7 Habits of Highly Effective Websites

by Don Campbell November 20th, 2012 

websites-are-more-than-code

Most of us spend a lot of time trying to get pages on our website to rank well in the Google Search Results.

But what happens when people actually get to your website?

After working with hundreds of small business websites, here are seven things that we've found make them productive and successful. Take a look at the list below and see how many of them you do on your website:

Successful Website Checklist

  1. Simple Design and Navigation

    Your website doesn't need to be flashy – it just needs to be simple and professional. Make it easy for people to understand what your site is about, and how to navigate it. Studies show that you only get about 3 seconds before the visitor gives up and moves on – so it needs to hit them right between the eyes!

  2. Put Your Picture On It

    Did you know your About page is the second most visited page on your site? That's because people want to know who they are dealing with. Anonymous sites don't get results. Personal sites do. People buy from people, not anonymous websites.

    So put your picture on the about page, or better yet your home page. If you can't do that, at least include a picture of your staff, or your smiling office manager. You need to make it personal if you want to get results.

  3. Ask for Action

    Your site should have a clear call to action – what do you want your visitor to do? Call for an appointment, buy your eBook, sign up for your newsletter? Whatever it is, make sure you ASK for it. Ask the visitor to take action, or you probably won't get it.
  4. Update it with unique content – regularly!

    Publishing unique content on a regular basis is very important for your site. Every time you publish new content Google comes back and crawls your website again. This content can be optimized for the keyword phrases you care about, and for your physical location too.

    Great content also provides value to your readers and potential customers. If you share your knowledge they will learn to trust you.

    The best way to keep your content fresh is to have a blog on your website. According to a recent HubSpot study, companies that blog 10 – 15 times per month get 5x more traffic than companies that don't.

    A blog makes it easy to update your website regularly. If you are too busy to update it you can hire copywriters who are familiar with blogging and have them update the site for you.

  5. Syndicate Your Content

    When you blog, you can re-use your content for many purposes, including your email newsletter, updates to your social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. All blogs include an RSS feed which allows you to easily syndicate your content to other sites.
  6. Measure and Optimize

    It's easy to measure the results of your website; how many people come to it each day, what keywords they use to find it, where are they coming from, and more. Google provides a free tool for this called Google Analytics. Once you add this to your site, you can measure the effects of your marketing and tell what is making a difference.
  7. Be Mobile Ready

    Next year more people will use Mobile devices than PCs to get online. Smartphones are ubiquitous today.

    Studies show that mobile visitors are different than desktop visitors – mobile visitors are very "goal oriented"; they read fewer pages and spend less time on your site because they are looking for something specific. Usually that means your phone number, driving directions or business hours.

    That's why it's very important that you deliver a mobile experience to your mobile visitors. Most smartphones will display your full site, shrunk down to fit the device. Don't put your visitors in "pinch and zoom hell" – serve them a special page formatted for their device with easy "touch points" so they can call you or get directions.

    (See this presentation from Google for some more amazing stats on mobile adoption.)

So what about your website – are you doing these things? If so, congratulations! If not, pick one of these items and get to work on it, and let me know how it affects the results you are getting.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy 5 E-Commerce On-Site SEO Mistakes And What You Can Do About Them Now

Don Campbell

Don is President of Expand2Web, where he writes about WordPress for business and local search marketing. He also created GetFiveStars - a tool for business owners to encourage feedback and positive reviews from their customers.

Expand2Web Blog

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9 Responses to “7 Habits of Highly Effective Websites”

  1. Great checklist, thanks Don!

    I'm very glad you included the importance of asking for action and adding content. A site isn't just about code, or even about ranking in the search engines. It's a MARKETING tool and should move someone forward in the sales process.

  2. Julie Larson says:

    Thank you for listing it out and keeping it simple, Don!

  3. Javi says:

    From what I've seen (and based on my somewhat limited knowledge), no.4 most definitely affects the traffic a particular blog gets. I've seen websites who publish regularly get more traffic (and better rankings) as opposed to those who don't. Which essentially explains why blogs which are updated numerous times daily rank higher on the SERP and get more traffic.

  4. Danyelle Franciosa says:

    Great Checklist Don! It helps a lot. Simple design and navigation is really important. no one can compare the beauty of simplicity. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  5. Alex Rascanu says:

    Good checklist, Don! And thanks for pointing out HubSpot`s findings about blogging – it`s a useful resource.