Building a website
When it comes to building a website - if you’re like most business owners you fall into one of two groups:
A) You know you need a website, but you just haven’t had the time or money to make it happen, or
B) You have a website, but you know it’s not what it should be and you’re always making excuses for it.
If you’re in either one of these groups, WordPress is the solution – Here are ten reasons why you should use WordPress to run your business website.
1. WordPress is easy to setup, manage, and update. You don’t need to be an Internet expert or an HTML coder to use WordPress. All you need is an internet connection and a web browser to create your website.
2. WordPress is good for both your blog and your website. It’s true that WordPress started out as a blogging system, but that was ages ago. Over the years WordPress has evolved into a full-featured web content management system. That means you can use WordPress to manage your whole website, not just your blog. Of course, if you just want to blog, you can use WordPress that way too.
3. Thousands of professionally designed theme. WordPress themes allow you to have a professionally designed website without the pain or expense of starting from scratch with a graphic design team!
4. WordPress plugins add complex business features to your website
WordPress was designed to be extended, and that’s what programmers around the world have done. Thousands of WordPress plugins add functionality to the core system. So whether you need a simple contact form or a full-featured ecommerce system, there’s a way to meet your business needs.
5. WordPress is search engine friendly. As Google Engineer Matt Cutts says, “WordPress automatically solves a ton of SEO issues.”
6. WordPress is popular. Given the ease of use and availability of thousands of professional quality themes and plugins, it’s not surprising that WordPress is the most popular web publishing system on the planet. At last count over 27% of all websites were powered by WordPress.
7. The WordPress community. With so many users it’s only natural that a huge, active, and generous community has sprung up to provide support, exchange ideas, and make WordPress better for everyone.
8. WordPress is ready for the mobile web. If you assume your customers are visiting your website from a full-sized computer, think again. Mobile website usage is exploding. If your site doesn’t look great and work well on a smartphone or tablet, your customers will skip your site and go somewhere else. Many WordPress themes are designed to be responsive (aka mobile-friendly), meaning your customers won’t be challenged to use your website on their smartphones. And the WordPress dashboard is designed to work on smartphones as well as full-sized PCs — so you can easily manage your website from anywhere.
9. WordPress is mature. WordPress is over fifteen years old. During the past decade, WordPress has been refined, tested, and enhanced. In the process, it has evolved into a world-class web publishing system.
10. WordPress is open source. Unlike other website building tools, ordPress is open source and free from commercial restrictions and limitations. That means you can use the software any way you choose and host your website anywhere you choose. All without fear that changes in someone else’s business model will have an adverse impact one of your most important business assets.
When you choose WordPress, you have complete control over your website. As a business owner, that may be the ultimate reason to use WordPress.
Researching Content Ideas
One way to gather ideas is to visit other sites in the same industry. It’s a good way to see what most sites are including that you probably need to include as well. Sometimes after seeing a page on another site I know I want to include that same kind of page on my site. Other times they’ll generate ideas for new pages.
Even better it’s a way to see what most sites haven’t included, but you could. This might be where your competitive advantage comes from. It’s a way to see where the market isn’t being served.
Keyword research is another step in my brainstorming process. It may not be exhaustive, but I’ll usually visit a few keyword tools and create a list of a few hundred phrases. In addition to generating ideas for pages, keyword research can lead you to ideas for complete sections to include. The keyword themes I discover often lead to the main categories on the site.
Combined with researching, the competition keyword research might uncover some general topics people are searching for, but the industry isn’t offering. This could lead to content that easily ranks well in search engines.
You can probably tell I use brainstorming for a lot more than just jotting down a few pages to include. Much of the website structure and pages will take shape whilst brainstorming the content to include on the site.
Building a website navigation scheme that works
Are You Making These Common Website Navigation Mistakes?
It’s critical. The design of a website’s navigation has a bigger impact on success or failure than almost any other factor. It affects traffic and search engine rankings. It affects conversions and user-friendliness. Everything important about your website is connected to the navigation, from content to the URLs.
