What qualities does a really great, effective website actually need?

There are basic qualities every great website needs, and you should be aware of these so that your equine website transforms from a good website, into a REALLY GREAT website!

Yes, there are websites.

And there are great websites.

There’s a difference.

But what does a website need to become an effective website?

If you’re scratching your head and mumbling, “a website’s a website…they all work the same way…” then turn off your phone, check the stable doors are locked, and settle down with a drink of your choice, because – NEWSFLASH! – not all websites are equal!

This blog’s going to run through the 9 basic of basic qualities that every high-converting, low-bouncing website absolutely needs.

And if I lost you at high-converting and low-bouncing, then, great! You’re going to learn something.

Not sure if your equestrian business actually NEEDS a website?

Before we go any further, find out why yes, yes it SO does, here in my blog on reasons why your equine business absolutely needs a website.

Ok, awesome; we can start.

1. The loading speed of a Thoroughbred

Like horses, a fast website is the best.

You may not like fast horses, but I know you like fast websites even if you don’t know you do. Ok, before I get even more tongue-tied, I’ll put it simply.

If you want a good and effective website for your equestrian business, you need to make sure your website loads on a screen fast.

Ain’t nobody got time to be sitting twiddling our thumbs waiting for a web page to appear, so if your website is slower than a fat, old cob (sorry fat, old cobs) then you’ll be losing customers and even worse, Google will start hating on you.

You know what that means…upset Mr G and you won’t show up in online searches!

Whaaaat! That’s right, so if you want to get onto the hallowed page 1 of search engines, you better get your website loading speed as speedy as a racehorse.

  • For every 1-second delay in loading, there’s a 7% reduction in your website’s conversion rate

  • 74% of users will leave a website if it doesn’t load on their smartphone after 5 seconds

  • 52% of online shoppers confessed that a quick page load is important to their site loyalty

2. An impressive first impression

We’re all guilty of it; judge a book by its cover, cast assumptions, indulge in stereotypical behaviour.

Whether you like it or not, your website will be judged, probably in the first few seconds of someone landing on it.

And I don’t mean they’ll be critiquing your choice of colours, or assessing your font decisions, or evaluating your words and pictures.

They’ll be doing all three; they’ll just be bundling it into one big question – “is this business for me?”

And if everything together doesn’t form a pretty picture, their answer will be no and they’ll reverse straight back out your website as rapidly as only a spooked horse can.

Your colours and fonts need to be cohesive, complementary, and on-brand.

Your images need to be glossy, appealing and attractive.

And your words. Well! These need to be exemplary! Perfect! Impeccable! But above all; relevant, clear, and compelling.

Not just the words you use, but your own unique message. Are you the one to help your viewer?

They’ll decide in a few seconds so you better be ready.

  • 0.05 seconds is all it takes for your reader to form a first impression of your website, and subsequently, your business

3. An easy user experience

Hand-in-hand with first impressions comes user experience.

You may have heard it referred to as the UX of a website.

It’s basically how someone feels when they’re using your website and what they experience as they navigate through your pages to find what they want.

As you can imagine, if they feel confused, bewildered or overwhelmed, they’re not going to hang around, nor come back.

Customer lost. Repeat, “Customer lost!” And maybe more customers lost if this non-customer talks. (Sounds mildly threatening but you know what I mean.)

It’s vitally important that your website has a clear customer path, a simple navigation menu, and answers to the questions your readers may have.

A navigation menu should be simple and intuitive. To use a cliché; call a spade a spade.

Huh? I’m not selling spades!

What I mean is call the Blog tab, ‘Blog”. Not ‘words I write’ or ‘musings’.

Call a Testimonial tab, ‘Testimonials’. Not ‘happy days’ or ‘look at me’.

Your readers know what Blog and Testimonials pages are and they’ll be looking for them. Don’t confuse them with funky-sounding tab names. Keep it simple and use one-word phrases where you can.

Same with ‘About’, ‘Contact’, ‘Services’, ‘Products’, Portfolio’. These are all necessary tabs to have on your navigation menu but don’t be tempted to make them sound interesting or fun!

If we make our customers think – they’ll go elsewhere. None of us like to use our old grey matter more than necessary!

Make it quick, easy, and simple to answer their question. Give them exactly what they came for in the least amount of time, with the least number of clicks, using the least amount of brainpower.

  • 89% of consumers shop with a competitor after a poor website user experience

  • 38% of people will bounce straight off from a website with poor design or confusing content

4. Strong call to actions (CTAs)

Your call-to-action button’s job is to provide a signpost and clear instructions of what you want your audience to do/go next.

You may think your website makes it obvious how to work with you, how to buy your product, or sign up for your service.

But to your readers who could be seeing your site for the very first time, it might be as clear as mud.

Tell them where to go; don’t make them guess.

Want a sale? Tell them to click the big BUY NOW button.

Want them to schedule a call with you? Tell them to BOOK NOW.

Your website is YOUR real estate and it’s up to you to guide a visitor to the end result as quickly, simply, and as seamlessly as you can.

Have a clear CTA on each section of your site, and make it a big, sticky-out, contrasting button just begging to be clicked.

Use simple language such as BUY NOW, LEARN MORE, BOOK A CALL; again, we never want to make our readers think more than is necessary!

5. An amazing About page

You know when you get dumped with that classic line “it’s not you, it’s me”…? (Or maybe you’re the one doing the dumping?)

Anyway, that person obviously has never learnt the art of good copywriting.

It should ALWAYS be about them. Your customer.

Even on your About page.

An About page is the second most-visited page on any website after the homepage.

Yes, it’s THAT important. So, you better make sure the words on it are going to do some converting for you.

