Top 40 Business Tips #20: Smarten Up Your Website

Last Updated Jan 3, 2011 5:40 PM EST

Podcast

Tony Redhead (in 1989!)
(9 minutes 30) Lots of companies focus on two things on their website --- how it looks and how it ranks in search engine listings. That's all fine, but what if people don't get beyond your front page? The content and user experience of your site is just as important, but is often neglected.

Chances are, your website could do with a bit of a refresh. The starting point, says Tony Redhead, is to consider who is coming to your website and what do they want to achieve. Develop use cases so you understand all the functions your website needs to perform.

You also need to ensure that you are constantly providing fresh content, so your front page doesn't look the same for months on end. You need to present new stuff if you want to encourage users to keep coming back.

Freelance copywriter Grant Doyle says one of the common mistakes people make is using copy not designed for the web. The actual words on your site are often something considered halfway through the design process even though they are arguably the most important element of the whole experience.

Another important consideration, says Grant, is maintenance. Often sites become bloated with old, out-of-date material, which can confuse customers and search engines alike. You need some form of reporting to see which pages are being used and which can be deleted or revised.

But it's not all about the words. Greg Muller says looks are important. There needs to be a professional design that is also easy to use. He covers a number of key useability elements in the podcast.
If you get some of these things right, says Greg, then you're on the right path.

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