SearchEngineWatch.com is great source of information on online and search engine marketing. An article by Mark Jackson from 2009 makes three points on having a successful Web presence that should be repeated.
Most companies worry about getting into the top three positions of Google search results related to their product or service. Most don’t worry about the potential client once they go to Web site, though. Mark likens this to a merchant who cares about “location, location, location” but then doesn’t bother to properly decorate the store or hire well-dressed and courteous sales personnel.
In short, he says the basic keys to a successful Web presence are:
1. Brand matters.
2. Usability matters.
3. Search engine optimization matters.
Brand matters: This means that your Web site must reflect the values and personality of your business. And it should inspire trust. This has everything to do with the style and looks of your Web site. The design of your logo and Web site (the typography, the colors, the choice of images like photos or illustration, how well the overall design is executed, etc.) are critical in transmitting the quality of the service or product you sell and the prices you are likely to command.
Usability matters: This means that your Web site’s design should be intuitive. Users, clients, and prospects should find it easy to navigate or use. If you and your Web design team have done a good job, your visitors will be using the Web the way you want them to and you will be converting a higher percentage of them to paying clients. This also means that visitors expect to easily find information like your telephone number or support email address.
Search engine optimization matters: This means that your Web site should be readily visible in search results for keywords related to your services, products, and location. But how does that happen? One way is by providing relevant content. Blogging is a good way to create quality, unbiased information that visitors find useful, positions you as an authority in your field, and increases the relevance of your content in search engines. But the design and usability of your Web site also matter for SEO. The better the content, the more attractive the design and the easier the site is to use, the more visitors will like and link to your site. And inbound links are key component of the way search engines like Google rank Web sites.
These are broad rules to keep in mind to be sure. Keep them in mind when redesigning your start or commissioning a Web site design for the first time.