Over the last 20 years I’ve had the privilege to be involved in the builds of thousands of websites for a wide range of clients. Website design has changed a lot since we started building sites, but the list below has stood the test of time. If you want to build a great website here are 5 things you need to do on your site to succeed:
- A Visually Appealing Design – It’s estimated that visitors decide with in milliseconds whether they will stay at your website our bounce back to the search results. If your website doesn’t look organized and appealing to the end user, they won’t stick around to engage no matter how good your content is. We highly recommend you consider a custom web design that has been developed by a professional UX designer. Choosing a template and trying to fit your content into a pre-determined design won’t allow you to showcase your site in it’s best light and get user to engage like a custom design will.
- Easy to use navigation – Your site navigation should be well thought out and easy for end users to find what they need. Navigation not only helps the user understand your product or service offerings and better navigate your site, but good navigation is also critical to Google in order to get all your content indexed
- Great Pictures – Most users can instantly tell the difference between stock art and custom photography. I would strongly encourage you to take some high-quality photos of your products, service, and people for use on your website. Don’t use stock art. When scheduling a photo shoot think about the pages on your website and develop a punch list of photos to shoot with each page in mind. For example, your about us page should feature pictures of your physical location and some of the people that work for you. People want to know you’re a real company and pictures of your business are often some of the most engaged images on a site. We typically see visitors finding the product they want and then visiting the about us page to see who the people are behind the product or service. Take good pictures for every page on your website.
- Write great content – A picture may be worth 1,000 words as the old saying goes but search engines need good copy to really understand what your site is about. Simply put, Google won’t rank your site very high if you don’t have good copy explaining who you are and what you do. Consider hiring a professional copywriter to ensure your content is easy to ready and descriptive. We recommend each page have a minimum of 600 words per page.
- Calls to action – Every page on your website should have a good call to action. When you get a visitor to this page, what do you want them to do next? For example, on a product page, your call to action might be “Add to shopping Cart” or “Request a quote”. On an informational page like a blog post you may want to add a button that links them to a transactional page like a product page in a shopping cart. Put yourself in the minds of a website visitor and think about where you want that visitor to go next after visiting each specific page on your website.
- Don’t use your best friend’s nephew to design your site – Although it may be tempting to cut a few corners to save some money, especially when starting out, don’t do it. Look for an experienced and reputable web designer that has redundancy at their organization. Over the years we’ve heard so many horror stories about one-man designers going MIA and companies having to start over with their websites. Look for a company with multiple contacts and years of experience. Your website is the first impression of your business to most new customers. You might have an awesome physical location but if your website is bad, you will most likely never get the chance to get that prospect into your store or physical location.