So, you’re ready to build your website. Great! No big deal, right? Just use one of those drag- and-drop sites like Wix or SquareSpace, and in an hour or so, you’ll have it made. Pretty pictures, nice text and navigation buttons. Voila!
BUT… a lot of forethought goes into an effective website — “effective” being the operative word here. A successful website requires that you take the time to create some goals and strategies to meet them before diving into the free site-makers, which could lead to some back-tracking and creative pain.
Websites have different goals. What are yours? To sell products (e-commerce)?, be informative (written blogs)?, describe services (consultants)?, gain campaign credibility (run for office)? There are a multitude of others.
Every website speaks to a specific demographic and builds in actions they want their visitors to take. So, when creating your website, your goal is to identify your end-user, clearly articulate your value proposition, appeal to them emotionally, keep them engaged, and lead them to take the next step.
Below, is a list of basic website tenets that will help you create an effective site.
Know Your Audience (Demographic)
Before you choose one photo, font or button, define your target audience first.
Who is your target audience exactly? Think in terms of education, financial status, gender, ethnicity, interests, and religion.
Would you create the same website for people under 20 as you would for people over 60? Of course not! Walk in their shoes if you want effective results.
Make Your Site User-Friendly
What does “user-friendly” really mean? It means that navigating through your website is an easy and pleasant experience for the visitor.
The website should be appealing to your demographic, information should be easy to find, website should be easy to read, navigation should be intuitive and all the pages on the website should load fast.
Don’t bury important information so far into the website that one needs to click many times to get there. Or have to scroll down the page to find the message.
When someone can’t find their way around on your website, they would feel frustrated and abandon your website. And… they don’t come back. So, pay attention to your website’s user-friendliness.
Make Your Website Technically Sound
What the heck does that mean? Technical aspects of a website are generally not obvious to the visitor, but are equally important. Two of the important technical aspects are making your website secure and speeding up the load time of the website.
To protect your website from hackers, make sure that your website has an SSL certificate. If there’s a lock on the left side of the URL of your website, then it means that any communication with the website is secure. Yay! With hackers doing their craft all over the web these days, it is important to make sure that you have this certificate on your website.
Make fast load time a priority when you design your website. It is frustrating to visitors when pages on the website take forever to load. You can actually test this out and find how fast your website loads at Google or at GTmetrix
Quick tip: a score of above 80 is pretty good.
Don’t Skimp on Text
Even though it seems like nobody reads anymore, that is well… just not true. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, but your text needs to get to the point and pack a powerful punch. If you know your target demographic, you already know why they’re there. Point out their “pain” and show them the solution immediately. To convert visitors to customers, speak directly to them and weave your message throughout the site.
Every word — even on buttons — matters. For example, “Join Us” is much more inviting on a button than “Click here.”
Pay Attention to SEO
The primary goal of your website is to attract your target demographic to it. The search engines need to know that your website is worthy of being recommended on page 1 of a search. This is better known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO isn’t just one simple task; it is a combination of activities on-and-off the website that lets search engines know who you are targeting and when to recommend your website. Get in touch with us if you need help in this regard.
Website Errors are Tacky
…and will rob your message of importance and credibility. Make sure all spelling is correct and test all pages to ensure that no visitor lands on a 404 (Page Not Found) page.
If you have a contact form on your website, make sure it works seamlessly, and that when someone fills it out, it arrives promptly in your mailbox. Seriously, perform this test at least once a quarter!
So, you see that there are many aspects to building a website. A good website is more than just pretty pictures and a cool, aesthetic look. We have many years of building websites for small and medium-sized businesses. So please give us a call and let us help you build an amazing, effective website that fits you and one that you’ll be proud of.