Building a successful website
There’s more to building a successful website than simply throwing a few images and words onto a page with some fancy links and scrolling effects. You need to include a series of features to not only enhance the look, feel and functionality of your site, but also to meet the needs of your business and your clients.
There’s a lot to factor in, and so many roads you can take depending on just how complex you want to go. In this article, we’ll look at some of the essential features that even the most basic websites should be including.
Get the Look!
The visual aspect is possibly the most important. Not in all cases, but in many cases – people absolutely will judge your website by their first impressions of it. So if it looks old, out-dated, terrible colour scheme and low quality images – then you’re not off to a good start.
Using stock photos is ok. It’s better than poor quality images – or no images at all! But using professional photos taken of your business, products and services is going to make an incredible difference for your site. Pictures really do tell a thousand words – so make sure you tell your story well!
It goes without saying, that when we talk about the colours of your website, it needs to be coherent with your branding. Building a successful website is like building a successful branding image – everything needs to look and feel the same. That way, regardless whether someone is looking at your business card, brochures, website, or other marketing material – they know and recognise your branding messages.
A great UX
UX is the fancy acronym for ‘user experience’. There’s a lot of research out there that tells us, when it comes to websites, people are…. Lazy! That’s right. We’re lazy and impatient.
What this means is that you need to make sure you get your message across to your users within about 3 seconds, or they’ll lose interest and go elsewhere. You also need to make sure that they can find what they want within your website, with as few clicks of the mouse as possible.
Creating a great user experience is, essentially, about thinking of the best ways to engage and take action from your users, whilst also ensuring all of the other features in this list are included too!
Getting people to your website is one thing. Getting them to take action is another. Back in the old days – websites were very static and informational. It was assumed that people would search for what they needed, then pick up the phone and call the business to start a transaction or process of service. Not so much the case these days.
Building a successful website is about how well you can encourage users to take action. We do this through something called a ‘Call to Action’, or a CTA. Calls to action is usually the use of words and buttons that tell your prospective client what to do. Because we all know if you don’t ask, you won’t get…
So rather than assuming that someone will read about your service and immediately follow that up with a phone call or enquiry – we need to encourage them to do so. Rather than presenting some information and then leaving them to wonder off to browse a competitors website directly after, keep them engaged by suggesting more relevant content to browse within your own site.
One of the most popular calls to action is the ‘sign up for our newsletter’ one. This is one of our favourites – and we’ll tell you why a little later in this article.
Just like professional images can really make or break your website, so too can poor quality content. If you’re trying to present as a professional business, you need to have your content prepared by a professional copywriter.
A good copywriter will know how to tell your story in a way that will keep your users interested, engaged and taking action on your site. Paying for a professional copywriter will be an investment you won’t regret!
Build trust & rapport
How do you build trust and rapport with someone you’ve never met? Actually, it’s pretty easy with a website. Make sure you include all the information that your clients are likely to want to know to help them understand more about your business. There’s two ways you can get this done.
Include an About Us page on your website. If you want – you can include details about your team – in some businesses this is a great thing to be able to see, with others – even just a general overview will do. Either way, the About Us page is one where people will go to learn about how legitimate you are as a business. How long have you been in business, do you have a vision and a mission, are you a family start-up or a larger company. Tell people your story – it’s your space to shine!
Testimonials are another really important way to build trust and rapport. By using the words of real clients – your prospective clients will be able to get a deeper insight into who you are and how you operate. It’s great that you can stand up and tell the world how great you are – but when your clients do this for you, it holds a much higher value.
It’s always important to future-proof your business and your website. You might not know what you want to do in 5 years, 1 year or even 1 months’ time. But you can still make sure your website is set up for growth and change in the future.
You can do this by using a platform that is robust and flexible. Choose a system that will allow you to add and change functionality. You might not be selling products online today, but you never know what’s around the corner – so the ability to add an e-commerce functionality to your site would be a great future-proof system.
Websites should not make your life harder. Part of building a successful website is about building a website that works for you and your business. Automating processes will reduce the amount of time you need to spend responding or acting on requests of your users. Integrations are a key part of this.
One of the most popular integrations relates to one of the favourite Calls to Action that we mentioned earlier. When you encourage your users to subscribe to your newsletter, you need to have an integration in place to handle their response. What better integration to have than one with an email marketing platform (such as Mailchimp).
This then allows you to capture your users name and email address and automatically add them to an email campaign. When you send out your next newsletter – all your new subscribers will automatically receive your mail!
There are many other integrations you can consider using and they all aim to benefit your clients and your business.
Confidence in building a successful website
The process of piecing all of this together can seem quite daunting. That’s why it’s really a no-brainer… If you need a new website, or you can see that your website is lacking in a few of these areas, then you need to speak with a professional website company.
Building a successful website is easy – when you have the right team by your side!