“Build it and they will come.”

Have you been having a Kevin Costner moment like in Field of Dreams, hearing an ominous voice inspiring you to build the perfect website so clients will come flocking? You know the outcomes – your business skyrockets, you make a ton of money, you land an awesome Google-like office building for your new employees and you’re planning an early retirement. You just need the perfect website! A guy could dream, right?

Unfortunately, building the perfect website is just one small step to your business’ online success, and unlike Kevin Costner, you need to do a lot more than build it to attract potential clients. Your website needs to be designed to attract your target audience. Here are a few website design best practices to get your website off the ground and in front of the right people.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A word and acronym that are thrown around with ease, but what does this really mean when it comes to your own website? Optimizing your website for search engines means you’ll reach your intended audience who are already searching for your services and products. SEO includes a number of little things that equal the sum of your overall score, here are a couple SEO elements that count:

  • Title tags on web pages – tells search engines what the page is about
  • Meta descriptions on web pages – gives search engines more details about the page
  • Internal link building – internally linking to other pages on your website within your content helps search engines learn more about your website
  • Header tags – let search engines know more about what each section of content is about, use <H1></H1> tags around the post title and <H2></H2> or <H3></H3> tags around subheadings on the page
  • Name Images and ALT Tags – Include appropriate keywords for the image name and the alt tag to help search engines find the right images for image searches based on the keywords specified
  • Create quality content in the form of blog posts, articles, tutorials, guides, etc. and update regularly

Website Security

We can’t stress enough how much website security is both a proactive approach to avoiding data breaches and a necessity to your business. Having the right secure server hosting can save you from downtime and data loss while giving your site high-speed server responses. In addition, having a secure website can improve your Google search ranking if you have a secure connection between your website and server AKA an SSL Certificate.

Website Design and Development

Having a responsive website – one that adapts to mobile devices – also helps your Google ranking so you can reach the right customers when they search for your products and services. Other design features to keep in mind are easy navigation and menu set up, simple and intuitive design, effective calls to action, attractive visuals, visible contact information, and clear and engaging descriptions of your company, services and products. Although the front-end design is important, the back-end development is not to be overlooked and it will ensure your website runs as it’s supposed to.

Copywriting

Your customers want to read website text that is short and to the point but responds to their needs and desires with clear calls to actions (tell them what the next step should be!). Keep in mind who your customers are, define your brand’s tone and voice, and sounding like a human being should flow naturally.

There are tons of other things to consider for business success on the web, but following these best practices will get your foot in the door.

What are some things that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments!