes but about the quality of a user’s experience.
A great website must have clearly defined call-to-actions. Depending on the nature of the business, it could be invitation to attend an event, to register an account, to download a whitepaper, to subscribe to newsletter, and etc.
Call-to-actions must be tracked and optimized by using web analytics.
Designed for Different Personas
It’s more advanced usability design for the websites. I’m not an expert in this but I did see improved usability and conversions through persona-based design for some clients in the past.
Persona-based design studies the behavior of current and potential customers by conducting interviews (or analysis under low-budget situations) with them and by analyzing their use of the website for design recommendations.
With High Quality Content and Useful Tools
Many companies try very hard to create content in a way they WANT their potential customers to read regardless of whether it’s useful or not to the visitors.
Take a look at the bounced rate of a web page and you can get a better idea whether the created content only make you feel good or your visitors. If a visitor doesn’t like to read what you published, the time spent will be short with high bounce rate.You can also use heatmap to observe users’ behavior on your site.
A great website not only provides great content and useful tools to its visitors but also interacts with them. Asking for feedback, making it easy to be reached, allowing comments to be published, …
It may be cool for many people to talk in executive meeting using word like “interactive marketing”; but, it’s a shame if no interactive elements are ever implemented.