Websites are an absolutely essential element of every business in our digital world. Websites allow us to promote our business, our products and services, and allows us to reach a much larger potential audience. With the addition of social media channels as well, that potential audience continues to grow. But there are a few crucial elements to consider when creating your website in order for it to be useful, attractive and ultimately successful for you and your business. Keep reading to find out what those crucial elements are.
It needs to look great
Simply put, your website needs to look great. It needs to match your brand in terms of look and feel but also in representation as well – it wouldn’t make sense to have a bland, corporate style website for a florist’s shop for example! There are many simple yet crucial things that should be included on your website in order to make it look appealing, represent your brand in a positive way, and engage your visitors.
The ‘Hero’ section of your website refers to the header area on the homepage – the first thing that visitors see when they land on your website. This is where you need to hook people in with a beautiful header image or video, powerful text headers and clickable elements, as well as your navigation menu. This is the ‘first impression’ that your website gives, so ensure that it’s a great one!
Imagery provides non-verbal cues about your brand and product offering so it’s vital that your imagery is high quality, beautiful and reflects your brand positively. Using cheesy stock photography or incorrectly sized, low quality images can give a poor impression of your brand. Likewise, using old and out-dated imagery can misinform your customers about what your business is offering.
There are many resources available for sourcing great imagery online, or you can hire a professional photographer to capture original imagery for you. There are many free programs available to resize your images correctly, as well as some more sophisticated paid programs on the market.
Branding includes not just your logo but the colour scheme and fonts that you use as well. The branding elements on your website help to form an overall impression of what your brand means and what it stands for, so keeping things clear and consistent will always work in your favour. Avoid using lots of different fonts and colours that don’t match your logo for example. Furthermore, using fonts that don’t align with your brand identity is also something to avoid.
Most website platforms have ways to change the default fonts and colours so that you can choose something that is more fitting for your business.
It needs to work
It sounds very basic but a website is a complex combination of many elements and it can be easy to overlook mistakes and simple errors that may disrupt the navigation or usability of a website. In the worst case, errors can completely break your website. But don’t stress, there are many simple checks that can be performed to make sure that your visitors are having a great experience using your website.
The navigation of your website refers to the primary navigation menu (often at the top of your website), as well as any secondary menus, internal links, as well as the page hierarchy – or more simply, how you’ve arranged the pages on your website and how people navigate through them.
Simply put, the navigation of your site needs to work without disruption otherwise your visitors won’t be able to find what they’re looking for and will simply leave your site and go elsewhere. Check to make sure that all links on your site work and link through to where they’re supposed to.
You should also give consideration to how you arrange the pages of your website as well – does the page order make sense? What is the hierarchy of the content on your site? I.e. which pages are more important? How you arrange the information on your site will help your visitors to better navigate through it, find the information they’re looking for, and ultimately purchase from or visit your business.
In addition to the links in your navigation, any links within your pages need to work as well. This includes interactive elements such as buttons, banners, or any other clickable content. Check to make sure that the links are correct and interactive elements are performing how they are supposed to. Unsecure links can also impact the security of your site so be sure to check them carefully.
It needs to be actionable
If you’ve successfully managed to bring visitors to your website – congratulations! You’re doing well so far – the next step is to get those visitors to take a desired action on your website. This is why it’s very important to have ‘actionable elements’ on your website that walk your visitors through the steps required to purchase a product, order a service, find your ‘bricks and mortar’ location, or simply get in touch with you.
Calls to Action
A “Call to Action” is simply anything that prompts your visitors to take a desired action – it could be a newsletter sign up form, a clickable banner, a “Buy Now” button, or a humble contact form. It’s one thing to have a website, but having a website that converts visitors into prospective or actual customers is the ultimate goal. Having clear and eye-catching Calls to Action on your site is a great way to achieve this goal.
Using internal links is a great way to direct visitors to other content within your site that they may find useful. If you have a blog post that’s related to a certain topic found elsewhere on your site, linking to that post can help build credibility and a more positive experience for your visitors. It shows that you have thought about their needs and wants and provided additional solutions for them. Internal linking is also a key principle of a good SEO strategy.
Social Media Integration
Another great feature to have on any website is social media integration by including sharing buttons, as well as links to your own social media channels. This helps visitors to not only find your social channels to like, follow or subscribe, but also allows them to share content with their friends and family, thereby increasing the size of your audience and potential customer base.
It needs to be mobile compatible
More than half of global website traffic came from mobile phone users in 2018; a number that is expected to increase sevenfold by 2021. It is this simple fact alone that demands that website owners ensure their website design gives as much weight to mobile compatibility as it does to the desktop layout.
There are several different ways in which web developers achieve this depending on the resources available to them, but simply finding a website design that incorporates mobile compatibility into its framework can be the simplest solution.
Additionally, search engines give more positive rankings to websites that are mobile compatible as it shows that the users experience (UX) has been considered – and according to Google, the users experience is everything.