7 Things Your Website Needs To Have...From The Start
Having a website in the 21st century is much like having a shop front in the 80s; a good balance of brand identity, a fancy window display and plenty of footfall is key to getting people through the door. The methods however, are very different. The sandwich board employee has been replaced by a business savvy search engine working for all of the businesses on your patch – and you need to engage in some heavy schmoozing to make sure they’re shouting loudest about your business.
Getting traffic to your website is only one of the challenges. Here’s 7 key things your website needs to have from the start if you want to hit the ground running:
1. Branding & Design
With so many templates and themes available for web builds, many sites are just blending into one. Make your website stand out with eye-catching branding and a memorable design. Like many creative processes, there will always be trends in web design and branding, with new possibilities and innovative features being developed every day. Ensure your site uses the best new functions to communicate your message, but don’t include functions just because they are available to you.
2. User Experience
There’s nothing worse than landing on a website, looking for an answer or product and not being able to easily find it. Make sure your structure and navigation is clear and user-friendly, with a bold introduction to your products or services instantly present. Use of white space helps the user to digest the information in manageable chunks, while creative copywriting and striking images complete the experience. Clear call-to-actions will guide the user to your chosen communication method. E-commerce sites should feature easy search and filtering functions, and an optimised route to checkout.
3. Mobile/Tablet Testing
More and more of us are using mobile devices for online search, and combined mobile and tablet visitor figures are now outweighing desktop computers for the majority of industries. If your website isn’t responsive, you really are missing out; Google have split their algorithm so that results for mobile searches are different to desktop searches – based on mobile-friendly scores. Make sure that you’re testing your website on all mobile devices to ensure that it displays and folds as you expect it to and doesn’t have any nasty design surprises.
4. Loading Times
Websites that take ages to load are sooooooooooo annoying, most people will click ‘back’ in their browser and go to the next search result if your website doesn’t load straight away. Image sizes, too many scripts, poorly developed plugins and poor hosting can all cause delays in your loading times. Google frowns on slow load time because its users don’t like it, so it is likely to hurt your search rankings as well as being a huge pain for your users.
5. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Optimise your website for Search Engines by ensuring that you have keyword-rich Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, Image Alt Tags and website copy from the start. Your website will naturally tell your audience what you do, but make sure it includes the exact words or phrases they’re searching for so that Google knows to point them in the direction of your website.
6. Clear Message Delivery
If your online marketing is up to scratch, your website’s home page is your business’ opening pitch. Don’t let it waffle on with pre-amble; make it clear upfront exactly what it is you do and why your business is the best choice. Be aware of using relevant keywords in your copy and make sure your design is clear and easy to follow for your users. Focus the copy more on the benefits you offer to potential customers, rather than yourself.
7. Online Marketing Plan
Having a well-designed, easy to use, responsive website is just the beginning. You need to make sure that you have a strategy in place to get customers to your website. Online marketing is essential to get your website noticed, not just by your customer, but also by search engines, who will be valuable asset in directing customers to your site, and not your competitors’. Whether you choose SEO, pay-per-click advertising or social media marketing, make sure you have your sandwich board out for all to see.
There is a lot to cover when you’re building a website but if you get it right, your website can be a 24hr salesman working hard for your business.
Nu Image specialise in responsive website design in Norfolk and further afield, so if you need any help building, maintaining or marketing your website, give us a call, we’ll be happy to hear from you!