Done right, your website is an investment, not a cost

By Cory Marazzo on

Never hire a designer because their price is right, hire them because they deliver results. And to do that, they need experience in user experience design, development, modern marketing, content strategy, analytics, search engine optimization, and much more. This will help you avoid notoriously low quality template resellers that will do little to help your business succeed. By extension, your website is your best salesperson. The faster (and the better) it directs customers to what they’re looking for, the more likely you will succeed online.

10 features your website must have to be effective

Collectively, the following features can improve your website effectiveness, help you find a quality lead and, most importantly, ensure a better return on investment.

  1. Content strategy: A website should be aesthetically pleasing, but it’s more important for it to be useful. Present choices, answer questions, provide advice and give information. Stay in touch if you can, through social media, blog posts, newsletters; and care about peoples’ best interests. This is important both for user experience and for SEO.
  2. Thoughtful user interface: To maximize site potential, people should be able to intuitively understand how to use a website without requiring additional instruction. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
  3. Responsive (mobile friendly): Your website should reflect who you are- and it should look good doing it. A fully responsive website is easy to navigate on every screen size that your customers are using (mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop). Websites that meet Google’s criteria also earn a “mobile-friendly” label beside their link on the mobile search results page.
  4. Fast page load time: Your web pages should load within 2 seconds. Fast websites lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions. Both Google and Bing use page load speed as a key ranking signal. There is simply no room for slow websites anymore.
  5. Semantic markup: The more relevant a page is to a search query, the more likely your page will rank higher in search results. The proper use of semantic HTML will make it easier for search engines to understand what your web page is about and match the suitable page to the search query.
  6. Scalability: As your business grows, so should your website.
  7. Social media integration: Connecting your social profiles with your website is an easy way to keep your newsfeed, polls, surveys, photos and your content at the central part of the discussion. If your content is a part of that conversation, it can help you pull people back to your site and to the top of your marketing and sales funnel.
  8. Accessibility: Adhering to current WCAG standards, ensures that your website is easy to use and accessible to everyone, including those with permanent or temporary disability. Your site doesn’t have to be accessible to be effective, but it makes good sense – economically and socially.
  9. Analytics and reporting: Set yourself up for success by understanding what’s working in your marketing and what’s not. Take into consideration your best customers and make sure that your text, navigation, images, page layouts and marketing are derived from the outcome of each touch point along their journey.
  10. Hosting: From poor performance to reduced rankings in search engines, a cheap web host is not worth the frustration. Instead of boring you with specifics, I’m just going to refer you to A2 Hosting for reliable, high speed WordPress hosting.

Getting started

You might not have an exact budget in mind, but it’s to your advantage to indicate a range (or an amount to not exceed) when starting any project. Sometimes all the features you want won’t fit into your budget. An experienced digital marketing consultant can help you plan your project in phases and ensure that your investments are working and that you’re not wasting money and resources – or worse, alienating your customers.

Before hiring someone to help build your online presence, it’s a great idea to become an educated consumer and get familiar with how marketing online works. I recommend starting here:

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