I loved this post...and I love the term website curb appeal. I have recently updated the look of my site...but I got some great ideas from this great post. I love the part about the website navigation options.
What was hip, tres′ chic and high-tech, even one or two years ago, no longer applies when it come to cutting-edge technology and fashionable blog design. Let's face it, if you want to seriously compete online, you need a savvy looking and robust online presence, which means keeping up with the latest and greatest technology, website design, social media, SEO business blogging and everything else that's happening "right now" within the world wide web.
So, does your website look more like a tired old shack than a spectacular million dollar mansion? Does your homepage have dusty, yellowed, dog eared corners and the reeking aroma of mildew and mothballs? Maybe it's time to give your tired, old website a new do.
How people view your site is paramount to your online marketing and business success and is just as important as search engine placement.
You could have great website rankings and be the "top dog" in the SERPs, but if your site is outdated, stodgy and running the older version of this or that, savvy surfers are not going to spend a whole lot of time on your site.
The average web user will size your website within 30 seconds or less and if it looks antiquated, disjointed or just plain boring, they will head off into the sunset in search of a better one.
Smart Website Navigational Options
Is your website a hodgepodge of this and that page add-ons, after the fact and without rime or reason? Web users want visually engaging websites that don't require a "how to manual" to operate and a big usability turnoff is a poorly designed navigational structure. The bottom line is that if your visitors can't find what they're looking for within "seconds," they ain't gonna stick around very long.
I like to give site visitors multiple navigational options, with the primary navigation or main menu at the top, below the header. I also include a variety of navigational options on the primary side bar, such as a page menu, featured posts, categories, article archives and a weird looking thing called a "tag cloud," which organizes posts according to subject matter.
Tag clouds, if used correctly, make topics of interest easily accessible without having to look through every post, category or article archive. I encourage website owners to create a tag plan from the get go and use "most used tags" to not only build up tag topic authority for SEO, but keep the tag cloud neat and tidy for your visitors. For more info about the how tos of tags, read How to Use Tags for WordPress SEO.
The top portion of your primary sidebar is also a good place for your RSS and Social Media Icons such as Twitter, FaceBook (Linkedin is also popular) so that visitors can easily find them. I love Social Media signature icons and there are numerous freebie websites that offer a variety of cool SM icon families to choose from.
The kinds of use"useless eye candy" I don't like are the widgets and do-dads on a site that take up valuable "website real estate" and that don't convert to dollars. Don't litter your website with cutesy Facebook plugins, iphone applications, blog rolls, useless calculators and call to action buttons that nobody really cares about or uses.
Save that space for website navigational features that take visitors directly to engaging content, property searches, products, services or contact information.
A website is only as good as the amount of leads it generates. So, if your writing good content and getting traffic to your site, but your not converting leads, maybe it's time to reassess your website curb appeal and usability.
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