A well designed website is your online equivalent to your top-performing salesperson. It influences your customers, and helps them decided if they want to buy from you. To get the most of out of your website, there are 5 fundamental elements to consider.
1. Consistent, Quality Content
The content on your website is a core part of your marketing. It is a reflection of your company, and helps develop trust. First, you need a Clear and Concise Pitch. The average person will spend less than five seconds on your home page unless you draw them in. That’s not a lot of time to grab your visitor’s attention and effectively convey who you are, what you do, and why they should choose to do business with you. Make sure this important information is succinctly worded and prominently placed on your homepage, so that it will catch and keep the visitors attention long enough to demonstrate your value to them.
You need to back this pitch with informative, high-value articles and content that addresses user needs. For example, your About Us page should be where your company differentiates itself from the competition. Focus on what makes you special and unique, or highlight things you do that are of value for your customers, such as including ways that provide excellent customer service. Including a list of staff and bios on this page helps your visitors see them as real people, which humanises your company and makes you more relatable to potential customers.
Then you need to have well-defined calls to action. Your visitors need to know what, exactly, you want them to do. Sometimes it can be tricky to isolate what you want users to do when they come to your website. It may help to make a list of these goals and then create clear statement that will help them move through your sales funnel. Some tried and tested call to actions include placing your phone number in the upper right corner of each page, including your full contact details in your site footer or sidebar, and incorporating buttons next to key sales messages to guide visitors to your website in the right direction.
2. An Attractive Design
Content will keep your visitors on your site, but an attractive design will get them to stick around long enough to read the content. Create a place that is enjoyable to visit, and provides aesthetic and functional value for visitors. Your website design should fit well with your overall branding, whether that is bold and colourful, or slick and corporate. Remember you website is a salesperson, and as a representative of your company, you want it to reflect the best you have to offer.
Colors, layout and design elements such as buttons, graphics and menus will all have an effect on the overall impression a visitor has of your company, and can create a strong and lasting impression of your brand.
Part of good design is an intuitive visitor experience. Your customers’ motivations and needs should always be at the front of your mind when you are thinking about your website. Try to anticipate the questions that they might have and make sure that their answers are easy to find.
That ease of use needs to be present on mobile devices too. Your website needs to look good and work well on all types of screen sizes. The easiest way to do this is to make sure your website has a responsive design, meaning that it will automatically scale or serve a visitor a version that will display optimally on their device.
3. A Secure and Scalable Platform
The framework that your website is built on will impact the way that your staff and customers will interact with it, so it needs to be user friendly and function well for both. Your internal team need to be able to quickly and easily add products, content and other resources as well as implement any changes with minimal hassle and training. Visitors should also enjoy a consistent experience on your website without encountering cumbersome delays, errors or downtime.
Using a well-established content management system (CMS), such as open source systems like Drupal or WordPress is key. It will have a good support network and will be actively maintained and updated by the creators. You need to ensure that long term, your website is able to scale with your evolving business. A good web development company will be able to highlight the pros and cons of different CMSs.
4. A Carefully Laid Out Marketing Plan
Perhaps this should be number one, since you should do it before you start building your site. But the point is, a website is only half of the battle of establishing a great online presence for your business. To ensure success, you need a strong marketing plan. You need to have specific and measurable goals for your site’s performance so that you know what to change as time goes on. Your business is unique, so don’t rely on a template marketing plan. Put some thought into who you audience is, where they can be found online and the types of marketing they will respond well to. Remember, too, that Building your website traffic takes time, and requires commitment to maintenance once live.
Once in place, measure the results of all marketing channels and initiatives carefully and continue to tweak and look for additional opportunities. Not only this, but setting up effective reporting early on will present opportunities to increase the return on investment for your marketing efforts. Whether you use a tool such as Google Analytics or keep a simple tally of daily email enquiries on a whiteboard, the important thing is to keep a record of conversions and use this to compare how different changes to your website or marketing efforts impact the results.
If you’re not sure how to install and set up analytics reporting for your website, your web design company will be able to assist you with setting up Google webmaster and installing the tracking code on your website.
5. A Great Web Design Company
All of these components of a good website take time and expertise to pull together. Chances are, they are not your core strengths. It’s important to bring in a good web design company that can expertly handle every aspect of your website development. Look for a company with a large portfolio of relevant work and a team who are happy to talk to you about your goals and answer any questions you have.
By paying close attention to the 5 fundamentals laid out in this article, you’ll be on your way to have a website that reaches, engages and measures your customers. Websites do take an investment of time and money; however when executed well they passively generate more leads and have a higher ROI than a stellar sales representative.
For an extended guide on the essentials of a successful website design: click here.