Write about your achievements, qualifications and experiences by all means, but in such a way that they resonate with your ideal client. The one you’re trying to woo.

You studied for three years? HOW does that benefit the reader? WHY should they care?

You love horses and knew you wanted to work with them from a young age? WHAT does that do for your reader? HOW is that going to help them?

Turn your About page copy around to focus on your audience and they’ll find you relatable, likeable, and irresistible to work with.

And don’t forget a strong CTA at the end, sending them to your products or services or even your blog.

6. Killer keywords

Do you have any? Are they the best ones for your business? Will you be able to rank on page 1 of Google searches for them?

Often these simple questions require a deep and meaningful process called keyword research.

This is typically when you brainstorm a list of keywords you think your ideal client will use to find you. Then you dig into the difficulties of ranking for these, the cost per click, the number of searches for this phrase, whether your competitors are using the same keywords, what someone might be searching for instead, etc…

And six hours later you come out the other side with the exact same list of words you started with – but at least you’ve validated them, right?!

It’s worth remembering that long-tail keywords (that’s longer keyword phrases, rather than one-word keywords) are easier to rank for and have a higher chance of bringing your ideal client right to your door.

And that’s the whole point of keywords. They need to help you show up in an online search if you’re relevant to the searcher.

If you just rank for a heap of short keyword phrases unrelatable to your ideal client, you’re going to get a lot of not-ideal clients bouncing right back out of your website. This tells Google “this web page is not good” and Google won’t show you in their search results in the future!

Aarrgh, and you thought it was as easy as dotting the word ‘equine’ around your web pages, didn’t you??

  • 69% of online search queries are 4 words or more, so in fact, less key ‘word’ and more key ‘phrase’

Pssst. Did you know there are certain places on your website YOU MUST use your keywords, for them to be effective?

  • H1 header (often your main heading on a webpage, depending on your theme)
  • H2 header
  • Image title tags and alt text
  • The first 100 words of copy on a page
  • The URL of the page
  • Title tags and meta descriptions of individual pages

7. A tick in all SEO boxes

SEO, or search engine optimisation, is a complex beast. There’s no getting away from that fact.

It’s a long game; as someone wise once said “SEO is for life, not just Christmas’.

You can go as deep down the rabbit hole as you want with SEO; learning about keywords and metas and backlinks. Or analytics, core web vitals and schema.

You can get armpit-deep in technical SEO if that’s your jam, but if you just want to tick all the boxes so your cleverly thought-out, beautifully written content gets a chance to see the light of day, you need to nail the basics.

We’ve already covered keywords, but another important component of SEO success are backlinks.

That is, a link to your website from an external web address. But not just any old external website. The higher the domain of the contributing site, the more valuable the backlink.

  • 91% of all pages never get any organic traffic from Google mainly due to them having no backlinks

Also worth a mention here is your use of title tags and meta descriptions. These tell both Google and human beings what your website is about, but in different ways.

Google’s bots will be looking for keywords, so include your main keyword in the title tag. But humans will be soaking up your words, so meta descriptions should read as a 2-line sales pitch. Easy, right?

Remember, fresh, simple, clear copy in blog posts, on social media posts, or in an email can all drive traffic to your website and draw attention to your brand.

And if you also optimise regular blog posts with your targeted keywords and keyword phrases, you’ll benefit from a strong SEO tactic in your marketing strategy.

  • 72% of online marketers describe content creation as their most effective SEO tactic

8. Accurate analytics

You have both Google Search Console and Google Analytics at your disposal, so use them! Regularly check where your traffic is coming from, what’s working and what’s not, and make changes as and when needed.

Getting to grips with even the basics of SEO is so worth it. If you want your business to grow and be successful you need to be up there on page 1 of Google searches. The stats below show why!

  • Google receives 77000 searches per second
  • 0.78% ONLY of Google searchers click on results from the second page

9. Awesome content

Content is King.

We’ve all heard it.

(We’ve also all heard ‘Cash is King’, and if you follow my tips laid out in this blog, you could be raking that in, too.)

But, back to content…

When it comes to creating content for a high-ranking, low-bouncing website, persuasive, simple copy that is written with the user intent in mind is EVERYTHING.

Google can bring visitors to your site. The number of visitors depends on factors we’ve already mentioned in this article, but once they’re there on your website?

It’s all down to your words, your copy, your content. Whatever you like to call it, it’s nearly 100% responsible now for whether they carry on scrolling, clicking, and ultimately converting.

Or whether they bounce right out again like ponies high on Spring grass, damaging your reputation in Google’s eyes and causing a drop in future ranking.

Important? Very.

Easy? Not really.

There’s an art to writing clear, compelling, converting copy for websites. Like riding a horse, it can be learned…but it takes time, practice, and some will still be better at it than others.

If you want to know more or learn how to create amazing copy the easy way, the blog post I wrote on ways to create compelling content for your equine business is for you!!

And not just the content words, but your headings and subheadings are super-important, too. Probably, THE most important copy on your page.

  • 36% of SEO experts think the headline/title tag is the most important SEO element of a web page

Need some more help?

If you find yourself grappling to find the words you know you want to say, or struggling to make them sound attractive, appealing, and above all effective, I can help.

You may want to start by reading through my popular blog 13 odds-on ways to improve your copy for your equine business and having a go at crafting your copy yourself.

Or if you know your strengths and writing great content isn’t one of them, you can get in touch with me <here> and I’d love to help you out!

Have you downloaded my essential guide to improving your website’s performance?

If you want to get a jump on the competition and start increasing leads and boosting sales TODAY from your website alone, this FREE download is just the place to start.

Over to you

Have you ever thought about what makes a great website?

Will you take a good look through yours now?

Have you downloaded my FREE essential guide to improving your website’s performance?

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