— April 25, 2018
Creating an effective business website is a complex issue, due to the fact that it requires you to be skilled (or at least indulged) in both web design and basic principles of marketing. While it is indisputable that its main goal is to send a message, the nature of this message varies on factors such as the industry, the product, the audience and even the way in which they reached you in the first place. On the surface, this may seem a bit intimidating but with these nine principles on your side, things get much easier to understand.
1. Investing effort in responsiveness
One of the unwritten rules of the internet is that you have about 7 seconds to grab the attention of your visitors, however, even this figure is quite debatable. Most of your audience expects your website to load within the first 2 seconds and failure to do so is bound to create a negative first impression even for those who decide to stay. After 4 seconds of non-responsiveness, about 25 percent of your audience will be ready to leave. In other words, even the best web design and the most competitive of offers won’t mean much if your target demographic won’t even give you a shot. This is why your first investment needs to be targeted at responsiveness.
The next thing you need to understand is that hacker attacks aren’t something that happens only to major corporations and brands of renown. Sure, a successful attack at one of these targets yields a greater reward but targeting small business with no cyber-security poses no risk for them whatsoever. In other words, this risk-to-reward ratio instantly turns you into a great target. Moreover, the loss of data can sometimes be worse than a loss of a client or resources. For this reason alone, you might also want to consider installing an adequate backup software (while you’re at it).
3. Pick an appropriate style
The next thing you need to think about is the issue of the style of your homepage. What’s plausible for e-commerce and business, might not be as great for the event management industry or a catering company. We’re not even talking about appropriate anymore but about what’s efficient. When first clicking on your website, people often have some expectation of what they want to see. Of course, finding a way to step up your game is always a good thing but there are some norms that you still might want to abide by. For this reason, it would probably be for the best to visit a fair share of your competitors’ websites before you even start planning your own unique web design.
4. Rely on multiple traffic sources
Regardless of whether your demographic is homogenous, you still can’t risk relying on a single source of traffic. In 2018, managing your presence across numerous platforms is easier than ever before so why not branch out a little? At the very least, you should go for social media marketing, email marketing and give your presence on Google a slight boost through an extensive SEO campaign. Aside from this, it could also be quite useful to diversify formats of your content by turning towards podcasts and videos.
5. Heavily invest in SEO
This is something we already hinted at in the previous section but it is definitely a topic worth re-visiting. When it comes to your website’s rank, it’s affected by off- and on-site factors, which is why you should invest an equal amount of time in its on- and off-site optimization. Quality of your content, meta descriptions and improving your sitemap are just some of the things you should form your website’s structure around. On the other hand, you should never neglect the efficiency of a well-planned link building campaign.
6. Data-driven design
Another thing worth paying attention to, when designing your website, is the fact that, nowadays, we know much more about the pattern behaviors of the average website audience. For instance, we know for a fact that the left side of the screen receives more attention than the right, which is just one of the rules that can be exploited to your benefit. Aside from this, an extensive A/B testing-based survey has concluded that a red CTA (call-to-action) button has a 21 percent better CTR (click-through-rate) when compared to a green CTA.
7. Send a clear message
Now, it’s time for a bit of subtlety! Every website has an agenda and by not being able to discover your agenda early on, your visitors will start mistrusting you and closely follow every CTA you throw their way. In order to set their mind at ease, you want to present them with your products and services as soon as they enter the page. Whereas some may consider this approach to be too much of a hard-sell for their taste, the truth is that this straightforward approach helps you build trust from early on.
8. Emphasis on contact visibility
Beyond doubt, the most important element on your website is the section where you display your contact. Think about it, even if you do manage to win over the hearts of your audience, this doesn’t really mean that much if they can’t find you. Sure, you may argue that if the offer is that good they might try extra hard to look for it, nonetheless, this is unnecessary and risky. Losing a single client just because you failed to put in some effort to make your contact position and font right is outright reckless. As for the position, there’s no general rule, although most experts agree that it should go after the introduction and not before.
9. Set the right metrics
Finally, in order to know if your website is a success or not, you need to choose metrics based on which you’re going to evaluate it. To some, traffic reigns supreme, others worry more about conversion rates and then, there are those who only care about the sales. “What goes for your website” is a question that only you can give an answer to.
With these nine tips on your side, you will become simply unstoppable. Nevertheless, the best thing about adopting these nine rules lies in the fact that they arm you with the applicable knowledge that you get to exploit regardless of the industry. Even if your current business effort doesn’t turn out to be a success (for whatever reason), you still get actionable information and skills to use at a later date.