Tips to improve your website
- When you design and improve your website, thinking like your customer will likely help you to come up with and implement meaningful changes.
- Follow our guidelines to help you design websites that are effectively indexed for Google Search, and try Google tools such as Analytics to help you monitor and test your site.
Elements of a great website
What makes a website great depends on who you're trying to attract. For example, if you're looking to attract students to your website to book a plumbing appointment, you'll want to design your website differently than if you're trying to sell croissants at your bakery. Ensure your website content and layout is optimized for a good customer experience. Sites that are attractive, easy to navigate, and informative tend to be more profitable.
Use these tips as a starting point to think about ways to design and revise your website:
- Think like your customers
When you plan, design, or evaluate your website, pretend that you're one of your own customers, trying to accomplish a task. Think about what brought the customer there, whether the customer might have questions or a specific goal, and what familiarity the customer has with your products. This can be a difficult task because your knowledge of your products and website will likely be much deeper than your customer's knowledge – consider asking a coworker, friend, or family member who is less experienced with your business and website to navigate it for you.
- Include only what you need
For a new customer, unfamiliar websites can be very confusing. Just as you have to make difficult decisions about which products to stock on your shelves or include in your catalog, you'll need to exclude some information from your website to keep it clean and tidy. If you provide too many links, too many images, or too much text, you might confuse a potential customer. Ultimately, a well-organized and clear website can provide a better experience for customers, and make it easier for them to make a purchase or contact you.
- Keep your pages loading quickly
If your customers can't load your page, they can't buy your products! Make sure that your pages will load quickly for all your customers,especially if a segment of your customers uses slower Internet connections (such as dial-up internet). In general, try to avoid lots of images, large images, and complex website widgets.
- Keep your content current
You don't have to spend a lot of time updating your website, but make sure you don't have outdated information, such as announcements for sales that have finished or incorrect pricing. Such details erode your customers' confidence in your website and in your company.
- Include contact information
Many customers, especially of stores with physical locations, will go to websites to get contact information, address, and business hours. You might want to include this information at the bottom of every page. At the least, you should include a prominent link to your contact information on each page.
- Make it mobile
Many of your customers will connect to your website via mobile phones. Many of these phones will not be able to play Flash or handle complex, interactive graphics. Rather than losing these potential customers, provide a way for them to at least get critical information, if not browse your entire website. In fact, if your website has a lot of Flash content, your ads might not be eligible to show on mobile phones.
Choose the right landing page
After you evaluate your website, you’ll also want to think about where on your site you’d like your customers to go. Send your customers to a page that has the information, promotion, or product promised in your ad. If customers don't easily find what prompted them to click on your ad, they're more likely to leave your site.
Improve your search ranking
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – in other words, making your website show up prominently in organic, unpaid search results – can be a complex task. However, many of the things that will make your website attractive to search engines, such as a clear page title and descriptive link text, are also elements that your customers will likely value.
To help you get your page listed in Google's search results, read more in the Webmaster Help Center:
Monitor and test your website
After your website is up and running, you can monitor its performance and look for areas to improve. To identify those areas, you might consider using Google Analytics. Google Analytics tracks your website's visitors and tells you how many times your website's pages were viewed, how long people spent on your pages, where your visitors went after viewing a particular page, and more.