How many times have you gone to a website and left without even bothering to read content? Or as Google web analytics expert Avinash Kaushik puts it, “I came, I puked, and then I left …” Don’t add your website to the stockpile of online landfill. Here are 10 tips to make sure that your website has purpose, stands out and won’t be seen as JUNK!
My first question to clients who want a website is always “What do you need the website for?” NEVER “What do you want to put on the site?”. Often websites end up as a stockpile of random content and information you think you should have, rather than a clear and purposeful storytelling of your business.
Know your brand.
At red k. we always start the process with a brand values map. A clear awareness of brand values will underpin the whole process, and serve as a reference when outlining areas of the website. In the design process, I will often stop and ask “How can we align this content with the brand values?”. Read our article on the importance of a good brand here
Do thorough research on competitor websites. Outline the points of differentiation that separate you from your competitors. Ask the questions “What works well on their site?”.
Know your customer.
Knowing your demographic is essential in making your content relevant. You should ask the questions… What is your typical demographic and why? Do you want to appeal to a wider demographic and how do you intend to do this?
Content is crucial.
It takes time to develop quality content. Know the areas of your business you would like to grow, and focus on these. Beautiful photography that relates to your brand values works best. Catchy, concise descriptions of services and products are essential. Stay away from industry jargon, write for your customer not your peers. Write down a bullet list of messages you want to convey, then flesh them out.
Bigger and Brighter is not always Better
To design a website that looks good, is harder than you may think. Simple things like legibility of text, good use of colour and intuitive navigation are key. Paramount in my opinion is having a design that reflects your brand, making your companies look and feel recognisable, which will in turn set you apart from your competitors.
Write for the web.
Write with “Calls to Action” in mind, this means have something for your visitor to do next. Make sure your visitors aren’t left idle for more than a few seconds. Ensure your content always answers the question “What’s in it for them?” For instance, instead of saying “Contact Us” say “Contact us for a tour of our facilities”.
SEO – Theme your page.
There are a lot of great online tools for mastering SEO, and just as many approaches. I am going to give you one of the tricks I use that works well as a starting point. Theme each of your pages (or posts if you have a blog) with a SEO Keyword Phrase in mind. For example if your an online marketing company, you could have a page theme of “online marketing strategies”, then use that phrase in the title/url/headings/alt tags/paragraph text as much as possible (without sounding like spam).
Don’t set and forget.
Your website is a living, breathing entity. Nothing is going to turn off visitors more than content that hasn’t been updated in months. Make your website current, reliable and relevant. A great way to do this is with a blog and by integrating social media on your website.
Track your outcomes.
So you’ve launched your site. What now! Just about everything in life can be improved upon. Website analytics tools can provide you with a rich understanding of your customer base. Tracking how visitors use your website and collecting information on demographics/markets allows you to expand upon what’s working in your website and make improvements where necessary.