As the saying goes, ‘you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure’…In our business, quite often we are told by clients that their friend or a family member was building/has built their website but:
…they have spent months (even years) working on it and it’s still not finished
...it doesn’t look the way they thought it was going to
...it's not working the way that they want it to
Usually, when they are a friend or family member (and not a web designer), they invariably take an off-the-shelf package thinking 'how hard can it be?’. It’s true that building a website from one of these off-the shelf-packages isn't necessarily hard, but do they really know what they are doing? Do they really understand how to make a website perform well and not just look good?
There are thousands of cook books out there and it's easy to follow a recipe, but that doesn't mean the results will always be the same, or that what you make will even taste nice. There is a knack to good cooking and the same principle applies when building a website.
Often it's the things that look simple that can be complex underneath.
Building a website in itself isn't rocket science, but there is a method to making a website great. A website with all the right elements in place will add value to your business. A nice looking website, may simply be aesthetically pleasing but does nothing for the growth of your business. The fundamental components you need include:
By that it needs to be clear, well-written, grammatically correct and keyword rich. Content IS King. Being found in search results is determined by the search engines algorithms matching the users’ keywords with the content on the site. If your content is sparse, poorly written, not properly thought through (using a range of keywords) it is likely that you will feature low down in the rankings.
Search Engine Optimised headings
Headings carry more weight than body text, so ensure that your headings are relevant to what your audience is searching for. Using keyword-rich content in header tags will improve the search engine visibility for your target keyword. Mashable also recommends not having the same article title as you would for your page title, and advises how to write a good meta description.
Easy to use navigation
If your user experience is cumbersome and clunky, it's likely to put customers off. Make sure that you think carefully about how your users might navigate through your web site. Keep it clean and simple. Before you ‘go live’, test your website out as if you were visiting it for the first time. Can customers navigate your website easily? Is it clear and easy to understand? Could any steps be simplified?
High quality images, but not high resolution
There are so many stock photo agencies these days, that having low quality images is not an excuse any more. Your photos need to be clear and crisp, but they must also be saved as smaller files. Large image files will make loading your page slow, which may put people off staying on your website.
Calls to Action
A Call to Action (CTA) on a website is a prompt to get the user to take some specified action. It could be a button asking you to ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Subscribe’. Visually it can be a button or hyperlink. When designing your website consider how your customer might want to get in touch with your business. Are you making it easy for them to do so? Are you giving them choice; email, online forms, telephone numbers? Find out more about why Calls to Actions are important.
When Perfect Layout Digital Marketing works with customers, these are the core principles which we adhere to as the starting point for building their website. These fundamental steps are the foundations to having the building blocks for great online presence. Though don’t be mistaken with thinking that the work starts and ends with a website alone. Consider the website edging of the puzzle - there are still other pieces to put together before the picture is complete. Perfect Layout Digital Marketing can talk you through what other digital strategies would work best for your business.
Before starting a new web project you might want to read website trends for 2017. This article was published by Forbes magazine at the beginning of the year, and it might be useful for you to think about how you would like your website to look and any features that you might like to see.
Perfect Layout can, of course, simply do a website build. However, we prefer not to do that. Instead, we encourage our customers to take up a support package, where month-by-month we will monitor your website against the competition, check where it is ranking in organic search, and if needed, suggest tweaks.
We also apply other digital strategies to ensure that your visibility online is not just limited to your website. Are you active on the right social media channels? Is your business listed correctly in external directories?
If you are unsure of what your next step should be, give us a call and let’s have a chat today.