Website Best Practices: 21 Tips You Need To Know

Website User Experience

Creating a great website isn’t easy; I get it. There’s a lot you need to know… and do. What follows is a list of 21 website best practices every small business owner needs to know.

To simplify it a bit more, they are broken down, for the most part, into 5 sections that mimic what we at Online Marketing Muscle have coined 5-Tool Web Design.

It’s a lot of content, I know. Use it as a reference guide. Skim through it. Feel free to jump directly to the sections that interest you at the moment… make it work for you!

Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents
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    First and Foremost

    ① A Clear Purpose & Objective for Your Website

    Why do you have/need a website in the first place? What exactly do you want it to do for you?

    Is it for:

    • establishing your online brand?
    • lead generation?
    • eCommerce (selling your products or services)?
    • establish credibility as an expert in your field?
    • educating prospects?
    • do prospecting for you?
    • act as a portal or gateway to specific information on other websites?
    • or, any combination of the above?
    One key here is that whatever the objectives are that you come up with – they MUST be in alignment with your company’s vision and its goals. It MUST support where you want your business to go!
     

    I think you’ll find that when you’re crystal clear on both the purpose and objective of your website, AND build or revise it with website best practices so it has a chance to accomplish them, you’ll give it an honest chance at bringing you the success you want from it!

    I. Graphic Design

    ② Look the Part – Magnetic Website Design

    Let’s face it… it’s a fact of life that people always judge a book by its cover.  You only get to make a first impression once!

    For many businesses, your website is the first thing that prospects see.  And within the first few seconds, that prospect has already decided whether or not they would ever do business with you.

    Is this unfair?  Who’s to say?  The bottom line is that we owe it to ourselves and our businesses to put our best face forward.  Make that great first impression.

    Having a poorly designed website is like shooting yourself in the foot.  Then after the fact, trying to gain that prospect’s confidence and to change their first impression of you is a major uphill battle.  That’s working harder, not smarter.

    So what exactly is good web design?  Well, in a nutshell, it’s providing that right look and feel for you website that is visually appealing to your target market.  It takes into consideration things like choosing the right combination of colors, images, font sizes/shapes, page layout, etc. that draws your prospect in and makes them eager to learn more.

    Now one other thing to note is that there are many components that make a great website… great design is just one of them.

    So what do I recommend?

    Do your homework.  Look at websites that use website best practices from all types of businesses, including those who do similar work as you.

    Note what you like / don’t like.  What emotions get stirred up as a result of looking at a website?  Does it make you happy?  Sad?  Do you get a good or bad vibe from it?  Which ones make you feel compelled to take action or to buy what they’re selling?

    Seek out a professional, whether you hire them or not, get some ideas and some prices. I think that what you’ll find is that in most cases, it’s more cost effective in the short and long-term to have a web design professional create or modify the website for you.

    Now I understand that hiring a professional costs money.

    But, what’s the opportunity cost of potential clients you’ve lost because you made a less than stellar first impression?

    Hmmm… food for thought!

    Bottom line… Make that positive first impression with magnetic website design!

    ③ Choose the Right Colors for Your Website

    According to Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), there are three major ways that our brain processes information… visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Typically people are usually dominant in one area. Approximately 65% of the population are visually oriented, 20% are kinesthetic, and 15% are auditory.

    I won’t go into detail as that’s a whole week’s lesson in itself.  Suffice it to say though that the majority of people are visual learners. Hence the extreme importance of the colors you choose for your website.

    The colors you choose dictate how you are perceived (and received) by your website visitor.

    As per the late, great Jay Conrad Levinson, marketing guru and bestselling author of the Guerrilla Marketing series of books – and by the way, if you haven’t read any of his stuff, I highly recommend you do – Here are what colors mean to people in terms of their emotions and business:

