Website Design Checklist – How to Create a Successful Website
A good website can often be the deciding factor on whether your business is going to make or break it. But what makes a good website? A good website contains exceptional content that is updated frequently, is user-friendly and easily converts visitors into customers. Many businesses, however, find it difficult to build and properly run a good website. This is due to the fact that most people do not have the necessary knowledge.
Here are some tips that you can apply to your website to make it work for you, with results.
- Make your website your sales pitch
A good website contains all the information that a potential client is looking for. You should try and conceive any potential question that is normally running through a client’s mind when they go to your website. Obviously, it’s not by chance that they found themselves there. Whichever your area of expertise, try and cover the entire scope in a general sense. This will entice the person to want to know more. Just make sure that your competition does not fulfill your potential clients’ desires before you do, because chances are, the client will go through a couple of websites before narrowing down on one. The one that has the most useful information will bag the client.
- Employ excellent copywriting skills
Copywriting is how you put your content down on paper. You might have the best content in the world, but a shoddy job when putting pen to paper will simply be dismissed. Being as succinct as you can is the basis of copywriting. Fewer words with a powerful impact is what you should look for. Your mastery of the language should also be above par. Actually, reports indicate that simple things such as spelling mistakes could be the determining factor on whether a client will sign up with you or not. This is obvious; if you are not meticulous about the grammar you are using, you won’t be taken seriously in business. That is how the majority of clients perceive it. If you do not have these skills; you can outsource them.
- Your website should be optimized
The greatest content in the world won’t mean anything if it can’t be found. Optimization, as used in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is the process of tweaking keywords in your content so that your website ranks higher in the search engine. It involves doing a research of words that are frequently used while looking for a particular subject; use Google Adwords for this step. Once you have established these keywords, find a way of incorporating them into your website so that your website is easily found. Research shows that most people do not go past the first page when looking for information, so you definitely want your website appearing in these first pages. Now, you have to employ caution when you deploy these keywords in your website. Over-use might lead to fines from Google. You should also employ the use of links, so find a way of leaving links to your site in high-ranking websites. People that go through these websites will naturally follow these links which will lead them to your website.
- Update your content regularly
Search engines normally rank websites with the latest content. People are also more likely to click onto websites with fresh content. You can do this by adding a blog to your website. When you regularly write on your blog, ensure it is interesting content. This will not only increase the amount of traffic to your website, it will also build your reputation. If you do not have the time for this, outsourcing is definitely an option.
- Make your website user-friendly
Poor structuring of content and outdated web designs will chase away potential clients. Your website should also be a platform to showcase your web designing skills. It also needs to be simple and practical, and users should be able to navigate it with ease. If possible, make it as simple as you can. Also, avoid the use of complicated language that sounds too corporate, it might make people feel that they are in the wrong place. Remember, the highest traffic comes from your everyday person; understated is the way to go.
- Make it compatible with mobile browsers
The most recent research indicates that the far majority of people accessing the internet do it using their mobile devices. You should have your website designed such that it is responsive to mobile browsers. How it works is that once the website senses the screen resolution, it optimizes itself to fit onto that screen. Using the necessary coding, you can get your website to have these capabilities. After all, your competition may be using it already.
- Integrate Social Media functions
There is no debate that social media has the capability to take your business to another level if used properly; incorporate social sharing functions to your website. If you regularly post interesting content on your site, users are likely to want to share it to their social media platforms. This will not only get you increased traffic, but it will also raise your rankings in the search engine. The benefits you stand to reap from this are limitless. You also need to make these features easy to use.
- Initiate personal contact
Your website may be great, but at the end of the day, you want to deal with your clients personally. This step, however, needs to be approached with caution. Just leaving your phone number will not suffice. Remember, you are dealing with a wide demography. And with that comes different attitudes and personalities. The millennials, for instance, are more likely to want to contact you through social media; leave links to your profiles there. Older generations may prefer a more direct approach; so leave your contact details. Make it easy for users to get in touch with you.
- Broadcast clear calls to action
What will be the purpose of your business site if you do not have a clear message? It is important to engage your readers with this message. It might be a simple thing, such as asking them to download a paper or to leave their email. Some kind of investment from the user is critical because they will feel like they are already part of your cause, and this is good for you. All throughout the site, there should be clear but subtle calls to action.
Now that we have seen what makes a good website, how about we look at some of the mistakes that you should avoid when designing your site.
- Deactivating the previous button.
Using these buttons to your advantage is tempting. This is because some developers designed it so that when a user pressed the back button, nothing happened, or they were redirected to an affiliate website (that they did not want to go to in the first place). This is very annoying to users and you might lose traffic quickly if word gets around.
- Using several windows to display content.
There was a time when designers thought it was cool to have several windows pop up as a user went through the site. Well it's not cool anymore. Not only does it make the system slow, it can be irritating for some users. Keep your website simple, and if you have multiple frames with different content that you feel the user should view, provide links to these pages along the way.
- Failing to make your contact information easy to access.
Your contact information gives authenticity to your site. It lets people know that they are not dealing with a robot. The easiest way to do this is to have a contact link that directs users to the page that contains complete information on your contact details. Subtly leave this link on all of your pages.
- Links that do not work.
Few things infuriate a user more than a broken link; links that give the “404” error when clicked. This will seriously damage your credibility and you might lose a potential client. Service your site regularly to check for bad links.
- Sites that load slowly.
Any professional business website needs to be fast and efficient. Typically, an average user will spend only five seconds waiting for the site to load, any longer than that and they will leave the page. Do not compact your site with multiple add-ons as these will make the website slow to load.
- Archaic information.
You have to keep the information on your website fresh, so update frequently. Not only will archaic information harm your search engine rankings, but it will also tarnish your credibility. Keep your content fresh and most importantly, accurate.
- Sites that are hard to navigate.
You want your user to be able to access information within the shortest time possible. Unfortunately, there are many sites out there that can be a real headache to navigate. Assist your user by having a navigation bar at the top or sides of the page.
- Using a lot of fonts and colors.
Remember, you are using this site as a platform to market and run your business, so keep it professional. Too many amateur site builders get caught up with the amount of font styles and colors at their disposal; they want them all. It always ends up looking bad. Try and give your site a solid look.
Your website represents you and your brand on the internet. It offers potential clients a first impression of yourself before they meet you. A professionally designed website will tend to attract more traffic than a poorly designed one. It needs to communicate professionalism and trust. Your website also needs to be enticing and at the same time, convincing to potential clients. Avoid long paragraphs, complex jargon and long explanations. Keep it short and sweet. Focus on the products that you are offering and steer clear of anything that does not add value to your site.
There are numerous options to choose from when building a quality website. But ultimately, a properly designed website with all the aforementioned characteristics should be just what you need to turn your visitors into customers.