No Compass Required
Navigation of a website should not require any special understanding of technology or programming. It should be as simple as point and click, as intuitive as a walk in the park, not like a mystery novel.
One a visitor has arrived, they should be able to easily find certain key elements so that they can quickly gain an understanding of your site’s purpose and intent. Elements like ‘About’ pages, where you explain what the site is about and why, ‘Contact Us’ pages where you make it very easy to be found and talked to, and Product or Service pages where you explain what it is you do and why it’s valuable to others.
Someone should be able to reach all your website pages from anywhere in the site and it should be obvious how to do so. It should not be assumed that visitors have a level of proficiency. Make the site as accessible to beginners as possible.
An AWSM site is always designed with simplicity in mind, so that navigation is not a trial or aggravation but a pleasurable journey where the visitor is at ease and everything they need to know is at their fingertips.
Your website is a reflection of you or your organisation’s persona. As such, it should portray who you are – it should present an image that represents the essence of your purpose or objective, whether that be a cleaner environment or a suite of products and services.
It should also make a positive first impression; a ‘wow’ factor if you like, that stimulates the visitor, jogs either the emotion or intellect in a manner that is memorable. Stick in their mind, and they will be back.
Choice of colours, images and fonts are key, as is the basic structure of the site. It should be consistent with your ethos and pathos, an expression of who you are and what you want to say.
An AWSM site is one that captures all of these fundamentals and packages them in a subtle manner that draws the visitor in an makes them want to stay and return.
There are features that become visible to your visitors because they are used by them when they interact with you, like an ‘About’ page, a ‘Contact Us’ page, and your various content pages. There are also Social Networking links, enabling people to share a page to Twitter or Facebook or their social networking site of choice. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) keeps visitors in contact with your site.
But there are other features that are invisible to your visitors, supplementary plug-ins and add-ons that work for you in the back office and provide you with additional information about visitors – where they came from, which pages they read, which keywords they followed, and
Google Analytics tells you everything you need to know about your site’s traffic.
Autoresponders enable you to turn passing traffic into a captive audience. Building a Mailing List is one of the most effective ways to have constant communication with those who are interested in your content.
SEO utilities offer suggestions on how to improve your site’s visibility and ranking on search engines.
There are many other tools, plug-ins and add-ons that will enable you to make your website a dynamic strategic instrument.
“If you build it, they will come”, is the stuff of fantasy. Anyone can create a website. Today there are many sites offering facilities where ordinary people with no knowledge of computer programming or code can build their own sites. Building a site is easy. Getting people to visit your site, engage with your content, and contact you is far more difficult.
Visitors are the lifeblood of any Internet website. Knowing who they are, what they are looking for and how to interact with them so that they participate with what you are trying to achieve or buy from you are a lot more difficult.
Getting Targeted Traffic to a website is made possible by many and varied processes, some of which cost money, but there are many others that cost only bandwidth, time, and a little effort. Google pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns are very useful and affordable, as are Facebook and other social media paid advertising like local search engines and index websites. Banner ads on news sites, special interest or niche sites, and in email newsletters will also make a contribution to your visitor growth.
Search Engine Optimisation through the use of keywords, alternate text on pictures, header tags and a sitemap will make your site more visible to Google and others.
Videos have become more and more attractive to users, especially when people want toi find out how to do something and don’t want to wade through pages of text.
If you want to grow organically, it’s important to have an interactive rather than a passive, static Internet presence. The more your site changes, the more traffic you’ll get. Blogs are more dynamic and if you post regularly, the search engines will find you.
Setting up Social Media pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, or perhaps Google Plus or MySpace, is another way of getting a captive audience to whom you can promote your product or service and get people to visit your site.
AWSM will assist you with everything you need to get a steady stream of targeted visitors to your site.
Integrating with the Global Network is a crucial component of Website Infrastructure Development. What we call ‘off-site’ factors will have a significant effect on the growth of your website traffic:
Articles published on other sites which have your signature linking back to your site can become viral if others post the same article on their Blog or site.
Links from other sites to yours through either link exchanges or becoming a reference site that others regard as important.
Blog hopping, posting comments on Blogs that link back to your site via your signature on the comment.
Posting advice or comments on forums with your signature linking back to your site.
Email Signature linking to your site.
Publishing eBooks in which you refer to your site in the introduction or at the end.
With a little research and application, before long all these strategies will bring interested visitors to your door.
Have a look at some AWSM sites: http://www.awsmsites.co.za/category/awsm-sites/