Let’s look at some common navigation mistakes and see what we can learn.
Mistake #1: Non-Standard Style
Visitors expect to find horizontal navigation across the top or vertical navigation down the left side. Putting your navigation in standard places makes your site easier to use. That means a lower bounce rate, more pages per visit and higher conversions. Be expected. Yes, marketing is about differentiation, but your navigation style isn’t the place to do it. Your goal is to help people find your content, not show them a new way to get around a website.
Mistake #2: Using Generic Labels
Navigation should be descriptive. Labels like “Products” or “Services” are generic to all businesses and do nothing to communicate with visitors. Ironically, “What we do” doesn’t say what you do. Save visitors the click (and help reduce your bounce rate) by making your website navigation descriptive. When your navigation shows your main services or products, your site will communicate instantly.
Your navigation is also a huge opportunity to indicate your relevance to search engines. Since your audience isn’t searching for “products” or “services,” navigation with these labels won’t help you rank. Use labels that include popular keyphrases according to the Google Keyword Tool.
Pro Tip! The navigation throughout the site and the site’s structure itself should be planned with search engines in mind.
Mistake #3: Too Many Drop Down Menus
Drop down menus are bad for two reasons. Depending on how they’re programmed, they can be difficult for search engines to crawl. But there’s another, bigger reason…
Drop down menus are annoying, according to usability studies from the NN Group. This is because as visitors, we move our eyes much faster than we move the mouse. When we move the mouse to a menu item, we’ve already decided to click…and then the drop down gives us more options. It’s a moment of friction in our minds as visitors.
Even worse, drop downs encourage visitors to skip important top-level pages. If your site uses drop-down menus, you can see the problem right there in your stats: low visits on high pages. Exception: really big “mega drop downs” with lots of options test well in usability studies. If you have a big site with many sections, they may improve usability.
Mistake #4: Too many items in your navigation
You’ve seen this before: that website with hundreds of links on the home page. Terrible. But even eight may be too many. This is because short-term memory holds only seven items. That means that eight is a LOT more than seven.
With fewer menu items, your visitors’ eyes are less likely may scan past important items. Every time you remove a menu item, the remaining items become more prominent. Challenge yourself to limit your navigation to five items.
Building a website, finding the right words
a modest investment in website content writing can boost your search position and help to increase your sales.
It’s often asked: “Why would I spend my hard-earned cash paying someone else to create my content? I can write, and I know my business better than anyone, so surely it is money wasted?”
The answer is simple: well-crafted content boosts business. Just like most of us pay someone to maintain our car, investing in content for your website keeps it running smoothly and a professional writer can create something far greater than you can yourself. Your time is precious, and you often cannot see what it is that makes your business special.
Customers Love Frequent Content Updates
When times are tough, and there are too few hours in the day, updating your blog and social media feeds are the first things that drop off the to-do list. Yet it is just this regular content injection that convinces your customers that you are different to the faceless corporations and keeps them engaged. After a few visits to your website, people stop coming if they are always presented with the same old bland text.
Quality content draws people in. It increases conversion rates. It boosts your website’s position in search engine results. It paints a picture and sells your brand. Along with the graphic design of your website, it is how the rest of the world perceives you.
Search Engines love regular, updated, website content writing
Keeping your website content writing skills up to scratch by providing regular updates and blog articles on your site will please our friends at Google too. After all, Google exists ONLY to serve the surfer - who is looking for relevant, up to date information on the topic or phrase they just typed into the search box - when you think about your site in this way - you can see that it is Purely Logical to keep your information updated.
Content: The Not So Silent Salesman
You wouldn’t attend a business meeting without thinking about how you are dressed, and you wouldn’t scrawl your number on a page torn off a newspaper instead of handing over a business card. So why do so many businesses think they can just throw the first few lines they think of onto a website and still expect their customers to take them seriously?