A website may look perfectly fine to a site visitor, but if the ‘right things’ are not going on behind the scenes the website can still fail to meet the business goals.
What do we mean by fail?
Very simply put, the website will not achieve what you had hoped it would.
For example, sell your products, increase your sales leads and enquiries, save time on the telephone when people call with basic questions they could have found online and so on.
If you built the website yourself, and it does not achieve what you wanted, then you have wasted your own time. Valuable time that could have been spent on managing and growing your business.
If someone else built the site for you, and it does not achieve what you wanted, then it is most likely you have wasted both your own time, and your money. Neither of which is good for business, which you will already be acutely aware of.
What do we mean by the ‘right things’?
Much of what goes on behind the scenes is about making your website appeal to the search engines. After all, that is how more people will find your site.
The most obvious activity is Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. This is about doing what is necessary, both on and off your website, to make it attractive enough for a search engine to return it as a top result.
For example, making sure your page about ‘pink widgets’ convinces Google that yours is one of the top pages about ‘pink widgets’.
However, the search engines, and in particular Google, look for untold other signals that tell them your site or page is one of the best.
Ask yourself the following:
- Would I buy from a website that has no SSL Certificate, i.e. the green padlock that shows transactions are encrypted?
- Would I reach out to a company with a website that looks like it has not been updated for 10 years?
- Would I try to interact with a website that I can barely read on my mobile device?
- What would I do if a website wanted me to enter my information but there was no GDPR Policy telling me that they would not abuse my details?
- What would I do if a website wanted personal data but there was no way of me knowing where the site’s business was located?
- Would I purchase a product from a site that had no ‘proof’ that other people had purchased from it, and that they were happy?
In fact, what we are talking about is ‘trust signals’, all the little things that give a site visitor the clues that it is safe to interreact with this website.
Now remember Google, what kind of search results does it like to give? Good ones of course, otherwise people would abandon it in droves. And to help with this search engines have their own algorithms that look for and consider trust signals too.
Additionally, Google will not return a site or page if the site has lots of broken links, is very slow to load and is not mobile friendly. There are many more things that the search engines look for when making their decisions about where to rank a site or page.
Therefore, we describe a professional website as:
- Having a design that is appealing to site visitors
- Being fully mobile friendly version
- Having well-structured design that site visitors, including search engines, find easy to use, navigate around and locate what they need
- Containing the correct information and/or tools that enable the site to achieve the goals of the business
- Fast loading speed, which is achieved by using high quality, dedicated hosting
- Being protected by a Website Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate, i.e. site encryption and the green padlock symbol
- Being appealing and relevant content with SEO
- Having a GDPR Policy
- Including a clear way to identify the business’ location and other information
- Having a simple way for site visitors to contact the business
Behind the Scenes:
- Technical support for the business owner
- The website platform is well coded, regularly updated, stable, scalable and able to advance with future technologies and any other changes
- The use of a Content Management System (CMS) so that the business owner can manage their content if they choose to
- Sufficient and scalable bandwidth and file storage
- Website management features such as:
- regular software updates
- very regular site & server backups
- robust security measures in place, with real time monitoring and remedial action if necessary
- spam monitoring and remedial action if necessary
- Provision of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with high levels of service uptime and response times
- The design agency covered by high levels of insurance, including cyber
- The site code is not so unique that only one person can amend the site and therefore ‘trap’ the business into remain with them
The Web Design Agency
- Is well established
- Ideally has some experience in or good knowledge of your industry
- Has the necessary people, with the right expertise, that they can draw on if and when needed
- Views working with you on your project as a relationship and is determined to help your business succeed in the long term, whether that be via online or offline channels
See also Why Should I Have A Website?