- Follow site structure best practices, e.g. B. a mobile-friendly, simple navigation and a clear organization with lots of white space.
- Focus on customer-facing content and review it regularly to ensure the information is accurate and error-free.
- Make your website easy for potential customers to find with a custom domain and good search engine optimization (SEO).
- This article is aimed at business owners who want to maximize the effectiveness of their websites to inform and sell to potential buyers online.
Today, an online presence is vital for any business, including brick-and-mortar stores that don’t do e-commerce. With the many website building tools available, creating a website is not particularly difficult. Whatever software you choose, keep these design principles in mind.
1. Make your website mobile responsive.
Mobile responsiveness is critical to the effectiveness of a website. American adults spend more than five hours a day on their cell phones, while more than a third make all of their online purchases on mobile devices. Of course, your company’s mobile website must offer a positive user experience.
When prospects land on your website but have trouble reading or navigating on a mobile device, they may simply leave you and switch to a competitor. Additionally, a negative mobile user experience affects your website in search engine rankings and makes it harder for users to find you via a Google search – which brings us to our next point.
2. Make it easy to find.
You need a domain name that either matches your business name or describes your business in some way. You can even have multiple domains pointing to the website. That means integrating technical SEO best practices, keyword research, content marketing, and paid advertising campaigns to drive traffic to your website.
Consider outsourcing your web development, branding, search engine optimization, and content marketing to professionals who can advise and assist you in creating your website and landing pages.
If your business relies on people being able to contact you or call your sales team, put that information where it’s easy to find.
“Your contact information should be visible, preferably at the top of the home page, so visitors don’t have to search for a phone number or address to contact the company,” said David Brown, CEO of Web.com.
If you use social media to connect with customers, place your social links in the site header or footer where they are easy to find.
4. Make navigation easier.
Dan Veltri, Weebly co-founder and chief product officer, recommends limiting your top-level navigation menu to five clearly labeled tabs and organizing related pages underneath. They should also provide a clear way to return to the home page, regardless of where your readers land. Very often, a Google search takes your reader to a page on your site other than the home page.
People browse websites from top to bottom and from left to right. So place your navigation menu where most people expect it: at the top of the page. Use drop-down menus under each top-level category for clean and organized navigation.
5. Keep your pages uncluttered.
Paul Bolls, associate professor of strategic communications at the Missouri School of Journalism, said readers need to be able to put information into context. When a website contains too much information, it overloads the mind and can no longer store the new information. Make sure you use a good balance of text and graphics to get a clean page.
One way to keep it simple is to use the social widgets, such as B. remove a Twitter feed on your website. Ask yourself whether you’re adding information that will interest your reader, advises Michael LaVista, CEO of Caxy Interactive. If your widget content doesn’t support the purpose of the page, remove it.
6. Make sure it is correct.
It goes without saying that inaccurate information turns consumers off, whether it’s an incorrect number, outdated product information, or simple grammatical errors. In addition to proofreading each page before it goes online, you should also regularly review each page, especially after making updates elsewhere.
As you update core information about your business on your website, be sure to update your social media pages, Google My Business, Yelp, and other websites where your business may appear.
7. Respect the need for speed.
A study by digital marketing company Akamai found that 88.5% of web users will abandon a website if it loads too slowly. Additionally, the time it takes to load a web page influences the purchase decision of nearly 70% of online shoppers.
Make sure your website runs smoothly by keeping software up to date, optimizing videos and images for faster downloads, and using a website host that can handle your bandwidth needs.
8. Call to action.
Every page on your website should entice the reader to take action. In other words, you have to give them a call to action. These landing pages should encourage users to take a specific action, e.g. B. Calling your company, signing up for a service, purchasing a product, downloading a white paper, or doing anything else that will benefit your business goals. Give them a clear call to action: a button, a link, or clear wording. If possible, keep it above the fold so readers don’t have to scroll before finding the call-to-action.
9. Keep your design simple.
Limit the use of fonts, colors, and GIFs, as these can be distracting and distract from the focus of the webpage. Short paragraphs and bullet points also make the information easier to digest and more likely to be read. Ian Lurie, CEO of internet marketing company Portent Inc., recommends keeping paragraphs shorter than six lines.
This is especially important when it comes to mobile responsiveness, which is a major factor in how Google ranks websites in its algorithm. The better a website ranks, the higher up it will appear on the search engine results page (SERP). If a competitor is mobile-friendly and your website isn’t, you may appear lower in your customers’ search results.
10. Get personal.
Just as brick-and-mortar businesses invest heavily in their storefronts to showcase their brand image, e-commerce retailers must create high-quality online experiences that match brand perception, SOASTA co-founder Tom Lounibos told Business Daily News.
That’s why your About Us page shouldn’t be a dry block of text about your business. Emily Brackett, president of design and branding firm Visible Logic, recommends including a good photo of yourself or your team to personalize the experience for your customers.
11. Make sure your website copy is customer-centric.
Potential customers visit your website for information that is useful to them. Sometimes they’re looking for informative content on your blog, sometimes they’re focused on researching the products and services you sell. Either way, you should present relevant information that will engage your prospects, offer them something of value, and build their confidence in your expertise.
When planning the content of your website, try to look at it from the customer’s point of view. What information would be helpful to you if you were a potential customer? What level of knowledge or competence do you already have and what would you need to explain in more detail? By focusing on your content from the customer’s perspective, you can keep them on your site longer and are more likely to build a long-term relationship with them that will result in a sale.
Not a writer? No problem; Just hire a professional copywriter to do it.
12. Integrate SEO best practices.
You may have the best website in your business, but it’s no use to you if people can’t find it. While you can spend money on ads to drive potential customers to your site, in the long run it is more cost-efficient and effective to drive free organic search traffic to your site.
When people look for information online, they turn to search engines, particularly Google. They usually find what they are looking for on the first page of search results, so you want your business to appear there. Google and other search engines have their own proprietary algorithms that they use to rank websites for search terms, also known as keywords.
Search engines use three methods to determine where your listing appears: crawling, indexing, and ranking. Crawling means they find your website through links from other websites. Therefore, make sure that links to your website appear on as many external websites as possible.
After your website is discovered by the crawling bots, it is indexed, which means it is analyzed for content including keywords, freshness, relevance, links, and multimedia. Make sure your site has plenty of fresh, relevant content related to the keywords you want to rank for.
After all, ranking is how the search engines determine the best results for a specific search. The ranking is based on relevance and authority. Include lots of relevant content, such as individual articles on different aspects of a specific topic. Authority is determined by the size of your site, traffic, and the number of links to your site. Small business SEO tools make it easy to optimize your website.
The editorial board of Business News Daily contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.