    • Red suggests aggressiveness, passion, strength, vitality. In business, it is great for accents and boldness, stimulates appetites, and is associated with debt.
    • Pink suggests femininity, innocence, softness, health. In business, be sure you’re aware of its feminine implications and associations.
    • Orange suggests fun, cheeriness, warm exuberance. In business, it’s great to highlight information in graphs and on charts.
    • Yellow suggests positivity, sunshine and cowardice. In business, it appeals to intellectuals and is excellent for accenting things. Too much is unnerving.
    • Green suggests tranquility, health, freshness. In business, its deep tones convey status and wealth; its pale tones are soothing.
    • Blue suggests authority, dignity, security, faithfulness. In business, it implies fiscal responsibility and security. Plus it is universally popular.
    • Purple suggests sophistication, spirituality, expensiveness, royalty and mystery. In business, it’s right for upscale and artistic audiences.
    • Brown suggests utility, earthiness, woodsiness and subtle richness. In business, it signifies less important items in documents.
    • White suggests purity, truthfulness, being contemporary and refined. In business, it enlivens dark colors and can be refreshing or sterile.
    • Gray suggests somberness, authority, practicality and a corporate mentality. In business, it is always right for conservative audiences.
    • Black suggests seriousness, distinctiveness, boldness and being classic. In business, it creates drama and is often a fine background color.

    So choose your colors wisely and use them to support the results you want for your website!

    ④ Choose the Right Fonts for Your Website

    While fonts may on the surface seem like a rather unnecessary discussion for some, based on my experience, I felt there were a few website best practices worth touching on.

    1. Google fonts have changed the game of fonts… period. Some might disagree, however I recommend choosing from the vast array that Google makes available. This will ensure the likelihood that your website will look the same (fonts-wise) for everyone. And did I mention, they are free to use?
    2. Try not to use more than 2 font styles on your website – 3 if you are using one in specialty situations around your site (e.g. banner graphics). More than 3 tends to look clumsy.  For example maybe you use just one serif font such as Times New Roman and one sans serif font such as Arial.
    3. There’s an unwritten Internet law that states only use underlining on text when it is a link to somewhere. Otherwise, you’ll just frustrate your visitors by making them think it’s a dead link or that the Internet is slow or something like that.
    4. Stay away from white text as it may make your website unreadable if your visitors print it out to read it.  In my opinion, the best font color choice for regular text is a shade of black and your brand’s core color for headlines.
    5. To make sure all your text is proportionate and easier to read, the font size for your regular text should be around 16px. Make your main headlines larger than that to suit your taste.
    6. Most readers are what we call “scanners” so it’s critical to keep their eye interested by varying the font styles, sizes and colors, and using highlighting and other attributes such as bold and italics. Mix it up but don’t go overboard.

    ⑤ Use Relevant, Professional Images

    In my opinion, the old cliché; “pictures speak a thousand words” holds true.

    Relevant, professional quality images can do wonders for your website and your overall marketing efforts.

    Let’s break this down a bit.

    What do I mean by relevant… well the graphic image must support and add value to your overall message. They must support and enhance your brand. Do not use a graphic just for the sake of using a graphic; it must help you accomplish your goal for the website.

    The graphic must be in good taste, know your target audience and what may or may not offend them.

    Shy away from stock graphics if you can help it, more personal ones tend to work better… so long as they are high quality.

    Some examples of relevant graphics might be:

    • Photos of you and/or others in your organization – these tend to work great as they really personalize the visitors experience – makes them feel as if they know you personally – remember the more comfortable a prospect is, the more likely they are to buy.
    • Other examples are photos of your workplace (if appropriate)
    • Photos of satisfied clients
    • Product photos
    • Etc.

    Now let’s take a quick focus on what I mean by professional quality…

    Fortunately for us, professional grade tools such as digital cameras, scanners, and graphic software exist in abundance in the marketplace at relatively cheap prices.  So essentially, even an amateur with a little money, learning and some elbow grease can get satisfactory results.  However, don’t rule out hiring a professional photographer and/or a professional graphic artist as the average eye can pick out quality work rather easily. If your graphics look less than stellar, your website visitor’s view of you will suffer.

    So bottom line, imagery takes up a lot of website real estate, so make sure that if you use them, you use them right and they generate lots of bang for the buck for you.

    ⑥ Have Easy, Consistent, and Common Navigation

    One of the biggest complaints that visitor’s have is that they cannot find what they are looking for on a website. And when they can’t find what they’re looking for immediately, they tend to not stick around or come back for that matter.

    So as you can clearly see, having easy, consistent, and common navigation is pretty critical to the success of your website… therefore we dubbed it #6 of website best practices.

