Being married to a professional web designer has definitely taught me a lot about web design. The more I watch and observe my husband as he creates really fantastic websites for his clients, the more I learn.
One thing I’ve learned so far is that just having a website isn’t enough. Your website should reflect your company’s image as accurately as possible, and be a true representation of what you’re all about.
As they say, image is everything, and your website represents your company’s image online. This is a place where you can’t afford to take short cuts or be cheap, because it really shows. That being said…
What is the difference between an “okay” website, that you visit and immediately want to leave, and one that is “exceptional”, and makes you want to hang out for a while?
Here are my Top 10 Ways To Make Your Website A Hero:
1. High Quality Images. Most people nowadays own a digital camera (no, the camera on your phone does not count in this case), so it should be fairly easy to take some very clean digital images to be used for your website. When in doubt, you can always edit the pictures in a program like Photoshop, to make them extra special. You also have the option of buying royalty-free images online, or, if you have the budget, hiring a professional photographer to do the work for you. Whichever option you choose, just make sure all of the images on your website are high quality, clean images.
2. A Clean Layout. Less is usually more when it comes to websites. So although there are a million different elements that you can have on your website, your best bet is to keep it fairly simple. Too many crazy colors, designs, or too much text, will only confuse your potential customers, and make them want to leave your site. Keep the top three to five things you want your customer to focus on as the highlight, and then sprinkle all of your other info very lightly throughout your web pages.
3. Easy Navigation. To piggy back a little on point number two above, you should have the most important information on your website at or near the top of the pages. People shouldn’t have to search too hard for the obvious things that they are visiting your site for. Make it easy for them.
4. Google Analytics. This is, hands down, the best tool to track your website stats. Find out how many people are visiting your website, how they got there (search engine, Facebook, direct link, etc.), where they live, how long they stayed on your site, your most popular pages, and so much more! Google Analytics is an absolute must for every website.
5. Video. If you follow me or this blog, then you already know that I’m a huge advocate of using online video marketing to grow your business. But, more importantly, it has been proven that people respond better and are more compelled to take action after watching an online video, than simply reading text about a person, or a business. Personalize your website, and make it stand out with professional videos. If you’re afraid to do this on your own, you can always hire a professional. Otherwise, with a simple Flip video camera, and some easy-to-use video editing software, you can make clean and professional videos for your website. Videos help people to connect to you and your company in a more personal way. They enhance your credibility, and make you stand out from your competitors.
6. Social Media Icons/Links. Social media for businesses has become almost as necessary as food for human beings at this point, so I’m going to assume that you are already active on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, at minimum. The social media icons, which link to your pages, should be one of the first things people see when they visit your website. The goal is to get people to “Like”, Follow, or Subscribe to your social media pages, soon after visiting your website, so make it easy for them. This is the best way to stay connected with your customers, build long-lasting relationships over time, and make it easy for them to refer new customers to you. If you don’t currently have any social media icons/links on your website, it is a telltale sign that your website (and maybe even your company) is not up-to-date and current with today’s market, which is not a good message to send to your potential customers or clients. So, make that change to your website today.
7. A “Join Our Mailing List” form. (This can also be a “Sign Up for our Free Newsletter” form.) Building a list is one of the best ways to keep in direct communication with your most loyal customers, keep them coming back, and keep them updated on what’s happening with your company. There are many different e-mail marketing options out there for you to use, some free, some not. Whatever service you choose, just make sure that you’re using e-mail marketing as part of your company’s marketing strategy, and encourage your website visitors to sign up and join your list, right on your site.
8. Clear, Concise Content. Short and sweet is the way to go. There’s no need to use words that most people will need to look up in the dictionary, within your website content. People like to feel a human connection when they’re reading web content. Touch on your customer’s pain points, and quickly tell them how your company or services will make their business more successful, and their life better, happier, less stressful, and more efficient.
9. Testimonials. These are key to building your credibility, and people like to hear from other people (not just you), about how great you are. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to highlight all the great experiences that your customers have to share.
10. A Compelling “About” Page. Here’s your opportunity to really shine. Talk about your vision, mission, and how you can help your customers in exactly the way that they need. This is a great place to put a video, and/or share a personal story. These are the things that people will remember, and cause them to feel something. People love a good story, and they never forget how you made them feel. So take advantage of this opportunity to really connect with your customers emotionally.
There are many components to a fantastic website, but I think these ten are the most important. Do you have any other points to add to this list?
What are some of the things you expect to see on a company’s website? What are some of your pet peeves on websites that you’ve seen online?
Please leave a comment and share your answer below.
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