Guide to developing a great website

Having a great website is an essential factor for success in today’s competitive business environment, for any business. In a day and age where consumers are increasingly moving online, and regular GDS sales are falling, this is more important than ever for an airline. What are the elements that make a good website, a great one ? Let’s find out.

Design

The design of a good commercial website should be easy to use, visually pleasing and be able to convert clicks into sales.  With consumers increasingly switching into mobiles and tablets for their internet browsing, it is highly important for any commercial website to be either mobile ready – or to sport a responsive design.

What is responsive design? It is a special HTML layout that automatically adjusts to the size of the screen that the user uses (like this website). These designs are common and easy to implement nowadays. You can read more about responsive web design here and here.

However, if your site deems too complex and heavy (as most airline websites are) for a shift to a responsive design – developing an alternative entirely mobile version, and properly redirecting mobile users to that site – may be a safer option.

Whichever option that you may use, it is imperative that your site sports a mobile ready design – not the least of which is because Google now considers mobile-readiness as a factor for its search rankings. While Google has not officially acknowledged that the mobile-readiness factor impacts search rankings for searches made from desktops, it is nevertheless an important factor as today’s consumers most search activity takes place on a mobile device.

Website Copy

The quality of copy-writing plays an important part in a business website because it is your crafting of words that plays a key role in turning visits into sales. Great copy-writing is not about writing lengthy pieces of content that are full with all the greatest words you can think of. In today’s society of a limited attention span that would not work anyway. Instead, it is about writing compelling content with good headlines, that immediately focuses on the benefits to your customer. Like legendary copywriter Joe Sugarman once said ….

Every element of copy has just one purpose — to get the first sentence read.

A few tips for a compelling copy are …

  • Be specific and concise
  • Make a promise
  • Provide a clear call to action

A good resource to learn more about copywriting is The CopyBlogger.

Good SEO

SEO – short for Search Engine Optimization – is a tricky subject, and getting it right takes both dedication and perseverance. Having good SEO helps your site to rank higher in search results for a particular search entry (eg: ‘cheap flights to London’), and is an advantage to increasing your sales. Because of the same reason, SEO has become a lucrative business to some, with many ‘snake-oil’ salesmen present in the arena.

However, unlike in the early times of search engines, today’s search engines are smarter and rank websites based on factors that are more relevant than a set of ‘keywords’. Today’s search rankings are determined on a multitude of factors, which range from the relevancy of your content to a particular search term to the speed of your website. Hence, the foundation of having SEO would be to improve your site content to be as much relevant and helpful as possible for your prospective customers, and to ensure that your website is as functional as possible. The latter would require you to ensure that your website’s code is optimal and loads fast and that it is free of any broken links, or other misleading content.

You can learn more about SEO here.

Functionality

Last but not least for success of your website, is how functional your website is. How easy is it to use when accessed from an iPad? Do you accept all types of popular credit cards? Does the main content slider work in Firefox browser as well as it does on the Chrome browser? How clean and static are my URLs? These questions and more, thorough sessions of testing and continuous maintenance will be crucial to ensure that your website is able to convert as many sales as possible.

But, having a great website does not end there – a dedicated team taking care of all details of your website, and ongoing analysis of your sales and user behaviour will be critical elements of ensuring that it remains the revenue generation machine that you want it to be.

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