The Hostway Blog

Twelve Secrets to Web Site Success

Are you finally getting around to getting a Web site set up for your company? Or, are you ready to have your existing Web site redesigned because you're unhappy with the way it looks or performs?

If so, you'll want the new Web site to be successful. In fact, as more and more business and consumers research and make purchases online, a successful Web site is critical to the success of your business. So, what can you do to make the new Web site successful? And how can you build a successful Web site on a small business budget?

Here are 12 secrets to Web site success. I know they work because I've used them to build BusinessKnowHow.com into a Web site that reaches 2.5 to 3 million unique individuals a year. And, I've done it the way most of you build your businesses – on my own nickel.

  1. Have specific goals for your Web site.
  2. Know your customer or site visitors and what they want to get out of your site.
  3. Have pages dedicated to specific items or subjects the customer or site visitor is looking for.
  4. Don't make the home page of your site a Flash animation. Web visitors routinely skip those animations (or just leave) because they aren't interested in pretty graphics. They want facts. If you're going to use Flash to demonstrate your product (or a video) let people choose to view it, don't force them to.
  5. Make it easy for visitors to find what they want. Use a simple navigation structure, and if you absolutely must use drop down menus, make sure visitors can actually click on the links without the drop down rolling up before the person hits the link they want.
  6. If you're selling products, have category pages plus individual pages for each type of product. (For example, if you are selling jewelry, have one page for earrings with links to individual pages for different types of earrings, such as diamond earrings, ruby earrings, pearl earrings, etc.)
  7. Pay attention to search engine optimization (SEO) in setting up pages. The more closely the page title, page description, and keywords match what someone would search for, the more likely they'll find the Web site, and the more likely they'll buy whatever product is advertised on the page.
  8. Have a means for legally and ethically capturing visitors' email addresses so you can contact them in the future.
  9. Plan to advertise and market your site on an ongoing basis through all methods available to you.
  10. Track and measure traffic, bounce rates, sales conversions and progress.
  11. Ask for feedback from site visitors.
  12. Stay in contact with site visitors (those who gave you their email addresses) on a regular basis so they remember to come back to your Web site.