10 Mar 2016

Maximise your virtual presence by optimising your website

Abs Gandhi – Account Executive at Spreckley

When Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in 1991, who would have imagined it would reach today’s dizzy heights. It is now estimated that over a billion websites exist today, yet it’s not surprising that websites have introduced a whole new dimension of business. No longer were companies limited to listings in their local directories, but now had the potential to be seen by all with access to the Internet, providing the opportunity for them to showcase their personality and enhanced virtual identity. With ever-increasing advances in technology, powered by handheld devices, the accessibility to the Internet has further increased the importance for companies to maximise their Internet presence and in turn, increase brand identity and business growth!

However, it’s far from smooth sailing. Despite people’s increased ability to view websites, many companies are failing to capitalise on this due to poorly constructed sites, which is subsequently penalising companies further down search engine results pages (SERPs), and ultimately resulting in diminished brand visibility.

Websites are difficult to get right, requiring a combination of both good content and effective design qualities. Here are a few simple tips on maximising the potential of your website.

Call-to-action (CTA)
A simple, yet crucial implementation for your site. Identifying a clear CTA, which correlates with your company aims, can enforce the requirement of an action from users to help achieve your goals. For example, ecommerce sites may find that the ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Add to Basket’ will be the most important CTA, however PR agencies may use ‘Contact Us’ for users to gauge more information.

The CTA must be clearly presented and placing it ‘above the fold’ – the content that users are instantly able to view without having to scroll down – is usually a good option.

Each organisation will have its unique qualities and personality that helps them stand out. Incorporating your branding into your website, can create a great deal of cohesion between both virtual and physical presence. Branding such as colours, creativity or distinct key messaging is a good way to go.

Additionally, integrating your social media channels (if you have them) with dedicated icons in the header and footer sections of your site can further enhance your presence, and hopefully lead to a larger social audience in the process.

User experience (UX) and user interface (UI)
Both ingredients can contribute to an enjoyable and user-friendly experience, but left without can usually limit sites with poor navigation or accessibility. To help increase this aspect, incorporating simple ‘breadcrumbing’ to help users go back and forth between content is useful and groups relevant content together. Similarly, having dedicated headers and footers, organised in sub-sections can help in this aspect.

Speed is also an important aspect. As internet users grow ever more impatient with slow loading times, websites should be optimised by reducing larger images and making sure that websites are compatible with handheld devices, rather than larger data-hungry desktop versions. Both UX and UI, if done correctly, can significantly contribute towards the next topic…

This is indeed an important aspect, but one which can be fairly complex. Perhaps the easiest way to improve SEO is the implementation of link building. While external link building can be tricky and more effective with PR tactics, internal linking can be achieved by hyperlinking key text in your website content to help users navigate to the relevant sections easier.

Sitemaps – a virtual map of your site content – are also fairly easy to administer and can often be done with your CMS technology. Last but not least, blogs can be great for SEO purposes, but should be used with caution. If you are not regularly updating your blog or are posting uninteresting content, this part of your section will not be visited and not contribute towards better SEO. Outsourcing to content creation specialists can help in this regard and allow your organisation to invest in other aspects of your site.

There are of course many other factors contributing to website enhancement, but these serve as a starting point for initial progress. Are you confidently able to say you have these elements? By making your website a priority by injecting company branding and having good content that is easily accessible for both existing and new users, you will reap in the success of your enhanced virtual presence!

For further information on how to increase your virtual presence, contact Spreckley or visit us on our website