Lure Creative is a digital marketing company in Kansas City. We help small to medium-sized businesses Get Found & Be Known. In our adventures, we’ve found that many small to medium-sized business owners have questions about marketing, marketing budgets, and just what it takes to grow their business in this digital/online world. We have answers! So we decided to try to answer some of those questions in an ongoing series of blog posts. To start our Small Business Marketing Questions Answered series, we’re focusing on the one thing every company needs – a professional website.
Website Design & Development
No one argues that in today’s digital world the most important tool a company can have is a website. Anyone can build a website that looks good. But if you want your website to work for you and help you grow your business, you’re going to need more – much more. You need a website that works hard! But what does that mean? There are certain things your website must do to ensure that your business grows. Besides the basics like having easy to find contact and location information and clear calls to action, here are some of the most critical elements.
The site must work quickly, correctly and be built for a positive user experience (UX). Every page must be fast and function properly, because any of them could be a potential customer’s first or only impression. Broken links, slow load times, or pages that are visually cluttered or confusing will cost you. Your site should have clear, logical navigation so visitors can find what they need quickly. Consistent layouts and visual cues create functionality across the entire site.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
No matter how good your site looks and how easily navigable it is for visitors, it won’t help your business grow if no one finds it. Your site must be optimized for the search engines (Google) to find. You must know the rules and follow them…and they are many. Here are just a few – use page titles and meta tags on every page and alt tags on every image. Use keywords appropriately in content and links. Use cascading style sheets for layout and keep your HTML code clutter-free. The list goes on, but if you’re serious about being found and you don’t know SEO, it’s best to have a professional optimize your site.
Because of the ubiquitousness of smartphones, since the Mobile-First update in July 2019, Google now looks at all websites as a smartphone. You must be sure your website has responsive design so it looks just as good on the tiny smartphone screen as it does on a desktop or laptop. Google gives priority to sites that work well on mobile devices.
Fresh, Quality Content
You may not realize it, but content is now the number one factor in Google’s search algorithm. In 2018, content outpaced links as the top factor and in 2021, content increased its proportion in the algorithm to 26%. Now the top three factors are: consistent publication of engaging content (26%), keywords in Meta Title Tags (22%), and backlinks (16%). Blogs and social media updates are great ways to add fresh content, which keeps visitors returning and helps SEO strategy. Writing engaging content (which is also optimized for SEO) takes some time. You may need to hire someone to keep things fresh. But, as you can see, it’s a critical piece of the website/SEO puzzle.
These are just some of the elements that go into designing a professional website. So, if you’ve ever wondered why professional websites cost so much, now you know. There’s a lot more that goes into a workhorse website than good graphic design. Be careful when you hire someone to design your website – design may be all you get.