Arin Adamson
By Arin Adamson | Web Dev | September 17, 2014

The Internet Battleground: What Makes A Website Successful?

Global Internet UsersWith billions of websites competing for the attention of the internet’s 2.4 billion users, what makes one website attract more attention than others? The internet may not seem like a battleground, but the millions of internet warriors might think otherwise. Every day some website’s fall and others rise. The internet is the fastest growing medium for business and that makes it a competitive rise to the top. How can you equip yourself now to join the fight? The three keys: a successful marketing strategy, good website functionality, and a good user experience. Deliver all three and you shall surely rise to glory.

Marketing your brand, your products or service and getting people to your website is the most important task. Search engine optimization, social media and advertisements are all good ways to acquire web traffic. Search engine optimization increases your rankings with search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Social media lets you connect with your previous customers and potential new customers with either advertisements or interesting content from your website. Advertising lets you pay to feature your products or service. Each method helps to boost traffic, inevitably boosting your search engine ranking – assuming that you retain the traffic. How does one retain traffic? There are a few answers to that question, but one of the best things to do is market your brand. A well designed logo and website with a proper business name can go a long way toward making your website go viral.

The most successful websites have short and sweet names: Ebay, Amazon, Newegg, Facebook and Twitter are all short (two-or-three syllables) Keeping your website’s name short-but-informative will let users advertise by word of mouth more easily. Not only that, it certainly makes your website’s name a lot easier to remember. The more people remember your website, the more return visitors you will have. Of course, in order to get someone to suggest a website by word of mouth and become a return visitor, you’ll need to make a good first impression.

Your website is a great place to create an environment that makes users feel at home but also markets your brand to the target audience. The right colors, the right font and the correct content for your target audience are a necessity to make an impression (in general, this falls under web design). A design that is geared towards children should be more brightly colored, have playful font and easy to read content with cartoon characters or other kids. On the other hand, a website made for video gamers could include dark colors, boxier lines and font, videos and interactive media content. Your website design should be dictated by the audience you seek to capture. To grasp a better understanding of how to design your website around a particular target audience, check out some successful websites that target the same demographic. Besides marketing your brand with a stunning design, you can make a good impression on a user by making your website easy to use. This is the key to user experience, or UX.

Good UX can be achieved by creating an easy-to-use and organized navigation system, a website that actually functions properly and available information where needed. The notorious rollout of healthcare.gov was a UX disaster  – their user experience was horrible because their website simply didn’t function as intended. Healthcare.gov is a government website though, so they will continue to retain traffic and search engine ranking. However, your website may not be so lucky to survive a user experience catastrophe! If your website functions as intended, then it’s time to focus on making sure your users get sent to the right place within your site.

The organization of website pages and navigation is called website architecture. When considering the architecture of a website, it’s important to understand what exactly the user needs at that moment. For example, let’s say that you have a website that sells shoes. You’d want your homepage to have a link to each shoe brand that you sell. People know the names of top shoe brands and are more likely to look into brands before individual shoe names. You may also want to categorize those links ever further: men, women or kids? Running, sports, formal? There are many ways to organize navigation, but it is important to organize your website so that a user can easily find the area of the website he or she needs.

The final trick of user experience is to feed your users the information they want when they want it. If a user purchases a product from your website without understanding that they’re going to require an accessory (batteries, for example) that can lead to a lost return customer. Or, if your user does not understand the product they want and wants more information before making a selection, they may go elsewhere to find that information and the product. These scenarios lead to the decline of websites and keep websites from rising to the top. Ancillary details are important when you consider the scope of the internet user demographic.

There you have it. You are now ready to begin your quest to fight for your website’s right to conquer the internet. Remember that user experience, functionality and marketing are your best friends. Good luck!

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