Everyone knows it's important to have a good website but as things change and develop as quickly as they do, sometimes it can be hard to keep up with the latest trend or to know exactly what you need and why you need it.
1. Responsive Design
You might have heard of the term responsive design before and wondered exactly what it means. The reason why having a responsive website is so important is probably in your pocket. In other words, we live in a world with a number of different screens of all shapes and sizes! We browse on the go with our iPhones, sit back on the couch with our laptops and use desktops at work.
Wherever and whenever people are visiting your website, they need to have a good experience (so they want to come back), regardless of if they're reading your blog on their phone while on the train or sitting down with their iPad at a local cafe.
If a potential customer comes to your website via their phone and they find that the text is too small or struggle to navigate with the menu, chances are they'll end up frustrated. At best they'll try and visit your site on bigger screen and at worst never come back, which is a missed opportunity!
2. Content & Content!
What makes a website interesting? Content! Whether it's text, photos, video or audio, content is key to helping people engage with your brand. Ideally your website should have a variety of different channels, like the types I just mentioned. Google even thinks it's a good idea, so much so that they're now including 'variety of content' as a variable when they rank websites on their search engine.
An easy way to think about it is that different people consume information in different ways, some people are more than happy to read through pages of text, while others would much prefer to watch a video or listen instead.
If you're unsure about whether you need video or not, would you be surprised to know that after Google, YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world. People are searching for video more than ever before and the trend just keeps growing!
3. The Home Page Test
If people don't know who you are or what you do within 3 seconds of visiting your homepage, you've lost potential customers. Great websites are able to tell visitors all that they need to know within a matter of seconds. It's so easy to get caught up in how your website might look, that you end up forgetting why your website exists in the first place.
Your website has a purpose, to inform the world about who you are and what you offer, don't forget that!
Grab some people who aren't familiar with what you do or what your website is about, show them your page for 3 seconds and then ask them what they now know. You might be really surprised by the reactions and comments you get. Just remember, although you might know your website back to front, these people are just as likely to be your customers as anyone else, if they can't tell what you do, chances are other people can't either.
Don't be afraid to take on the feedback, your website will be better because of it!
4. Social Networks
We all know social media is a fantastic tool and can be incredibly powerful to connect fans and potential fans with your brand. Not only are you able to share your brand through your social networks, your fans are able to share your brand through their networks too. While there are a number of different social networks, it's not advised to be present on all of them unless you can fully commit to what's required. In other words, accounts that aren't actively used are worse than not having them at all.
One feature that makes social networks so powerful is their ability to drive traffic to your website. Just like how people engage with different content in different ways, it's easy to think of social networks in the same way, some people might find your Instagram engaging while others might only like your Facebook presence. The important things is being able to connect whatever social media you have with your website. Google recommends to have a number of different links going to and from your site and social media is a great way of doing just that. Why is it recommended by Google? Because the search engine views these in/out links as a way of verifying your authenticity as a brand.
You can image the computers behind Google thinking like this:
Oh! I see this brand has a website! And if I look here I see they have a Facebook page that is connected. And they have a Twitter account too. This must be legitimate. I'm going to improve its presence in my search engine as I think people will prefer this over similar pages without these connections.
Every online presence you have is a point of engagement with your audiences, connecting all these different presences provides your audience with opportunities to engage with your brand in other ways.
5. Landing Pages
So what's the difference between a landing page and a regular page? In many ways, a landing page is simply the page that a visitor arrives on after clicking on a link. This might be your homepage, maybe your store or even your blog.
Where landing pages get really interesting is when we design them with a particular purpose. On any given page there can be a number of different and competing elements, all vying for our attention. Designed landing pages allow us to strip back the distractions and give users one thing to do. This one thing could be anything, maybe you want people to sign up to your newsletter, watch a video or purchase tickets for your latest event. By giving your audience a clear action to take, we find that they take that action more often than otherwise. The more steps users have to take to complete a task, the less likely they are to complete it.
Think about it like this, no one wants to get lost on a website trying to find something, I've been in that position all too many times and it becomes frustrating. Just send people exactly where they want to be in the first place and guide them through the process.
You've read the tips. So what do you do now?
If you've covered all the tips, hi-five! You're doing great!
If you've still got a few to work on, why not contact us and see how we can help you!