    First, let’s talk menus.

    There’s an unwritten Internet law that you should know about that essentially state’s that a website’s main menu should either be located across the top of the page or down the left-hand side.

    Whichever location you use, it MUST be consistent throughout every page of your website. 

    Additionally, use common titles for your menu choices.  This way it makes your site a bit of comfortable for your visitors and gives them a clear picture of what lies beyond each menu choice. 

    What I mean by that is consider using the title “Services” for the menu choice that links to the Services page of your website or “Products” for the menu choice that links to your Products page.

    For most websites, a visitor should not have to click more than 3 times to find what they are looking for. If your site is large with numerous pages consider providing a “Search” feature.

    Now a “Search” feature for your website works much like Google or Yahoo’s Search Engine allowing your visitors to type in a word or words specifying what they are looking for. Then they can click on the “Search” button and find all matching pages of your website containing that word or words.  Just another technique to make finding things on your site real easy.

    II. Website Copywriting

    ⑦ Use Killer Headlines To Draw Your Visitor In

    Nothing is as important to the success of your website in terms of getting the attention of your visitor as an intriguing or enticing headline.

    The overall look of the page may get their initial attention however, the headline gives your visitor a reason to stick around.

    It stops them dead in their tracks and makes them feel that you have the answers they seek or the solution they want.

    Remember, the visitor is thinking one thing, what’s in it for me and it’s the duty of your headline to tell them just that.  And if they dig deeper into your website, they will find what they are looking for.

    How do you write that killer headline? 

    First thing I would suggest is pay attention to what works as you look at all types of marketing materials from websites to ads – notice what headlines grab your attention and why. 

    Second, learn from the masters – A great book to check out is “The Ultimate Sales Letter” by Dan Kennedy.  That book will help you understand the power of the written word and give you some great headline templates and examples to get you going. 

    Third, test, test and test again – this is one of the keys to effective marketing.  Try different headlines and note your results – begin to gain a clear understanding of which headlines work the best for you.

    And, oh, one last suggestion is don’t forget that the text color you use for your headline and sub-headlines makes a big difference as well—you may want to go back and review my comments on this in Key Concept # 2 of website best practices.

    ⑧ Use Website Copy That Sells

    Well OK, now that your website looks great and you’ve grabbed your visitor’s attention with that killer headline you’ve got; it’s time to address the meat of your website, the website copy.

    One critical fact to get on the table right away is that words sell!  Not the pretty graphics… it’s what you say with your words and how you structure them that get the results.

    Here are eight points for you to consider when writing your web copy:

    1. Use a conversational tone in your writing style. Write as if you are having a one-on-one conversation with the reader – it must feel personal as if you are talking directly to them and them only.
    2. Use smaller words and sentences. This is not the time to impress people with your mastery of the English language.
    3. Focus on what’s in it for your reader, the benefits you will provide them above and beyond your competition.
    4. Use a proven system in your writing. For example, one such system is have a killer headline, then in the first section, expose the pain that your reader is possibly facing, next section empathize with them and tell them that it’s OK, next explain how you can help, and finally have a clear call to action – tell them exactly what next step you want them to take. 
    5. Don’t be afraid to use what us marketers call long-copy in other words pages and pages of written words that the user must scroll down to read. When done right, it has been proven that while some people find long copy annoying – ultimately it sells better than short-copy!
    6. Use powerful sub-headlines throughout your copy. Since most people scan before they read, they tend to read the headlines and sub-headlines first before deciding whether or not they will read the entire sales copy.
    7. Again just like headlines, test, test, and test again. The mere swapping in and out of certain words can yield phenomenal changes in your results – you’ll be surprised.
    8. Lastly, being how critical your words are, consider hiring a professional copywriter, preferably one that has a proven track record.

    Remember words sell!

    III. Website Marketing

    ⑨ Have a Strong, Consistent Brand

    Just what is a brand anyway?

    In a nutshell, your brand is your identity to the outside world. It tells the world who you are, what you do and how you do it, what you stand for and how you add value.

    As you can plainly see it’s more than just your company’s name or logo – although those are parts that make up your personal brand as well.

    It’s everything about you that affects how the world perceives you.

