Updated: Dec 5, 2018
“It’s 2018. It’s been the new millennium for nearly 20 years … How the heck don’t you have a website,” I screamed at my laptop screen.
As a thirty-something, I remember the days before the Internet. I’ve used encyclopedias and the Dewey Decimal System. I remember the early days when you had to type in a URL to see a website and even when you were looking at it, you had no idea what it was.
The early days of Yahoo and Google are not outside the realm of my imagination.
We’ve come so far. So fast. Of course I take it for granted that you should have a website the day your business opens its doors. But I also take it for granted how easy it is to incorporate technology in your site and think with tools like Wix and other page builders it’s so easy to create an online home. Clearly not everyone understands how easy … or they’d have a website when I want to find out more about them.
Humanizing the Tech
One thing I don’t take for granted is that people use these tools. Which means people like me are still necessary. Websites have to have content that’s readable and interesting and actually offers information. And Sid! Our graphic designer will never be irrelevant because if a website isn’t beautiful … well we’ve all seen a few of those and we certainly didn’t spend much time there.
And these are exactly the things that stall or scare people when making a website: Design and content.
So, if you’re stalling or scared, here are a few things you absolutely need to include on your website - no matter how simple you want to keep it.
Unless you’re doing a one-off campaign with a special landing page, you’ll need to have more than one page to your website. In order to be found within Google search results, you need to have a bit of content for the robot readers to scan. Multiple pages will add credibility to your site and gives you more room to offer information and make the sale.
A very simple website could even be limited to the Home, About, and Contact Pages.
Photos or Graphics
Websites need to look good or people are going to click away faster than you can say World Wide Web. You can use tools like Pixabay, Pexels, or Unsplash for access to free stock photography, so there’s no reason not to use great photos or graphics online.
Headlines and Alt Tags
Breaking up your text with Headlines, Titles, and Pull Quotes is pretty easy these days with website editors. It’s as simple as clicking the right icon and these are now designed like most word processors, so Bolding, Highlighting, and when you post a photo on your website, name it! Give it a caption. Google’s robot readers AND people with disabilities can’t read photos, so a description of what’s in the photo will go a long way to getting found and read online.
Readable, entertaining contentOnce upon a time you could stuff tons of keywords on your page (a la Amazon Product descriptions for cheap knock off products) and you’d automatically rank higher in Google Searches and people could easily find your website. No longer.
Today, Google’s robot readers are just as good as Fourth Grade readers and expect to see full sentences, good grammar, and naturally-occuring keywords in your content.
Keeping it Simple
Speaking of Fourth Grade readers, it’s essential to keep your content readable, but simple. You can drop your text into a reading tool like the Flesch-Kincaid test and find out whether your content is easily read. On this test you just drop in your URL and get a score. You’re looking for a score between 60-80.
Yeah sure, Google says it doesn’t just use this little section on each page to rank your website anymore, but it IS used as the description under your page link on Google search pages, so it’s kind of important to bring readers onto your page.
Hooking up Google Analytics is as easy as having a Gmail address and a login to your website. It helps improve your Google ranking, and checking it from time to time gives you invaluable information about the people visiting your site … why wouldn’t you install it?
Calls to action!
At the end of every page ask the reader to do something. Anything! Subscribe, contact us, answer a question … anything.
This one’s a bit … flaky. But the fact is, your website is the hub of everything you do online. You’re going to be directing traffic here from all your social media and if anyone wants to do business with you then they’re going to Google you. Which means your website is going to have to look and feel the part of your business’s brand.
Keep it consistent with your vision and how you want your customer to feel and you’ll be doing alright.
See, nothing to be afraid of. Just a little bit of time and effort goes a long way to creating a simple website and access to customers everywhere. Now, if you’re still unsure, you can always reach out to us for help!