Continuing from our previous post, here’s another 6 things that make for an effective website.

1. Use plugins and third party apps to automate and streamline your processes

WordPress provides access to a plugin repository that is truly vast. At the time of writing, there’s over 54000 plugins at your disposal, and most of them free (many have paid version upgrades). This makes it possible to find exactly the functionality that your site requires. You may be performing a task manually on your website that a plugin could automate for you. Whether it’s automatically resizing large images that are uploaded to your site, or automatically submitting contact information to a Customer Relationship Management app, plugins and third party software services can be integrated to you up to concentrate on running your business.

2. Make it easy for your site users to contact you

This is a fairly crucial and obvious one, but having a contact form is an absolute necessity. Make sure that your form is crafted to prompt the user for the information you need, but without being overly long or intimidating. Internet users are lazy – they don’t like filling in forms unless there’s something they really want or need – so the rest of your site’s job is to convince them to get in touch. Keep your contact form to the minimum number of fields necessary.

Give your visitors other ways to contact you, too. A phone number, email address and links to your social media accounts provide options to cover everyone’s preferences.

3. Run a blog

Blogs are important for so many reasons. Not only do they keep your fans up to date with your latest news, but they also help to raise the rank of your website in search engines, bring in more traffic to your website, and provide a means of building community through discussion. Blog posts can be used to reach a larger audience through social media advertising, exposing your business to new potential customers. Users can also sign up to your blog through an email marketing system, giving you the ability to market to them directly.

4. Intergrate your site with social media to encourage followers and sharing

Hey, you may not like social media much, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it. Whether you use it or not personally, it’s good to realise the potential social media has for reaching more people. Integrating social media with your website is now pretty crucial if you want to maximise your success online. Social media integration can take the form of feeds, icons, share buttons, follow and ‘like’ buttons among others. You can even integrate Facebook comments in place of your WordPress commenting system.

5. Use mailing list sign-up forms to capture leads for email marketing

We’ve mentioned using a blog above for attracting more traffic to your website, but what do you do with that traffic when it arrives? You need to offer a way for people to engage with your business in a manner that keeps them coming back, or that gives you a means to contact them again. This is where email marketing comes in. Far from being ‘dead’ as some internet gurus have proclaimed, email is still once of the most effective means of reaching your potential customers. Give your site visitors a reason to subscribe to your mailing list – whether it’s to receive your blog posts directly to their inbox, or to exchange their contact information for something that you’re offering them for free – a ‘lead magnet’. Email lists give you the ability to repeatedly market to your leads in a personal and direct way.

6. Use video to get your message across

Video is where it’s at online right now. The use of video for blogging has exploded, and video is now the medium of choice for how-tos and education, as well as entertainment, advertising and presentations. You can use video on your website to talk directly to your audience. They can see who you are, and what you’re like, which can be a trust builder. You can also get your message across much more directly than with text – but this will depend on user preferences. Some people still like to read! You don’t need to have killer equipment to make videos – most phones are capable of recording video at reasonable quality, and will do the job just fine. Just try not to waffle, don’t be irritating, make sure the sound is good, and edit out anything that isn’t right or relevant. Your videos can be hosted on YouTube or Vimeo, which takes the load off your servers as well as providing you with an SEO boost at the same time – YouTube being one of the most popular search engines on the web.

Wrapping Up

These are just some of the things that make a website effective. Clearly it’s possible to go into far more detail with each of these elements, but they’re good places to start. It’s not that your website MUST feature all of these elements, (although many of them are very important), but that it helps to consider all the ingredients. If you’re planning a website, take these into consideration – it’s easy to forget something crucial! If you already have a website, there’s always room for improvement, and it’s common for websites to be missing some of these important features.

Deluxe Web incorporates all these elements in its sites, ensuring that you have all the tools at your disposal to create an excellent online experience for your site visitors and customers. If you’d like your site reviewed to asses it’s current health and effectiveness, why not contact us today for a professional site review?