    It’s what makes your target audience, if you’re branded properly, identify with you and ultimately buy from you because they feel a synergy with you.

    Brands when implemented correctly help differentiate you from the competition.

    So what can you do to get started in creating a strong, consistent brand?

    • First thing is to be consistent in your messages and your actions – say what you do and do what you say. This leads to integrity and consumer confidence in you.
    • Second, look the part – always present the consistent image that you want to project. This includes your appearance in the world’s eyes from both a personal and business perspective. What do I mean by that? For example, the way you and your team dress, the quality of your marketing materials, the paper you use, the colors and shapes of your products, and on and on and on.
    • And finally, ensure consistency in the quality for all your product and services. No, your products and services don’t have to be the best; they just have to be consistent. Think McDonalds, one of the greatest brands ever created. In my opinion, no, their hamburgers are not the best available however, they are good and they taste the same pretty much in any one of their stores around the world. People like and buy consistency!

    One last point, brands are critical for every size business, whether you are a multi-national billion dollar organization or a one person home based business.

    Your brand helps your prospect clearly understand why they should buy from you!

    ⑩ Have a Clear Call to Action

    Just as I spoke about in website best practices Key Concept #1. that you must have a clear purpose and objective for your website, you must also in support of that, clearly spell out what action you want your prospects to take as a result of visiting each page of your site.

    So now they’ve stopped by your website.  What’s next?  What do you want them to do?  Call you, stop by your office, request a brochure, buy your product right now from your website, give you their contact information so you can market to them in the future – figure out exactly what single action you want them to take and then tell them in your website copy to take that action.

    Be prepared however, to give them something in return for taking that action promptly – reward them.  Cater to their emotions and give them real reasons for taking action now – make them feel that they’re getting something for nothing – maybe a free special report for the first 50 purchasers of your product – or, a free bonus for acting by a certain date.

    Bottom line… don’t leave it up to them to figure out what to do next. Clearly tell them. And then give them a real reason to take that action now!

    ⑪ Make It Easy To Buy

    Fact: People buy with emotion and justify the purchase afterwards with logic.

    The key here is to capitalize on that emotion. Simplifying your buying process does just that, it allows your prospects to get what they want, when they want it… period!

    How do you make it easy to buy you ask?  Here are 7 quick ways:

    1. Provide a lot of upfront value that starts to build your prospect’s confidence in you and your offering…. educational content such as blog posts and videos
    2. Offer enough information on your website about your products and services so that your prospect can make a decision. Knowing your ideal Client avatar will certainly help you determine how much, is enough.
    3. Provide numerous methods for them to pay. Pay by phone… pay online via a secured connection… etc. Let’s just get this out of the way real quick… unless you have a specific philosophy on why you have a no credit card policy… there is simply no reason not to accept credit cards!
    4. Use a reputable shopping cart system that allows your prospect to easily select and deselect products for purchase.  Make sure the shopping cart icon is uniformly displayed on all pages and is easy to find.
    5. Offer complementary products during the buying process that may enhance the usability of the product they are buying.
    6. Don’t ask for any unnecessary information – you don’t want to prolong the process any longer than it needs to be or scare them away.
    7. Offer a no risk, iron-clad, no questions asked, guarantee. If a client is dissatisfied you are most likely to do whatever it takes anyway to make them happy. So why not tell them that upfront and use it to your advantage by making it a no-brainer to buy from you.

    Bottom line… make it real easy to say “Yes” and make them feel that they’d be crazy to do business with anyone else but you!

    ⑫ Have a Means to Capture a Visitor’s Contact Information

    This is probably one of the most overlooked or improperly used goldmines of having a website.

    Whether you already have a website or, are looking to create one for your business sometime in the future, you should always be looking for ways to get the most value out of it… Milk it for everything it’s worth!

    Make it work for you… do some prospecting for you so that your sales pipeline stays full of prospects interested in what you have to offer. 

    So how do you do this you ask?

    Well, you dangle a carrot in front of your visitors… a carrot in the form of a FREE special report, a FREE checklist, a FREE eBook, FREE tips and tricks, or a FREE whatever.

    The idea here is to give your visitor something of VALUE for FREE in exchange for the right to market to them going forward. 

