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How to make your website work

Imagine your website when you first launched it. Look at it now. Can you still see your original site? Maybe glimmers of it? Change is good, but sometimes many objectives get lost amid the dynamic and fast-paced world of internet marketing that marketers tend to lose sight of what's really important.
It is easy to become preoccupied trying to adapt to all the algorithmic changes and user demands that many SEO professionals and other internet marketing experts fail to track these alterations. As a result, the purpose of the website is not clear anymore.

With all the trends in web designing, it's important to keep this in mind to avoid getting lost. A website is created primarily for the following:

• To represent your company, your brand or your business online
• To convert your site visitors (lead generation, content subscription, sales)
• To provide information or to entertain
• To cater to the other needs of an internet user

If you feel that your website is not fulfilling the objectives above, it's time to ground it back and here are four techniques to help you do so.

Put yourself in the shoes of your customers

"Improving user experience" has been the buzzword in the field of internet marketing recently which is why web design technologies are being created to cater to this demand. Case in point, the rise of responsive web design is an answer to the growing number of internet users who browse using their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

However, it seems that because of all these advancements, a lot of marketers are forgetting about of basics such as ease of use. For example, while search engines can make sense of all the words and other semantics on your site, your users cannot and your site should be presented in such a way that can be easily comprehended by both human users and search engine crawlers. Information should be logically organised in a way that satisfies how a human would search and read information.

Make navigation easy for first-time visitors

All SEO professionals know that there's no way to generate higher traffic other than attracting new visitors. That being said, while you want your website to stand out in terms of layout and design, organisation and logical arrangement of information should never be disregarded to make it easy for first-time visitors to find the information they are looking for.

Always let people know where they are

It is the dream of every search engine optimisation expert to make different pages of a site rank high in search engine results pages. As such, it is highly likely that not all your visitors will enter your site through your homepage. Without clear navigation, it is easy for visitors to feel lost.

Annoying right? Bad first impression and you just lost your chance to convert someone to a real paying customer. And it's not only humans who get lost. Search engines will also find it difficult to index your site if you don't organise your site in a manner that makes sense.

Enumerated below are the most common navigation mistakes you should definitely avoid:

• Absence of breadcrumb navigation
• Pages are located straight off the root
• Pages are named dynamically
• Internal page does not utilise sub navigation
• Sub navigation varies among internal pages

Don't serve dead 404 pages

It's basic etiquette. If you did something wrong, say sorry. It's the same when it comes to website designing. Ideally, web administrators should never forget that they relocated or deleted a page and the instance of having 404 pages should be zero. However, mistakes do happen even to the best administrators.

Don't let your 404 pages be just blank annoying pages. Take it as an opportunity to apologise. You owe it to users and search engines. While it does not resolve the fact that a page is missing, at least you were able to do damage control and even redirect them to the top sections of your site.

It's the simplest things that can ruin the experience

Did you notice that all things stated above are very basic? These are things that they will teach you in SEO or web designing 101. However, with all the things that are happening, it's these simple things that are hurting your site and preventing you from achieving your desired results. So, step back and try to envision your website stripped down your site of all the fanciness and ask yourself: is it accomplishing my business goals and is this something that will make sense to my users and to search engines?

About Subhash Chandra

Subhash Chandra is an SEO & Social Media Consultant at TisIndia, in Noida (UP), India. TIS India is a leading web design development and social media marketing company offers innovative web solutions to world-wide clients.

Read more: search engines, users