There are many factors that should go into a webpage. I see so many that lack even the fundamentals, resulting in a boring, uninspiring, even an useless product. Consider these tips below to give your website the leg-up it needs:
1. No hierarchy. The index or homepage is not the most important, all webpages should be considered equal. In fact, treat each one as an individual homepage for its particular subject. This is because an internet spider will send a visitor direct to a relevant page if it fits their search criteria, and analytics show many websites are not entered via the homepage.
2. Optimise each page. Keywords pay an important factor in every webpage, and should be present almost everywhere in the correct amounts. Put them in the page title, metatag descriptions, headline, subhead, content, incentive, call to action, navigation – but be aware, anything more than 10% saturation or both spiders and humans will be turned off and benefits missed.
3. Initial reactions. Each webpage has a 3 second margin to make the correct impression to the visitor before they decide to continue or leave, and an important element is recognition. Within a second the visitor should realise this is the correct page they are looking for: it’s the right subject, it matches my search, it provides good information, I understand the content, it’s easy to find what I’m looking for, I know exactly what to do to fulfil the reason for entering this webpage.
4. Positive performance. A webpage might just as well be a cheese sandwich if it doesn’t fulfil its purpose. Why do you need it? Information based, marketing, selling something, providing a service, explaining a procedure, gateway to somewhere else? Each should have a prominent call to action, or the visitor will do nothing (except leave). The navigation should be obvious, intuitive, commanding, helpful – a button should look like it’s just waiting to be clicked on, not a flat uninspiring image.
5. Add an incentive. By human nature we’re all greedy, as well as cautious. Both these factors can be used to your advantage: provide a good reason why the visitor should take up your call to action. Is there an early-bird offer? What benefits will your customers get? Do you provide a follow-up service? Will multiple sales result in a discount? And to counteract indecision: Do you have a guarantee? What testimonials of previous happy customers do you have? Who can endorse your service/product? What return on investment is there?
There’s a lot here to take on board, so don’t feel you need to charge ahead to incorporate them all at once. You need to be aware of the reasons why, and whether they would work for your website or company, and what marketing strategy do you have behind these actions. Shoving up anything to fulfil these criteria without proper thought could cause damage, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. But getting it right from the beginning could make an extreme and very exciting difference!