    So if they want your FREE giveaway, they must provide you with their contact information – sounds fair right?!

    Keep in mind, you should be trying to build or solidify a relationship here with your visitors, not sell them; so this free giveaway must be value driven not sales pitch driven.

    Chances are if they’re interested enough to sign up at your website, they may be interested in what you offer at some point.

    ⑬ Take a What’s In It for Me (WIIFM) Approach

    This is the mindset of website visitors… period.  What’s in it for me? And if they can’t clearly and quickly see that, they’re gone! Maybe even for good.

    So the focus of your website, and this is key, is that it must be all about your visitor. Identify with them. Make them feel that you clearly understand them and their needs and can solve their problems and make their life wonderful.

    For the most part, website visitors don’t care how great you are. What they care about is how you can make them great!

    And a key way to approach this is to make your website benefit-driven not feature-driven. The features of your products or services are not nearly as significant as the benefits that those features provide.

    People buy with emotions and benefits trigger those emotions!

    For example, people don’t buy a drill just to buy a drill; they buy a drill because they desire the holes it makes (the holes being one of the benefits that the drill provides). Most don’t care if it’s made out of a space-age alloy material. They do care that it is so lightweight that it allows them to easily work for longer durations without their arms and shoulders getting tired. Or, that they can drop it off of an 8-foot ladder without worrying about it breaking. Regardless, if these benefits are the direct result of the “space-age alloy material” or the feature as we call it; these are trigger points that stimulate people to buy and hit clearly on the concept of WIIFM.

    ⑭ Provide Value and Content

    The whole idea behind providing consistent content and value is using it as a means to build a relationship with your visitor – a bond so to speak.

    And just what do we mean by content and value? In a nutshell, it’s giving your website visitors something they need or want that improves their situation. It could be content in the form of a blog posts, video seminars, how-to guides, checklists, tips and tricks, recommendations, links to other complementary and useful websites, etc., etc., etc.

    However, this content must be relevant to your visitor in order to be perceived as providing value.

    For example, this blog post provides content and value to you for FREE! And, if I continue and consistently provide you with content and value, you may consider one day doing business with Online Marketing Muscle. Why? Because as a representative, I’ve earned your trust and confidence. 

    Providing sound content and value are also an excellent means of differentiating yourself from the competition. This way when your visitors think of, or have a need for what you provide, you’re the 1st person they think of. And if you’ve provided a tremendous amount of value, your visitor is thinking “I’d have to be crazy to do business with anyone else but you!”

    Another critical point here is to provide content and value on a consistent basis. This way you are always top of mind… oh how soon those visitors forget.

    Also change it up; put a plan in place to keep your website content fresh. This highly increases the return rate of your visitors and increases the value quotient that they place on you.

    ⑮ Have Compelling Reasons to Visit Often

    How often do you change the content of your website?  If I visit your website today will it look the same as maybe the last time I visited it a year ago?

    You could have the most amazing website but if you never change it up, people won’t come back. Once they’ve been through your site and pulled from it all the value they need, they have no reason to come back. Unless of course you change it up often. How often, depends on you and your visitors. Obviously you don’t want to do any more work than you need to. So, testing, monitoring and analyzing will be your best gauge.

    For your website to truly be effective, it has to compel visitors to come back often; as the key to effective marketing is consistency. And you can, and should, allow yourself to get very creative here. Bottom line is the more they visit, the better the chance of them buying – so get them there often!

    How, you ask?  Well here’s one BIG way to get you started… simply host a blog on your website and post new relevant content every week.

    Yes, it could be as simple as that!

    Just get those visitors back often, turn them into raving fans and give your website a chance to earn its keep!

    ⑯ The Importance of Social Proof

    Credibility to a business is everything! Given a choice, people simply won’t do business with people or businesses they don’t trust… period!

    One way of quickly building that trust is by proper use of testimonials.

    People instinctively want to be assured they are making the right decision by buying from you or listening to what you have to say.

    And a testimonial from a satisfied customer, the press, an authority figure, a celebrity, or someone whom the visitor may believe, gets right to the heart of the matter.

    How many are appropriate in terms of website best practices on your site? Within reason it’s really the more the merrier! Strategically sprinkle them throughout your site and if you have a lot of them, say more than 3, consider creating a separate testimonials page to house the remainder.

