A website has two audiences - the search engine bot and the human visitor. Whilst it needs to be coded, structured and written in such a way that it can be easily indexed and spidered, it is also important to engage the human visitor by giving something back.
Some of the most effective websites are those which appear to be alive - i.e. they feature regular blog updates and have a social feed from their Facebook and Twitter accounts which they also post to frequently. This is a great way to approach website design - factoring in the need for social icons, links and feeds - because this is what visitors are looking for. They want to see that you are active and not just a company that last updated their website 3 years ago.
Websites with added value are also more likely to perform and convert well. If your site simply tells visitors what you can do and how great you are, it may be a turn-off for potential customers as there is bound to be someone else in the search engine listings that can provide a much better visitor experience. So how can you give something back?
- Tips - offer your website visitors tips on using or choosing your services, so they feel more comfortable and assured
- Resources - offer something for free, whether it is in the form of a download with useful information or just a page that gives advice on using your products or the benefits of your services
- Samples and Examples - if you are in the business of manufacturing you may be able to send out free sample of your product. If not, you can give examples of the kind of work you are able to create by displaying photos or videos on your site. This gives potential customers an insight into your abilities and may give them some inspiration for their own projects
- Videos - human beings are naturally curious so you can play on this by incorporating videos about your products/services/staff or anything related to the work you do on your website. Just make sure that they do not auto play when people land on the page as this is really annoying and off putting from a website visitor's perspective!
Posted by Frances Berry