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Website Development is Foundation of Online Marketing

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Website development is the cornerstone of online marketing. Online marketing has the potential for greatness if the site itself is great.

The world’s best paint job on a car won’t matter if the car doesn’t run well. An amazing new 55-inch TV with the latest color, HD and other advances isn’t worth much if the programming stinks.

Effective website development has four major considerations that contribute greatly to marketing efforts.

Site Speed

Inexperienced website publishers may assume that high-speed wifi and cable access to the Internet automatically mean that website speed is a given. It is not.

Website speed is one of the most important factors in getting search engines to rank a site higher. It’s especially true if that site has script-heavy advertising, data-intensive images and other features that slow performance.

Speed is not a matter of minutes or even 10 seconds. A site that loads only one or two seconds faster than another one has an immediate advantage with search engines. Google has published data indicating that site visitors perceive a difference in speed of only 300 milliseconds.

Various tools such as PageSpeed Insights from Google will analyze a website’s speed and offer suggestions on how to make it faster. Google wouldn’t make the tool freely available if it wasn’t trying to tell publishers to make sites faster.

Smart publishers will use that tool to measure competitors’ websites and do whatever is necessary to get a better score. It is one of the few ways that publishers can make direct and measurable comparisons with competitors.

Faster speed by itself doesn’t guarantee much higher rankings against a smart competitor. But it does promise favorable responses by search engines.

Content Quality

SEO content writingHigh-quality online content is informative, credible, interactive, grammatically correct and highly targeted. It’s also visually appealing because of carefully chosen photos and graphics.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that one good article will often get better rankings from search engines than 10 bad ones.

Writers who know their topic and know how to write well are more likely produce clear, understandable copy that appeals to readers.

Such content will increase the engagement of visitors in the form of time on page, repeat visitors and sharing via email or social media.

Search engines will respond positively. A positive search engine response is free marketing that doesn’t require any cash.

Content Quantity

Content quantity for a website includes the length of well-written articles, the total number of articles and the total number of photos, graphics and videos.

It’s possible for a website with just one outstanding article to attract a strong audience to that article. But the more articles the better.

More is better simply because search engines will have more articles to index and more visitors to send to the site. More also is better because of the potential for more social media postings and followers who will keep coming back to the site.

In addition, more articles means that visitors will stay longer, click more and engage more with the site.

Once again, site development brings with it a natural, built-in marketing benefit.

Site Design

Web designA fast, attractive and easy to navigate site will impact several important metrics. They include time on site, time on page, pages per visit, repeat visitors and social media shares.

Speed is more important than attractiveness and slightly more than navigation. Search engines monitor speed and give higher rankings to fast sites.

Sites are usually faster if they have optimized graphics, lean scripts and enough hosting account capacity to handle spikes in traffic.

Attractiveness matters less because there is only so much a publisher can do with fonts, colors and graphics. Anyone who works online is more likely to hear complaints about speed and navigation than about attractiveness.

Research has found that navigation — “I can’t find what I want” — along with speed are the two biggest complaints about websites.

Good navigation impacts the same metrics as speed. They are time on site, time on page, pages per visit and return visits and social media shares.

Putting Them Together

Content, site speed and site navigation are essential factors in website development. They in turn increase the effectiveness of online marketing.

Analytic software will measure the results and reveal quite a bit about whether site development is successful enough to spend money on marketing campaigns.

Publishers and small business owners who invest time and money into these factors will have broader reach with their audience, a favorable brand image and a higher return on investment.

Strong site development is the foundation of successful online marketing.

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