Top 10 Best Practices for your Website
Is your current website performing how you want it to? Check out these best practices and see how it stacks up!
- Know Your Audience
Is your current site reaching your intended audience? Have you clearly defined who you are trying to reach with your website? Area Visitors? Members? Locals? Knowing your audience is the basis for an effective website. Our association-focused layouts give you ideas to get you started! View our established layouts
- Finding Information: Key Links
Are your most important links easy to find on your current website? Make it easy for your audience to find what they need. List which pages or information your visitors will need access to. Are they prominent on your home page? Choose a link system and be consistent throughout your site. You want them to anticipate where there is more content available. Don’t make them guess - they will likely get frustrated and leave. So, if you use a certain color for your links, don’t use that color for static text. Also, icons throughout your site should be consistent in style. These elements will not only look nice and professional, they will support an elevated experience for the visitor, making it easy for them to use your website...and keep coming back for another visit (as well as point other users in your direction.) Our layouts include the ChamberMaster modules and a business search built right into your website, making it easy to find your members, events or other key areas!
- Clear and intuitive Navigation
Is your website navigation consistent and easy to use? Simplicity is key. Consistent navigation throughout your site is a must, so your visitors don't get lost while moving through pages. Keep your navigation shallow. Users don’t want to go in too deep without finding what they are looking for. Use the '3 clicks or less' rule for visitors to find what they need. Using navigation aids like a site map, hover states, and indicators such as color will help them know where they are at in the site. Create buttons and site structures that all look like they are part of the same system. Follow standard web conventions. As web site use evolves, conventions are created and adopted by the mass of users. For example:
These are all examples of web site conventions to follow. As users become more web savvy, they will come to expect your site to follow popular conventions which makes your website easier to use.
- Linking your logo to the home page and it’s position in the upper left hand corner of your site
- Using html blue for hyperlinks
- Search box in the upper right of the header area
- Contact information in the footer
- Color Usage
How many colors are on your site? 3 or 4 colors (including neutrals) are best for your overall website color theme. More than that takes away from the clean look you want to have in a website. Use of colors should be consistent, and enhance rather than distract from the site. Using your organization's logo colors compliments your brand. Font color consistency is just as important as your site color theme. Our designers work with your colors to enhance your website!
- Fresh is Best: Easily Maintained Content
How fresh is your website content? Creating unique, valuable content (not copy-pasted from your county website) is good for more than one reason. Your content is seen by Google as unique content which means better search results indexing, and, visitors won't find your unique information anywhere else on the web! It is worth taking the time to write your unique website content. Next... Keeping that content fresh keeps your website from becoming stale. Update your home page regularly to keep your visitors interest. Information about an upcoming event, a new photo, or event recap would do the trick. The LiveEdit Content Management System makes updating the site easy to do 24/7!
- Keep it Personal: Photos
Does your current website contain any photos? No matter if your organization is 'tourism' focused or 'business-professional' focused, photos on your website speak volumes. Personalize your site by adding photos of your community, events, landmarks, ribbon cuttings, etc. People like to see photos on a page, rather than a page with all text. This also adds depth and diversity to your website. Uploading your photos is quick and easy using the FileManager feature in the LiveEdit Content Management System.
- Page Load Time
How quick does your website load? So you have great text and photos for your site but your site loads sloooow? No one wants to wait for a page to load. Sizing your photos to fit will prevent heavy page load time. For example, say your original photo size is 2400 pixels wide x 1800 pixels high. A good rule of thumb is to size it down to the size of the area the photo will be placed, then upload the image. 'Head shots' can be reduced to 200 pixels wide or less to reduce page load time. Limiting the number of photos per page will also make for quicker loading pages. Want to re-use a photo in use on your website, but need it smaller in size? LiveEdit comes with a photo re-sizing feature built right in!
Are there links to your Social Networking pages on your website? Social Networking (SN) is one of the best ways to connect with your audience. SN links should be easy to find throughout your website. Our layouts include icons that link directly to your SN pages. ChamberMaster software has a feature that once activated, will automatically post your Hot Deals, New Jobs, Upcoming Events, New Members, and News to facebook and twitter! And, the LiveEdit Content Management System comes with a Blog module to create your own Blog! Talk about Networking!
- Search Engine Optimization
- Do you have a great site, but no one is seeing it? SEO is a 'must have' for your website. Our design process includes basic SEO steps so web users find your site while searching the web. These steps include key text in web page content and adding of html heading text, among others.
- Already have great SEO but need a new site and don't want to lose that great 'Google Juice'? Of course you want return visitors to find your new site. We put SEO best practices into action so new visitors AND return visitors will find your new site.
- Use Header Tags of every page. Your tags should support the page title and be relevant to the page content that follows it. Using page titles helps a user understand where they are in the site and also supports the SEO (search engine optimization) of your website content.
- Mobile Link
Is your current website reaching out to mobile users? Many web users have cell phones, and use them for viewing the web. Viewing your full site can be cumbersome and difficult to navigate. Allowing visitors to be directed to your key pages optimized for mobile use or even creating a full mobile site will make it easier for visitors to use your site. Stay away from flash animation, use mobile detection codes on your home page for mobile visitors to have the choice to switch to a mobile compatible site and add an icon for the site’s mobile version available on every page. The mobile version should be a basic version of your full website that is faster loading and easily navigated with a simple user interface. ChamberMaster includes four key mobile modules with your Plus edition software (Business Directory, Events, Job Postings and Hot Deals). Take the next step and select an Established Mobile layout or create a customized mobile site design.