Over time, as other digital avenues like social media, mobile, and apps have increased in popularity, website traffic and market share have decreased. We are here to remind you however, your website is still the centerpiece and continues to be a very important part of your digital marketing strategy.
Your website needs to keep the discussion moving forward and your prospect digging deeper, which it can’t do if it turns people off. If users are quick to leave because your website is generic or hard to use, your brand will be forgotten and your sales will be lost.
Creating a fantastic website starts with the user experience. When creating a site, you have to understand the different visions of all your potential users and build it for them, not just for you or your marketing, development or design team. The key to successful marketing is to remember how you can best serve others, and this begins with a stand out and user-friendly website.
Don’t be generic!
Here are five elements to build a fantastic website:
1. Relevant and Interesting Design
A great website starts with design and this is the first element. What does great design mean?
- Designing for your target market.
- Merging an awesome image with a fantastic tagline.
- Your design goal is to meet the unique needs of your target market and to create a lasting first impression as a key part of your digital branding.
The reality is as people are very impatient on the Internet and windows to create a first impression have gotten smaller. They have dropped from 30 seconds to almost instant impressions. Your website design is key to successful branding, which includes first impressions and messaging to engage a user and draw them deeper into your website content.
Here are two questions to ask: Does the design of our website meet the needs of our target market? Does our website engage them for more than few seconds and invite them to go deeper?
If you need more information, don’t be afraid to invite users in to help you solve problems and give you honest feedback on your website. User testing is an important part of the site building and design process.
2. Intuitive Navigation
The second element is navigation. This is where users go first and your website’s usability begins with navigation. Following a quick scan of your home page, users will look for what is in it for them and unless they see something on the home page, they will turn to the navigation system for answers.
Navigation is easily ignored during website development and design process, or taken for granted. Don’t run into the “sample size of one dilemma”, or “this is what I like to see so I will do it that way.” Trying to be creative and building something new with navigation can also lead to major problems. Website users want navigation to be intuitive, easy to use, and have what they need the most.
Your navigation should include:
- Call-To-Action’s (CTA’s) to draw your users deeper into the site and your sales funnel
- Focused & intuitive design for mobile. You must have a sense of how it’s going to look across all digital platforms
- Services/Products, About, Contact & Resource Pages. Stay away from confusing titles such as Who, What, Solutions, or Expertise. If your users are confused by a link – they are most likely to ignore it.
3. Incredibly Useful Resources Section
The third critical element of a fantastic website is a very informative and useful resources section. An amazing resources section is key to your website’s success. This is much more than a blog, and includes the various forms of content to best meet the needs of your users. This content can then be shared on all your digital channels. As an example, check out how Facebook handles their resources: https://facebook.design.
Website resources can be super competitive. Millions of blogs are all competing for readers.
Your challenge is to prepare resources that set you apart in crowded market spaces. You can do this with a unique focus on how your company is better and different then competitors. Also, you must have a solid understanding of the problems you solve and how you enhance the quality of life for your target market. Finally, make sure you distribute your resources and content in the digital channels most important to your target market.
Questions to ask: What makes your website stand out? How are your website resources better and different than competitors? After great navigation, amazing design, and when all is said and done, your resources and what you write about make the difference.
4. Completely Coded for SEO
Fantastic websites must also have excellent search engine optimization (SEO). Many sites are lacking even basic SEO coding, when in reality your website must be coded for appropriate keywords for success. This starts with keyword research and identifying local versus national searches. It must include at a minimum:
- Title tags
- Keyword rich URLs
- Meta descriptions
- On-page content
SEO is super competitive today, and while it is hard to be found for competitive search terms, you must cover the basics to get traffic from Google and other search engines.
5. An Awesome “About Us” Section
Number five on our list is the About Us section. Only a few pages will be visited on your website, you should know what pages those are by reviewing Google Analytics. The About Us web page is a key section. Many websites include only a very basic page that leaves their users wanting more. Take this page seriously and use it to build trust and credibility – consider it a company resume that can drive conversions.
Here are a few key points to cover on the about page:
- Include it in the main navigation menu
- Keep the page current
- Think of it as your company resume online
Your “About Us” page content should include the following sections:
- Business approach (what makes you different)
- Company history
- Bios and photos of team members
- Client lists, case studies and testimonials
- Locations with photos and a map
- Videos and photos to describe your company
Here’s one more bonus tip: make sure it is extremely easy for your users to contact your company through a variety of ways. This includes an easy to find contact us page. You also want to include easy conversion points on your website near key contact points and especially on your home page.
Make sure you offer multiple ways to make contact including phone, email, submission forms, driving directions, email newsletter sign-up, social media follows and more. Users each have their preferred methods for reaching out to you.
Do these five things well and you are well on your way to having a fantastic website generating leads and sales for your company.
A checklist to help you improve both of these pages is available in my book Winning the Website War. If you would like more information on how our team can help you build a fantastic website, contact us today