10 things to include on your site to succeed

Search engine optimisation is all about maximising the impact of your website in the search results and thereby bringing more visitors to your website and turning them into customers. There are many elements involved in SEO, but, despite what many people would have you believe, it's not all mumbo jumbo and black magic.
The following is a list of 10 things you should/could include on your website to help you along the path to success. Of course we aren't giving away any SEO secrets here and this isn't a definitive list, but it might give you some ideas.

Social Sharing Buttons

Social media is the big thing right now. Facebook and Twitter have a user-base reaching into the millions. Getting your business on Facebook and Twitter is a good way to interact with customers and expand your business reach, but even before that you can think about including social sharing buttons on your website. 
Tweet, Like, +1, Pin It buttons, they're all a common sight now. And for good reason. Social sharing buttons are a great way to encourage users to share your products and services naturally. You're not forcing them to do so, you're not ramming your propaganda down their throats - you're just giving them the option. It's surprising how many people will actively share, like, tweet and socially interact with a product or service that they love. Whether it's to bookmark it for future reference or share it with friends. 
And the good news is that social is fantastic for SEO.

Reviews and Comments

Many businesses find it daunting. Just the mere thought of adding a comments or rate and review system makes them panic, instantly thinking that customers will leave bad reviews and negative comments all over their website. But the majority of good comments systems offer some form of moderation and never display a comment until you've seen and approved it. 
Reviews are excellent for SEO, with a little microdata and rich snippets coding they can be displayed in the search engine results and instantly make links more appealing. 
Reviews and comments are also referred to as 'user-generated content' and that too is fantastic for SEO. Content is King after all, so having more content on your page(s) is always preferable as it keeps the search engine spiders coming back and shows that users are interacting with your pages. If customers leave a detailed review that's positive then it helps you further by producing detailed, unique copy for your website. 
It goes without saying that people are also more likely to buy a product that's been rated and approved by previous customers. So there's that benefit as well.

Video

We've discussed before why video is fantastic for SEO, so head over there and see why you need video to improve click through rates, reduce product returns and improve conversion rates. Video is great. Be sure to include it on your website.

Simple Call to Action

It might well be an obvious point, but it's important to mention because a lot of people forget. It's essential to include a call to action on your website, in your adverts, e-shots and every other marketing aspect of your business. People need to be told what to do. Namely, to buy your product. Though obviously you have to give them a reason to do so in the first place.

A Good Shopping Cart System

All the SEO and rankings in the world won't do you any favours if you have a poor e-commerce system when people arrive at your website. A bad system that is obviously insecure, often results in errors or is overly complicated will put customers off and result in them looking elsewhere to make their purchases. 
It's important to make sure things work well, with regular testing (especially after updates) to ensure the site remains unbroken and user-friendly.

Phone Tracking and Contact Info

Many people browse online, but not all will buy online. It's essential to include contact information on your website and make it easy to see, especially if you are happy to take orders over the phone. Having a number set up specifically for the website will help you to monitor how many of the sales calls you receive are thanks to the website, but unless you ask your customers you won't know how they got there. 
A simple phone tracking system will help you work out exactly how customers came to your site before making a call, down to the keyword they used in the search engine. This can be extremely useful in terms of optimising your online marketing and targeting it to the right people, from the right areas, using the right search terms.

Simple Navigation

This is even more important in the age where mobile and tablet based web browsing is becoming the norm. Simple navigation makes it easier for mobile users to find their way around your site and find what they are looking for. This can be as simple as big buttons that they can't miss with their fingertips or just logical navigation and search functionality that make their life simpler.
Obviously we'd recommend a mobile website design, but it's important to give thought to your navigation even if you just plan to target desktop users as complicated navigation can get users lost and turn potential customers into grumpy ones.

Ecommerce Tracking

If you're selling products online it makes sense to include tracking (usually through Google Analytics) to monitor how people interact with your site. This will allow you to monitor buying trends, seasonal trends and conversion rates - tailoring your business according to the market and maximising your return on investment. Without it, you're more likely to be fumbling around in the dark.

Optimised Images

Getting images right is key. Buying online there is no way a customer can examine your products close up, so having product images is an important part of selling online, but it is important to get the balance right. 
If the site isn't coded correctly then large (high resolution) images will be loaded each time a user visits the page. This could slow down the site loading times and have a knock-on negative effect on your search engine ranking positions. But having no high-res image could result in less sales as customers can't see what they are buying, so thumbnails and the option to open the larger version is always preferable. Multiple images will also make a product more appealing and thus, more likely to be purchased.

Google Product Feed

Large e-commerce websites can greatly benefit from using a Google Product Feed. This results in your products appearing in Google's 'shopping' search results and also within the main results themselves. 
product review microdata in search results
These results are instantly more appealing and if you're competitive on price and make use of reviews then you are far more likely to receive a click through to your site and a purchase. 
These are just 10 things you can do to improve your website and the success of your business online. We have plenty more ideas waiting to unlock your online potential, so why not get in touch?