    Here’s another tip for your consideration. 

    Have a system for gathering testimonials that spells out who to ask, when to ask them, what to ask them for, where to use them, etc. Marketing automation software is great for this task! Bottom line; don’t be afraid to ask for them.  Remember if you don’t ask, you most likely won’t get – even if your customer is thrilled with you.

    IV. SEO

    ⑰ Implement an 'On-Page' SEO Strategy

    When I first created this content (over 15 years ago… holy…) I wrote about the trend shifting toward more and more people using the Internet as their first means of searching for what they want. How cool is that! I guess I was right!

    So with that in mind, ask yourself, “When someone is looking for the types of products and services I offer, what words would they use when asking for them?”

    For example, if you offered computer consulting in New York, possible keywords or keyword phrases could be “computer consulting” or “computer consulting New York”.  So how can you find out what people are searching for?

    Ah, rest assured there are tools out there that you can use to identify exactly how many times in the past month people searched for a specific keyword or keyword phrases – for free – how cool is that!

    Now there are too many essentials to mention here however, three keys to focus on are:

    1. Keyword
    2. SEO Title
    3. META Description

    Each page / post should have all 3 of those tidbits of information uniquely defined and embedded into the code of that page / post.

    Let’s touch on each a bit.

    Keyword

    Each page of your website should focus on its own keyword concept (keyword + keyword synonyms) that is relevant to that page.

    Those keywords (and keyword synonyms) must be used at least a few times on that web page – enough times so that it’s clear what the page is about – this is called keyword density.

    SEO Title & META description

    An SEO Title is kind of like your headline for the page. Essentially you have about 50 characters to clearly identify and intrigue the search engine’s customer on why they should click on your listing and visit your site.

    META description

    A META description gives you the ability to further entice by allowing you an additional 120 – 158 characters to provide further enticement.

    Again just like keywords and SEO Titles, these are unique to the page; So your “Home” page will have its own META description as will say an “About Us” page.

    Remember though, it is critical to know what you want from the search engines.  This will determine your strategy.

    • Where would your prospects most likely look for you?
    • What would they search for?
    • Would they search for you by name or by the type of product or service you offer?
    • Where do you want to show up when someone searches for your keywords? The first page, second page, does it matter?
    • Are you willing to spend money to drive traffic to your website? If so, exactly how much money per visitor?
    • And the list of questions you need to ask yourself goes on and on.

    Bottom line… my recommendation is to know what you want and bring in a SEO pro to help you achieve it.

    ⑱ Exercise A Proper Link Building Strategy

    Link building is critical to your online marketing success!

    Amongst many things, a proper link strategy can both drive qualified visitors to your site and improve your search engine rankings.

    So what is Linking you ask?  It’s almost like word of mouth advertising.  When another site contains a link to your site, it is essentially inviting and enticing their visitor to come visit you.

    A key thing to know here is that all incoming as well as outgoing links should be relevant to your site.  For example a CPA’s website having a link to a Bookkeeper’s website is a relevant link as those are complementary services.

    However it may not make sense for that CPA’s website to link to a scuba diving gear website as those are typically unrelated topics.

    Consider these few additional tips when developing your link strategy:

    • Clearly define the types of websites you want to link to as well as to link to you.
    • Look who is linking to and from your competition – should you have those links as well
    • Determine how you will approach websites for link swapping.
    • Always look to have websites that are very popular link to you – this could skyrocket your business.
    • Have all outgoing links on your website open a new web browser window so that your visitors don’t leave your website by mistake.  The idea here is that you don’t want to direct people away from your website.  You just want to provide your visitors extra value by providing a link to something else that may interest them.

    V. Website Programming

    ⑲ Optimize Your Website For Speed

    Although a large percentage of the population uses high-speed Internet connections such as Cable or Fiber Optic, websites have simply gotten fatter and slower. With the increasing popularity of high quality imagery, website page builders and numerous cool features (all which cause website bloating), we need to be both conscious and considerate of our website speed.

    Typically visitors will only wait up to 3 seconds for a page to load – if it’s not up in that time, there’s a good chance they’re gone!

