Whether it’s time to update your company’s website or your business is just lifting off the ground, you need a killer website to find success. However, building an impressive website is much easier said than done.

While you can build something basic on a site like Godaddy.com, the most successful websites use professional coders. If you can’t hire someone quite yet, boost your success by improving the quality of your site.

Here are a few ways you can boost your search ranking and increase the user-friendliness of your website.

Make it look polished

No one is going to take your website seriously if it isn’t easy to look at—and even the simplest of sites can look spiffy with a few tweaks here and there. If hiring a professional web developer isn’t in your budget, applications like WordPress can be a lifesaver.

Even if your knowledge of computers is rudimentary at best, this is an easy to use tool that lets you build a complete website without having to type a single line of code or figure out JavaScript.

With the right color scheme and photo selection, your site will have that professional, clean, polished look that all businesses desire. You can actually see a perfect example of this on this Your Mind Your Body, which is loaded with content, but they do a great job of breaking it apart with bullet points and bold areas to highlight the Pros and Cons of each item they review.

This is something you will see across many of the top content blogs and review sites online. The more content that is placed on a site, the more likely it will rank higher in Google. However, you will want to break apart your content with visuals and colors sections to make it more appealing and easier to skim through.

Personalize your website

A good website doesn’t bombard potential clients or consumers with big flashy pop-up ads; it greets them warmly, like an old friend. Your homepage is your first impression, and as the saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.”

For personal website and blog businesses, it’s a great idea to showcase the person behind the site. The more personal and upfront a site is with their audience, the more likely it is to also gain their trust. A perfect example of this can be seen on Pat Flynn’s blog, as he shows a profile image of himself, has a nice little signature, and also has easy to navigation buttons and call to actions throughout the site.

Tell your visitors a little bit about your company and what you do, but keep it simple. You can go into greater depth on your about page.

Make it marketable

If you haven’t studied up on digital marketing, it might be time to start. Google accounted for almost 40% of U.S. digital marketing with Facebook pulling in about 8%. If your website isn’t showing up on major search engines like Google and Bing, you might get left in the dust by your competition.

Creating a blog section on your site serves two purposes: providing additional content for users and keyword utilization for ranking.

If you’re not much of a wordsmith, it’s never a bad idea to outsource your content to a professional writer who knows what they’re doing.

However, before you can start populating your site with content, you need to do a little research. To get the most out of your content be sure to include the right keywords in the right volume.

Provide the Information Consumers Want

If you want to rank for certain search queries and drive more customers to your site, provide the information they want. Perhaps it’s curating content that helps consumers answer important questions.

Maybe you’re looking to serve as the data-source for confused consumers. Take BestDebtCompanies.com for example. This site is designed to help online visitors compare debt relief companies; by offering up honest testimonials from other customers, they’re able to drive traffic without creating huge amounts of original content.

How? Take these Community Tax reviews for example. By collecting consumer reviews, this site is able to provide unbiased information that consumers are searching for—without having to write thousands of blog posts to rank.

If you have a large business that is fundamentally web-based, hiring an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) firm is your best course of action—unless you already have an in-house marketing department.

For smaller businesses just getting started, tools like Google Adsense will be your best friend. If you’re selling boots for the winter, you can see what the hottest related search terms are, when they’re spiking, and how much they are already being used.

Enable Easy Social Sharing

Social media is still one of the best ways to drive traffic to a website or blog. It’s not just about making sure you have quality content and trying to get it to go viral, it’s also important to make sure you have easy to use social sharing buttons on your site as well.

WordPress plugins like Social Floating Bar and Sassy Social Share make this process a whole lot easier. You can see an example of these social sharing buttons on any of the pages on our site.

When adding social sharing buttons to your side, make sure they scroll down with the user, or to add them at both the beginning and end of your articles.

Promotions

These days, it seems every website wants to get you on an emailing list, but no one ever wants to sign up because it just ends up cluttering their inbox. A method to get around this problem is by offering an incentive.

One strategy that websites like Macys.com use is offering 15-20% off discounts on certain products in exchange for your email, or to get a user to “ship to the store” and get free pickup. This can be a highly effective way to lure your target audience into a position where they are more likely to convert into a sale.

Another way to keep customers coming back is it have them include their email so that a representative may contact them.

Contact page

Your contact page should be easy to find and user-friendly. Some of your visitors are already going to know who you are as a business and what they want, but others might need a little direction. If you want your website to convert, you need to have a contact page that customers can use to clear up any confusion.

Using these proven strategies, you can take your daft and drab website and turn it into an elegant workhorse.

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