Your website is one of your business' greatest assets. But in the vastness of the internet, it can seem impossible to stand out from the crowd and make your presence known. Here are our ideas and strategies for maximising your website's potential and using it to enhance your business' performance.

Research- Use it!

It might sound simple but it's so important.  Use your website as if you were a new visitor, ask yourself what you like and what you don't like. Rate the overall experience, was it easy to use, how does it compare to the sites you visit everyday?

Visit your competitors' websites and ask the same questions. Take note of the features that are different to yours, do you like them? How could you make your website stand out from theirs, how could it perform better? You know what makes you different from your competitors, so make sure your website reflects this and feels unique.

The Look and Feel of It

Online, first impressions count. The visual experience of your website is a huge factor in its success, so make sure it's eye catching and slick. It's often very clear to visitors whether a website has been updated for a while so a few simple changes can help you look modern and fresh. Look at what catches your eye first on each page, how could you attract the viewer into the most important areas? Try breaking up big blocks of text so that it's instantly clear where the most important information is. Just a few small tweaks can make a massive difference, like the ones outlined here. Speed is also a big factor in the user-experience. There are plenty of programs and tools out there to help you analyse your speed or compress images, helping you to be more efficient and useful for your visitors. Look out for broken links or errors on the site, there are programs such as Link Checker to help you keep on top of everything. Make sure any errors are rectified quickly, as a broken site is a sure way to drive customers away!

The nitty-gritty-what's on there?

Content is the most important feature of any website, it's why your visitors are there. It needs to be accessible, accurate and interesting

Firstly- Housekeeping. We're talking about things like phone numbers, product information and all other crucial details. They might seem small but all information needs to be up-to-date and relevant as this helps to drive new sales.Always check everything against your privacy policies, terms and conditions. A good idea here is to review the feedback you have received from your website; what did your customers have problems with? Is there any information you could add to eliminate any of your frequently asked questions?

Once your content is as accurate as possible its time to get Creative. Good content can enhance the user-experience of the website, encouraging people to spend more time on it and recommend it.Your website's content needs to give out the right message to your customers.

Think about the language used, is it reflecting your company's tone of voice? Does it fit with the how your target audience would speak and want to be spoken to? Try reading your content aloud and ask yourself what words or phrases stand out. Think about how it could deliver the information faster or with more passion or excitement. It needs to draw your audience in, and keep them there. And of course, make sure there's no spelling or grammar errors, everything about your website needs to be brilliant.

But it's not all about the words. Think about incorporating new content to the website, could a video tell your story better than a page of words? Or could some amazing images make your website really stand out? Content, of all kinds, needs to be updated regularly, so why not try weekly podcasts? Or even video tutorials or interviews with employees? This kind of content can really capture the user's attention. Doing something a bit different could have a big impact on your website's success.

Ranking it Up

Updating your content can really help drive your site up the search engine index but you can maximise your potential by reviewing your Meta data. Make sure you've used your key words and phrases in titles and descriptions and try to use accurate title tags for all possible pages. Using tools like Google Analytics are really useful here, helping you identify keywords and popular search queries.

Spread the Word- Interacting

The best websites, those at the top of the rankings, are the ones which are more than just a website; they're an interactive hub which is part of a network. By making your customer feel as if they are part of something they'll want to come back to your site and share the experience with others.  Your website needs to be responsive to customers. Sending out regular email newsletters or updates can really drive people to the site. Responsive emails are excellent, for example, following up a customer purchase encouraging them to rate or review the product. These create a relationship between you and the customer, making your website more engaging.

Get Social

One of the most important areas for all online businesses right now is social networking. Now that Facebook alone has over 900 million active users, these sites can't be overlooked and they can be a fantastic way of building your online presence. A good Facebook page or Twitter account must feature regular updates and interactions with followers. Share your updates or events, or interesting things that would be relevant to your customers. Competitions on these networks work really well, such as Twitter 'Re-Tweet' contests, essentially rewarding your customers for spreading your message! Identify the social networks that are most relevant to you, and then incorporate their buttons to your webpage. Allowing your visitors to share your content is a fantastic way of increasing your audience and traffic. Furthermore, these sites can offer advertising. For example, Facebook's targeted adverts can help you reach exactly the kind of customer your trying to attract.

In Conclusion- Give your website some love.

There are lots of ways to boost your online presence, but keeping these basic ideas in mind certainly wont do any harm. Above all, focus on the experience of using your website, from start to finish. Make sure you test all changes, get feedback and use tools like Google Analytics to measure the results. Overall, embrace your website and give it some TLC and you'll reap the benefits.