    With that in mind, I highly recommend that you test the loading time of every page of your website. There are many free tools tools out there that you can use to help here… I’ve included one such tool below.

    So what determines how fast your page loads? A lot of different factors. 

    • The quality of your web hosting solution
    • Your page size in Megabytes… non-optimized images are typically the big culprit here
    • How many times your website has to contact another website to get something it needs (HTTP requests)
    • How well the melange of software used to create your site play together in the sandbox (WordPress core, theme, plugins, etc.)
    • and much, much more.

    A lot to digest here, I know.

    One you can easily control though are images… they are typically the major culprit anyway… so we’ll focus on that.

    Without getting too technical, here are a few quick rules of thumb:

    • Eliminate any unnecessary imagery – meaning ones that don’t really add a tremendous amount of value to your website.
    • Size the images (dimension-wise) exactly as displayed on your site. This way your site doesn’t need to take time to adjust them on the fly.
    • Choose the file format of your graphics wisely. JPGs still work and are a good choice for photos. PNGs for pretty much all else. Yes, there are newer file formats available, however they are both more complicated to work with and/or may not be supported by all web browsers.
    • Compress your images. There are tools online to do this… just Google it. A good web designer should know how to do that for you though.

    ⑳ Keep Your Website Safe & Secure

    Yes, there are bad people out there with bad intentions… there… I said it!

    Bottom line… Keep your site secure and your visitor’s safe. it is your responsibility!

    How?

    Here are some simple suggestions:

    • Keep all software used to build your site updated! I recommend doing so at least weekly. For us WordPress users, this at a minimum means the WordPress core, your website theme and all plugins. Nothing screams “hack me” more than a WordPress website that isn’t being maintained.
    • Implement a proven security plugin. We favor iThemes Security Pro.

    That combination alone will make it very difficult for hackers to cause you grief.

    ㉑ Keep Proper Website Backups

    Included in your website best practices, every small business needs a proper disaster recovery plan.

    Why?

    Shit happens… period!

    Now conducting regular backups is not by any means a comprehensive disaster recovery plan for your business, however at least it can serve as a real good plan for your website.

    You can implement backups in a variety of ways… ranging from free and simple (less protection) to pricey and comprehensive (more protection).

    What I prefer is a solution that backs up my website somewhere other than the web host that houses my website in the first place. This way if something happens to my web hosting company, my business can still survive by restoring a backup onto another web host.

    Conclusion

    So… this concludes our journey through “Website Best Practices: 21 Tips You Need To Know”.  I know, we covered a ton of concepts.  I sincerely hope that you found the material useful and will be able to use this knowledge to make your website sizzle!

    Just to summarize where we’ve been, here are the 21 Keys we talked about:

    Key Concept # 1: “A Clear Purpose & Objective For Your Website”

    Key Concept # 2: “Look The Part – Magnetic Website Design”

    Key Concept # 3: “Choose The Right Colors For Your Website”

    Key Concept # 4: “Choose The Right Fonts For Your Website”

    Key Concept # 5: “Use Relevant, Professional Images”

    Key Concept # 6: “Have Easy, Consistent, And Common Navigation”

    Key Concept # 7: “Use Killer Headlines To Draw Your Visitor In”

    Key Concept # 8: “Use Website Copy That Sells”

    Key Concept # 9: “Have A Strong, Consistent Brand”

    Key Concept # 10: “Have A Clear Call To Action”

    Key Concept # 11: “Make It Easy To Buy”

    Key Concept # 12: “Have A Means To Capture A Visitor’s Contact Information”

    Key Concept # 13: “Take A What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) Approach”

    Key Concept # 14: “Provide Value And Content”

    Key Concept # 15: “Have Compelling Reasons To Visit Often”

    Key Concept # 16: “The Importance Of Social Proof”

    Key Concept # 17: “Implement An ‘On-Page’ SEO Strategy”

    Key Concept # 18: “Exercise A Proper Link Building Strategy”

    Key Concept # 19: “Optimize Your Website For Speed”

    Key Concept # 20: “Keep Your Website Safe & Secure”

    Key Concept # 21: “Keep Proper Website Backups”

    So once again remember, these concepts are useless unless you adopt them into your website… 

    Here’s to your success!

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