5 Surefire Ways to Construct a Website That Makes a Great First Impression

Have you ever thought about the impact your website can have on potential clients? Online presence has become increasingly important over the years, making it even more critical that your website stands out from the crowd. It has to make a statement in a way that is both clear and concise, and also draws readers in to learn more. From the content you publish to the graphics and pictures you use, potential clients and customers are going to be looking to your website to get a better idea as to what exactly you do.

Often times, your website is the first point of contact between your business and your potential clients…so how do you make a good first impression? Easy. Here are five surefire ways to construct a website that makes a great first impression:

Utilize SEO friendly content to direct pre-interested viewers to your site.

Gone ViralThis is an important one, yet it is often overlooked. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, applies to every aspect of your website. And when used correctly, SEO can really help readers have a great experience on your site. What exactly is SEO you might ask? Well, essentially, it involves optimizing the pages and posts on your site for search engines by targeting specific keywords throughout your content that readers are already searching for.

Let’s say you have a landscaping company. When potential customers come to Google or other search engines to look for a landscaping company to hire, they probably aren’t going to know to type in the name of your company directly. Instead, they’re probably going to be typing in something like: landscaping company, how to do landscaping, best time to do landscaping, best landscaping methods, how to trim bushes, how to create curb appeal, etc. – you get the idea. So, if you want to be found online, you’re going to need to create some optimized web content around those keywords. And as more people start finding your site using those keywords, your company will begin to pull up higher in search engine rankings.

But you want to make sure you are targeting the correct keywords. Let’s use the landscaping company example again. Say you own the landscaping company, but you really want to write about picking the correct paint colors for interior walls, so you write some content about it. While I’m sure this would be interesting content, it doesn’t exactly fit into what your company does. “Picking paint colors” may have been a high-ranking keyword, but just not for your particular industry. So, when someone is searching for “picking the correct paint colors for interior walls” online, they might just end up on your website. Which really isn’t where they want to be, because your site is all about landscaping. This causes the searcher to have a bad experience, which in turn leads them to click away from your site very quickly. While this mishap may have given you a page view, it wasn’t one that benefited you or the searcher.

To sum it all up – make sure your web content is SEO friendly, but be doubly sure that the keywords you chose to highlight work for your industry. This will create an excellent experience for the reader, and could earn you lots of clients along the way.

Organize your web content.

pensHave you ever visited a website that looked cluttered, and you just couldn’t seem to find what you were looking for? If not, maybe you can remember the last time you visited a store that was poorly organized, making it almost impossible to find what you needed. Either way, the experience, I’m sure, was frustrating. That’s why creating structure and organization on your website is important – you want your readers to have a good experience!

Your home page should be easy to read, with a menu bar near the top to direct readers to the correct locations. All of your pages and posts should be under relevant categories, and those categories should be easily accessible. For example, on my own website, I blog about different topics. But each of those topics falls under a specific category like writing tips, blogging, content marketing, self-publishing, etc. So if a reader wants more info about a particular subject, they can just click on that specific category to learn more.

Another thing you’ll want to do it create some solid cornerstone content pieces. Your cornerstone content pieces are the pages on your site that contain the most relevant and useful information about the most talked about and popular subjects on your website. Each popular subject (especially those that you want to rank in the search engines for) should have it’s own cornerstone page, and all of the other posts on your site that talk about that subject should link back to that cornerstone page. By doing this, you create internal links within your site that point to the cornerstone pages. This shows the search engines that you consider those pages to be the most important on each respective topic, which causes those pages to rank higher than any of the others on your site for those particular keywords.

For example, on my site, under resources, I have a page called “content marketing.” All the other posts about content marketing on my blog link to that page in one way or another, and I spent a good deal of time crafting the resource page to make it very user friendly. I would consider this my cornerstone content page for content marketing, and I’m currently working on creating more pages like this for different topics. They take some time to put together, but once you have them, it’s a great resource that you can share with your readers, and use as a reference again and again.

Create and maintain a helpful and informative blog.

blog-300x300Blogging is important. Not only because creating fresh, relevant content helps your rankings in the search engines, but it also creates a great experience for readers and potential customers visiting your site. It’s a way of communicating with your readers by providing them with helpful information and tips that might assist them along their journey.

The more you blog, the more your readers will trust you, and the more they will share your stuff on social media and tell all their friends about your awesome site. You want to be known as a trustworthy source that provides clear and concise information and advice within your industry. This creates online authority within your niche, and also boosts your ranking even higher through increased brand awareness, more social shares and generally satisfied readers.

But you need to be consistent. You can’t just blog one day and expect great results. You have to keep with it, even when it’s not that fun. The more quality content you create, the better chance you have of finding new clients and readers through search engines, which is always a good thing!

Your website design should be clean, simple and easy to read.

glasses-300x300We live in a very visual world, and I hate to say it, but people really do tend to “judge a book by its cover.” Or in this case, they judge a website by it’s aesthetic appeal. Now, you don’t have to go out and spend thousands on a custom site. I mean you can if you want, and maybe when you get bigger you should, but especially when you are first starting out and growing; it’s really not necessary.

There are a lot of great ways to create a visually appealing website without breaking the bank. It really just has to be clean, easy to read, use inviting colors, and utilize appealing images. If your site looks old and outdated, or if it’s got a rainbow of crazy bright colors, you’re probably going to lose some readers. They’re going to wonder if you are legitimate. And if you want to make a great first impression, you should provide the reader with something that looks good visually.

Like I said, it doesn’t have to be extravagant – just settle for clean, simple and easy to read. Oh and use high quality graphics on your blog posts and pages – since we are such visual people, the images will work together with your words to help tell the story you are trying to express.

Put the important things above the fold.

Key to success

When you open up a webpage, the first things you notice are going to be what appears above the fold – or the text that appears before you have to start scrolling down to see more. That top portion of your site is the first thing that visitors and readers will see, so be sure that it makes a good impression.

Readers should be able to understand what your site is about, what you have to offer, and get a general idea as to whether your site is what they are looking for before they have to scroll down. Don’t waste that space. Some things you could include in that section would be a menu bar, a header image with your company name and logo, a tagline explaining what your business does, and maybe even some links to other important pages on your site.

And if you are creating a landing page – a page where potential customers are directed to, often from ads – make sure that your purpose and your call to action are both above the fold, easily visible and readily accessible. Don’t skimp out! You want to make sure your readers understand what you are describing, and what your purpose is with your pages and posts. It all adds to the experience.

In Conclusion…

There are certainly other things that make a website user friendly, but these five things should get you off to a good start. To sum it all up:

  1. Utilize SEO friendly content to direct pre-interested viewers to your site. These viewers have the potential to become faithful readers and loyal customers.
  2. Organize your web content – create a system that is easy to navigate, and be sure that readers are able to readily find what they need. Don’t overcomplicate things.
  3. Create and maintain a consistent, informative blog. Doing this will create trust between you and your readers, and will surely lead to greater authority within your online niche.
  4. Your website design should be clean, simple and easy to read. Stay away from the colors that hurt your eyeballs, and focus on creating something beautiful for readers – something that speaks to them visually.
  5. Put the important things above the fold. This guides the reader’s eye down the page, but also lets them know what is most important and what your site is really all about.

Are you using any of these techniques on your own site? If not, don’t be afraid to branch out and try one of these tactics. If you’re interested in creating SEO friendly content for you site, organizing your content, starting a blog or building out a simple and clean website, but you just don’t know where to start, I can help you! I’d love to help your website make a great first impression – contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!

This article originally appeared here, at TheStoryist.com – a sister company to JSL Marketing.

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