In this blog, we wanted to go back to basics. We often talk about creating great websites, but what do you actually need to do to make sure you have one which is worth looking at? Creating a website can be pretty scary thing sometimes.
There is a lot to think about and a lot of people who will have an opinion! Pull up a chair and grab a brew, and let’s go through the common website essentials; what you really need to put your time and effort into.
1. Have a clear purpose
When you start out in business, hopefully you’ll have an idea of what you want to do, be that selling a product or a service. Your website needs to reflect this purpose as clearly as possible on the home page. The home page is usually the first thing a potential customer sees.
If you take a look at our home page, it’s pretty clear on our site that this is what we do. We also do other things other than build, design and maintain websites, but we do not dilute our message of being web developers on our home page.
Of course there are lots of ways of doing this, and you may already be in a market sector which is full of people like you. This is where you really need to think about your USP, your unique selling point.
So ours, here at The Smart Bear; is that we are a really friendly, small team who are also a small business too. We want to make you, our customer feel loved.
Hence the quote ‘ Stop feeling grizzly about your website’. It fits with our brand, and our USP.
We are also all redheads, and can’t cope with the sun; but is that going to make you want to use our services? No we thought not, so it’s not mentioned on the homepage!
2. A call to action
Every site needs a call to action; and without sounding totally rude, you need to make this as obvious as possible. Ideally you want something above the fold line (this is the bit that you can see before you have to employ the services of a mouse)
This means that people see how to get to you what you want them to do quickly. That may be ‘call us’, ‘contact us’ or ‘click here to buy’ etc.
3. Strong visuals
This is really important. Just like we eat with our eyes, we also buy with our eyes. We are very visual.
There is no point in having the best copy in the world on your site, if there is nothing to draw you in. Strong images make a site, bad images can break it (not literally!)
Make sure your images are copyright free too. Lots of people have the urge to Google an image, then use that. Please don’t. That could leave you in serious trouble!
You can use free to use images, but again be wary of these. Particularly if you are in a sector where there are not so many free to use images.
A good example is if you are plumber or builder etc. It is far better to have really great quality images of work you have done, than than stock images which other people may have used. It showcases your work, and gives your site some originality.
4. Easy to find contact information
This also fits in with the call to action, if you want someone to contact you – do you make it easy? Think about how long you’d persevere with trying to find contact info on a site if you couldn’t find it? How many times have you been circling a site trying to find a complaints email for example?
You need to make your contact details prominent on the site.
Buttons with coloured backgrounds that stand out, phone numbers in a different colour in the header – you get the idea.
5. Think about the customer journey
Customers are really savvy now. In this day and age we want to think about buying something, and then have it all bought in less than a couple of minutes. A complicated purchase process will put off a potential customer. They’ll want to do everything in a few clicks.
However, Google also monitors what visitors are doing on your site, you’ll do better in the rankings if Google thinks that your customers are enjoying your site. They’re finding relevant information and, they are hanging around to read it.
If you are selling a service, how about putting articles on your site which would appeal to your customer? What about links out to other pages or items which may complement your service or product?
6. Overall, keep it simple!
There is the temptation to put everything and anything on your site. We know, we’ve been there! But remember, that the best plan it to keep things simple. An easy to find contact number, an easy ordering process, and a pleasing simple lay out will give you an advantage.
A well formatted, easy to read site with the relevant information and a clean layout is just perfect.