Having your own website is one of the best ways to reach out to new customers and have all company information in one place for people to find. But, what makes a good website? If it’s not clear for your customers or doesn’t provide a good purpose, it makes it less appealing for potential clients and means they are less likely to use it.
Before we go into more depth, there are 4 very important things that you should consider when you’re building your website or re-designing it. If you follow these 4 points, we think you’re halfway towards having a great website…
- A clear purpose. It’s important that you know what you want to achieve with your website. Whilst some individuals like to have a website just to increase the awareness of their business, others like to use them for more direct approaches like selling their products or gaining enquiries. The complexity of your website depends on what you would like it’s purpose to be.
- Up-to-date and relevant content. Incorrect or out-of-date information won’t be helpful to your customers. Whether you’re building your first website or having a refresh, it’s essential that you take a look through your content to ensure it all still makes sense. There can be many changes to a business over just a couple of months, so make sure this is reflected on your website.
- Easy on the eye. Your site’s appearance really have an impact on the number of enquiries you get from it. If the design hasn’t been updated in a few years, it might be a good time to take a deeper look into it.
- Easy to navigate. All of the above is extremely important, but you need to a clear site map to enable customers to find your information easily. The most common way of getting around your website will be its main menu. This should be clear and easy to find and use.
If you’re confident that you have completed the points we have discussed, you have made perfect start to making a great website. To make sure your website is the best that it can be, we’re going to discuss the aspects that you may need to touch up on to improve the appearance and functionality of your website.
1. Improving the appearance of your website
The appearance of your website is one of the most important aspects as this is what your customers will see and experience first. If you were clicking onto a website, you would much rather see one that’s all laid out neatly with clear labelling and pricing rather than jumbled up and difficult to look at.
When your site looks smart, your customers are more likely to trust it, especially if it requires you to add personal information into it like an address or bank details. Even if it’s just a website to showcase what services you offer, it’s important to try and do that in the best way.
Your website should revolve around one big thing – your brand. If it doesn’t look like it belongs to you, your customers may question whether they’re in the right place. This can result in lost customers.
Designing your website around your brand
Part of your brand is the appearance of your business. It’s what people see when they search you up online or come into your store. It’s essential that it all fits together. Consistency is key – not only will it help customers recognise you, it will look smarter.
Your website is no exception. Everything from the typefaces to the colours you use can affect what potential customers think about you. Businesses normally build their website from a logo. If you don’t have one of these, it’s a great starting point to gage which colours you will use and what fonts you like. You should have a colour palette of around 3 colours. Once you have these, you should continue to use them across everything you create – including your website.
By choosing three bright and bold colours, it can look excessive. When using your brand colours on your website, try and only use them lightly in sections like headers, footers, icons and image overlays.
Colours aren’t the only aspect that you should be consistent with. The font that you use in your logo should also be used throughout the website. You may choose to use a more simple typeface for your body text to ensure it’s easy to read.
Use high-quality and relevant images
If you have worked hard on getting your design, colours and typefaces just right – you should avoid blurry or pixelated images too. Images are a great visual way of showing your customers what you do. By providing imagery that fits with your content, your customers should have a much easier time understanding your business.
Great, high-quality images add a lot of value to your website and brand. This is especially important if your site is an ecommerce website. An ecommerce website is an online shop used to sell a businesses’ products. If you’re selling an item, a clear image will make this much easier. More than one may also be required – giving a full look of a product will make your customer feel like they have it in their hands.
If you’re not an ecommerce company, clean images across your website is still crucial. Take a look through your website to identify whether your imagery promotes your services. It’s great opportunity to take some new photos of your team in action and update your site.
A website isn’t just about how it looks, it’s also about how it functions once you are on it. Let’s discuss the technical side.
2. The technical points.
There’s a lot to do on the front end of a website to make it look attractive to your customers. But, there’s even more to do behind the scenes to ensure it functions properly. These tasks include:
- Quick loading time
- Site Security
- Mobile friendliness
Quick loading time
Around 79% of shoppers have said that if they have trouble with the loading time on a website, they won’t return. If you’re unsure whether your site is slow or not, you can use Google’s page speed test. You simply need to enter your website URL to see your speed score. If you’re in the red, you need to make urgent changes so that customers can access your site easier.
The tool will also tell you what you can do to make your site faster. This could be scaling large images down or adding a plugin that caches your website faster to prevent data build up.
Making your site secure
When you go onto a website, you may notice a small green lock appear in the search bar. This means that the site you are on is secure – it is called SSL Encryption. SSL is especially important if you require customers to enter their details into your website. This can include anything from an email addresses to their bank details for e-commerce websites. A secure website will tell your customers that their information is safe and protected.
It’s very unlikely that all of your customers will use your website on a desktop. Therefore, whilst it looks great on a computer, it should also look like this if you’re on a tablet or phone too. The term is referred to as ‘mobile’ friendly but doesn’t just apply to mobiles. We now have a range of devices like tablets, small and large phones, and a range of laptop/desktop sizes. Whoever is viewing your website, it’s important that they experience the same as all of your other customers.
When your website is developed by a web-designer, they will ensure that your website is easy to use across all devices. However, if you have chosen to design your website on your own, you will need to do these checks yourself.
Another helpful tool that Google offers is the mobile-friendly test tool. This will tell you whether they consider it as a responsive design. We recommend that you also still do your own checks.
An unresponsive design can cause loss of content. If you cannot see everything on your mobile that you would usually see on a desktop, it’s best to make changes your template so that it will work across all devices.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Having a website won’t mean you’ll immediately be found by all of your potential customers. To increase your website visibility to new customers, you’ll need to do something called Search Engine Optimisation.
SEO is when you optimise your website by using target keywords that potential customers would search to find you. It’s best that you choose keywords that match the services you offer. You will then need to use these keyword across your website in your body text, headings, image descriptions, meta information and more. But this is not all you need to do to get your website to rank. There are at least 5 other headline things that need to be in line for your website to rank well. You can find out how your website can be optimised to its full potential by speaking to an SEO specialist.
By completing these things, you can create a website that is visually attractive, easy to use and safe to enter personal details into (if needed). Think of your website as your business card. When previous or potential customers think of using your business, that’s the first thing they will go to.
You shouldn’t just stop after you make these changes. It’s important that your website is kept up to date. A good idea is to set yourself a reminder for every 3-6 months to go onto your website and review your content and images. In this time, you may have had team members leave or your content might need a refresh.
If you require a new website or need help with your existing one, we can help. Some of the above recommendations can sound a little bit daunting, but we will do our best to resolve issues that you have with your website or create a new and fresh one.