This is a guest post by Rahman Mehraby
It’s not enough to register a domain name, setup a bunch of pages and invite visitors there. It will be like a messy home where things are not clean, available or in the right place. What your site needs before the guests arrive at your home follows three basic rules that are widely ignored:
- Functionality, and
Marketing begins form here. Your site should speak for itself. Your visitors should come to conclusion that it’s the site they want to buy something from, because it seems to be the one that provides best for them.
Is Your Site Usable?
Have you tried various sections of your site? Are you sure all corners of your site are possible to use? What have you arranged for your visitors? Are they useful for the purposes they’ve been made? Are pages loaded swiftly? Can images be seen, audio clips heard and video clips watched? Can they explain the content they accompany? Is your textual content understandable and applicable for the designated audience you have in mind? Is your site in English if you target international audience?
These and several other questions are to be asked first to make sure there’s a reason why your visitors should take benefit. What’s the use of a website that has not considered such vital issues? Have you seen those sites with the homepage content that is exactly like an “about us” page? Have you landed at the homepage of such sites to learn more about “them”? If so, they’re lucky! The truth is, web surfing is more about “you” and what you’re looking for. Your visitors are no exceptions either.
Is Your Site Functional?
You are familiar with frustration in some websites where very simple and basic expectations are not fulfilled. Links don’t work! Submit buttons go on forever! Some pages never load! The sources linked to and introduced outside the website are not there anymore! Some internal links return Error 404! Some come up with Error 500! Some tell you the database is corrupt! It’s not possible to leave comments due to complicated captcha systems!
This list can also go on down the page in large chunks too. I stop here and I’m sure by now you know what I mean. You don’t want such disappointing experiences for the visitors of your site, do you? So, do this yourself or leave it to others, preferably experts to find the flaws at your site and fix them for you. You must make sure the surfing at your site is like a sweet memorable party you throw at your home.
Have you ever seen the sites you’re a member of and they change their domain names? Then, they redirect you to their new domain name that doesn’t look like the previous one! You wonder how to get to certain parts of the site you’d used to go. You’d left your username and password to your browser to remember and it cannot help you anymore. It’s happened to me and guess what site it was! It was a webhosting website!
Is Your Site Easy to Navigate?
You may think points like these are so out of imagination, but I tell you they’re not. By experience, I’ve realized how enjoyable it is to find the information you want in certain sites compared to others. Do you want a solid example? Go to Google and try to find websites explaining “Immigration to Malaysia” versus “Immigration to Australia”. The top results are usually the government departments related to these topics. You may say, “Of course, they’re the best sources of information for such topics!”
I just want you to try this and see how huge the difference is. Some very basic rules are ignored and I’m not talking about a country nobody has ever heard of. This is a country that has advertised for its immigration plans on international TV stations like CNN, Euronews, BBC, etc.
Make sure you eliminate such issues from your sites. When your guests enter your home(page), they need to find out where things are at first glance. They should be able to get what they are looking for in three clicks. Provide links to your top priority content at your navigation menu, close to the beginning of it.
Have you seen those websites with an introductory page asking you to choose which language, which section, which … you want to go to? Aren’t they a waste of time trying to sell you some advertising teasers? What about the websites with top menu like:
Home | About Us | Our Awards | Our Experts | … | Services | Login | Privacy
Don’t they want you to find their “Services” page soon? So, why don’t they move it next to “Home” button? I just don’t understand.
Optimize Your Site for Your Visitors First
There’s no doubt that all of us want our site to appear on top of the first page of Google for our keywords. Nothing wrong with that, but make sure you have arranged for a useable, functional and easily navigable experience for your visitors. At the end of the day, it’s the visitors who draw their cards out of their wallets and buy from you, not search engines. So, make them happy as your first priority, then go about satisfying search engines.
About the author
Rahman Mehraby is the creator of “TraveList” marketing platform where travel & tourism professionals can create unique listings at a specialized Travel Directory, submit Travel Press Releases for distribution and read Travel Marketing Blog posts on how to promote their businesses.