The days where a brand could get along without a website are over. Now everyone uses the internet, everyone is networking, and everyone is connected at all times. You’re reading this article because you understand what people in sales have understood for centuries: If you want to sell something to people, you go to where the people are. These days, people live online.
Designing a website that meets your goals isn’t easy. It’s a process that requires deliberate planning and an intelligent approach to the market you’re going after. To get you started, here are 15 considerations you need to make when you’re bringing your site together.
Who Are You?
For many people, your website will be your public face. This means you should figure out what kind of message about your brand you want to put forth and incorporate that message as often as possible. Are you family friendly? Business-like? What are your values?
This is a great point to mention on the About Us page. Don’t miss any details here, because this is the page you can use to tell your viewers all of these things that you think they should know, and would want to know.
What Is The Site’s Purpose?
Every site design choice that you implement needs to be done with the user in mind. Understand why your site exists, and for whom long before you decide the site’s navigation, or the content you create.
Are you trying to inform? Get new clients? Drive sales for a specific product? This will help you figure out what call to action you want visitors to take as well.
Choosing a Domain
You can have the most revolutionary product in the world, but if your website’s address is a jumbled mess of letters and symbols, people won’t remember it. To stay in people’s minds, you need to have an address that is memorable and simple to enter–the simpler the better. And if the site is for a company or brand, it is better that you put the name of that company or brand somewhere in the address.
Another point to consider is the domain age. If you purchase a domain name that is older, it can often come with major SEO benefits. The fact is that an older domain may have pre-existing traffic, Backlinks, or even Alexa Ranking. Buying an older domain name is a great way to boost your SERP rankings in a short time.
Contact information needs to be available from any page on the site. The information needs to be clear and well-presented. Your NAP Signature stands for Name, Address, and Phone. This information needs to be the same in every location you have it, including: social media, websites, directories, etc. With unified NAP signatures, you will have an easier time showing up in local search queries.
Show Off Your Expertise
You’ll need to show each visitor that you have experience, and that any time or money spent on your site will be worthwhile. If you have happy previous customers or clients, consider adding testimonials. Otherwise, showing examples of your work or products usually is another good way to go.
Blogging is another great way to show off expertise. The premise of content marketing is that your customer will feel confident in buying something that they are educated in. Furthermore, if you are the educator, they will assuredly feel confidence when buying from you.
What’s Above The Fold?
“Above the fold” is an imaginary line that indicates the bottom of a visitor’s screen. The idea is to present your best content without having visitors scroll down, which is something they may only do once they’re interested. Above the fold is your visitors’ first impression. For this reason, your headers should clearly explain what you do and how you do it in a short few sentences. You generally should have a CTA above the fold as well to get the most out of the few seconds visitors spend looking at your site, making their first impression perfect!
Are There Too Many Bells And Whistles?
Do you have a lot of excessive videos, music, flash elements, and other unnecessary media elements? You should consider getting rid of them–especially if they’re on auto play. These kinds of elements are eye-catching and useful in moderation, but in excess they distract visitors from the main message.
Bright colors like the Website above are hard on the eyes and difficult to read. With many beautiful templates and designs available on modern websites, users see poorly designed websites as inferior and untrustworthy. Most of the time, simple, clean professional looks are the best way to go. Black text on white background is also considered the easiest to read.
Is The Site Mobile-Friendly?
In 2014, over a quarter of internet browsing came from a mobile device. If your site is unreadable or otherwise unusable on mobile, you risk losing significant audience, as well as authority signals in the eyes of Google. Consider a redesign, or even purchasing a mobile version of the site.
On April 21st of 2015 Google introduced a new algorithm update that prioritizes mobile sites. Find out your options for creating a mobile-friendly site here.
Are You Getting Analytics?
Analytics is a good way of knowing exactly who, where from and when your traffic is coming. This data is optimal for further strategizing, letting you cater to your most frequent users and attract new ones. Google Analytics is the most popular analytics tool out there, but there are others with different features to suit your site’s specific needs.
Is The Site Secure?
This is especially important if your site handles transactions. Can customers feel safe putting their personal information into your website? You may have the best intentions, but unfortunately identity theft is still a real threat. To combat this, consider an SSL or a BBB certificate.
Client testimonials are also an excellent trust signal. When users view comments from your previous clients, it reassures them that you are a legitimate and operating website/business.
Is The Site SEO-Conscious?
Not every visitor to your site navigated there directly. Ignoring SEO is a good way to lose out on chance visitors that could have converted into potential customers. As new methods and tools for optimization develop yearly, SEO has quickly become an unavoidable part of running a brand’s online presence. Keeping a strong collection of backlinks, using keywords and commonly searched phrases in your content, plus adding and keeping your links active are just a few ways to keep your site search-friendly. With a bit of work, you’ll be welcoming brand new guests in no time.