Creating today’s modern websites involve many considerations. Unfortunately, many web designers are so focused on the design and technical aspects, that they often neglect some critical elements. And that’s really unfortunate. I’ve seen a number of really attractive websites developed that, upon a little scrutiny, reveal themselves to be little more than an empty suit. Worse yet, it seems that in many cases, little thought was given as to how someone might find these sites. So, they end up as these pretty little websites, lost and unattended, somewhere out in the nether reaches of the Internet . . .

How do you keep your site from getting lost? Here’s a few elements that are critical to an effective business website.

1. Content Development

Developing good content that communicates your message is perhaps the most important key to an effectively designed website. It is the basis for practically everything that follows, from architecture to design aesthetics. The designer will need to know what text and images are going to be used and where it needs to appear in order to understand how the design should flow, where to locate and design effective calls to action, and create proper navigation tools. Getting website visitors to dig deeper within your website — and ultimately to your site’s calls to action — depends greatly on how the text is written and utilized within the design.

2. Marketing

Website development doesn’t take place in a baseball field in Iowa (If you build it, they will come), so, there needs to be a marketing plan to drive traffic to your website. What does that look like? It depends. A look at your target market and an investigation of cost-effective measures you might employ to get your website in front of your prospective customers would be a good start. Strategies may include email marketing, social media campaigns, or offline advertising like radio, print, or TV. And it’s highly likely that it will include search engine marketing.

3. Change the Window Dressings

Think about the last time you went to your favorite retail store. Did you notice anything different? Most stores change things up on a regular basis. Sometimes changes are driven by seasons, sometimes stores adapt their sales floor for new technology or sale events. Whatever the case, in order to garner repeat business, retailers understand the importance of changing things up and adding new products. Once your website is completed and launched, it is essential that it is well-maintained, with new content added regularly. Even if you’re not running an online store, most any business website should be routinely updated with new content.

The Takeaway

Today, web users are savvier and user experience is a big deal. Getting them to your website is a big part of the equation, but once tapped, it must perform well. According to the latest industry estimates, typical users stay “tuned in” for about eight seconds before they decide to either dig deeper into your content, or leave it altogether, moving on to the next website on the search engine results page. This stark reality means that your website must deliver clear, engaging, and impactful information about what your business does and why your services or products are the ones they need.