Great to see you planning a website to bring your business to more of your buyers. A wisely crafted website is a platform where your visitors engage, explore and transact. Despite a great product line up and rocking marketing ideas, you may miss the selling targets if your website fails to allure the customers.
Designing a website itself is a mammoth task that should be done with active planning. From creating a wire frame to producing a raw design, every step needs a perfect form of creativity and intuitiveness.
Right from its design and content, to layout and element placement, your website needs to be perfect in all aspects. The article points out 8 important pre-requisites that you should keep in mind when building your website.
1. A Right Platform
Which platform to choose to build your website is a key point to consider. The platform is the foundation of your website. You can choose from the many options available. However, before zeroing on the right platform, you should be clear about your business requirements and features you want to see in your website.
The platform you choose should be user-friendly, affordable and must offer impeccable ease of use. Whether it's a simple blog, a service website or a comprehensive eCommerce portal, choose the right platform to access compatible features and functionalities.
- Website Builders:
- Content Management Systems
If a simple blog is all what you need website builders like Weebly may be a great choice. Web site builders allow you create a website using an easy going drag and drop interface. Such platforms offer limited features and little room for customization.
Content Management Systems are the most widely used platforms for websites. The platform is being used on over 15 million websites across the world wide web.
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Content Management Systems are known for offering great control over your website design, functionality, and performance. Once installed, you can add pages, posts, images, videos, links to your website from a user-friendly interface.
Another highlight of a CMS platform is its ability to allow unlimited website customization as per the needs. Think a feature, and there will be a plug-in in plug-ins repository to implement the feature with minor tweaks.
You can a CMS for just about anything – static websites, blogs, ecommerce, forums, membership sites, and more. Among others, WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are the most preferred platforms used for building a website.
2. Loading Speed
As your website is now ready and live, check its loading speed. Visitors choose to abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load and display content. It's a complete turn off if your site shows poor loading speed and keeps your visitors waiting.
Use speed tester tools like Pingdom to check your website loading speed. If your score is anything above 6 seconds, you need to work on your page speed. Here are some quick ways to speed up your website.
- Enable browser caching
- Use a Content delivery network
- Upgrade resources
- Disable unnecessary plugins / add-ons
3. A Superb Home Page:
A website’s home page gives users a basic idea about your business. Quite often a home page happens to be the page where a visitor lands first. Keep your home page impressive and informative so that it can effectively communicate end users about your brand and its specialization. It should be designed to answer following questions to visitors as soon they land over it:
- What you offer
- Audience you serve
- Your professional capabilities
- Your clients
- Why you are different
There are no established standards to describe how a home page should look like. However, it should at least have your company logo, tagline, navigation menu and a brief description of your business. This is completely your choice to decide the level of creativity in the home page.
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4. Simple Navigation:
When a visitor first lands at your website, he has a purpose to solve or a transaction to complete. He penetrates through the navigation to find the right place to land. Unfortunately, when your navigation structure throws him into an endless maze of categories, sub-categories and useless link schemes, he leaves your website for better options. Your customers have less time to consume on reading your success stories and watching photos of your last farewell. Rather, they seem more interested in grabbing the right information they came for.
Your website navigation must be easy for customers to locate and find information they want. Experts say that poor navigation is the primary reason customers abandon a website they’ve visited.
5. Search Feature:
Don’t forget to put a search box on your home page alongside the navigation. This helps customers to find information they can’t locate easily using the navigation menu. Ensure that search box is easily visible, so when customers type, content into the search box, they’ll be presented with relevant information they seek. This feature goes hand, if a website has blog posts that run through several hundred pages. Another benefit of including a search feature on your website is that readers are not forced to handle their search manually.
6. Contact Details:
Most budding businesses fail to sustain just because they don’t realize the importance of customer connect. There are occasions when your customers want to talk to you personally. They need their queries to be resolved as soon they appear. If you haven’t added your contact numbers, email and physical address on your website, you can lose big time. Social Media Today reported that around 93 percent of those marketers who don’t publish their contact address are prone to miss their revenue expectations.
7. FAQ Page:
While making a transaction, a customer may have a series of questions to be answered. These questions may be in regards to your product or service. Give them a comprehensive FAQ page with all the possible questions mentioned with their most relevant answers. In this way you can make it easier for customers to find the detailed information they need.
These are a few critical elements that help you make a positive impression on your audience. When you set to start your business online, don’t forget to incorporate these five important website elements into your site to build an effective online presence.
Whether it's a blog, service portal or an online store, it should be great looking and professional. Right from its layout to navigation and content to embedded multimedia elements (images, videos and infographics), they should be neatly placed and organized.
It's easier than ever to have an astoundingly beautiful website without hiring a bunch of designing geeks. If you're using WordPress, purchase a premium theme worth $50-$100 with a bunch of cool features and awesome functionalities. With purchased themes, you can get dedicated technical support and regular patches as well as version updates.
You may also choose to go with free themes available in WordPress theme directory. But remember, free themes offer little room for customization and the level of user-experience they deliver is usually not up to the mark.
9. Navigation Points:
For every web designer, it is very important to ensure an easy-to-use navigation mechanism. I have observed a strange habit of advertisers to send clicks straight to the home page of the website. I would like to do this in another way. Use these targeted ads and navigate users to the most relevant pages on the website. This is probably the ideal way of implementing Web Usability. This is because when a user clicks a link he wants to reach at a destination he expects. If he feels the slight inclination from it, he jumps to the back button. At your end you may check your searches to get the idea about user search behavior. It always goes in a wrong direction if you push visitors unusually to a landing page. Before deciding the navigation path, perform an extensive analysis to find what users exactly want.
10. Attractive Images :
Without a second opinion, it's an evident fact that images are one among the most vital important aspect of a website specially its landing page(s). If a landing page has boring, tedious and cluttered images to display, you are at the wrong side of the boat. However, choosing an image is always a tough task to accomplish. So you must keep some basic points in your mind before putting the images on the landing page. Use W3C CSS Standards to develop the relevant images. Each photograph on the page has its own story to tell. Place a photograph that exhibits certain sense. Custom images are quite fine with blogging or on social network but when it comes to the landing pages only a unique and non-custom image can be the USP.
11. Content Quality
Content is another important aspect of a landing page. But unlike the page content, it should be more precise and comprehensive enough to cover the service and products to be illustrated on the page. Since you weave your content for a specific purpose, it should be unique. I do understand that you are creating the page for revenue purpose and have an idea to optimize it in that sense using SEO Services. I will however suggest to leave search engine optimization away for a while and keep focusing on the quality of the content.
A CMS based website design gives unique interface to users so that they can easily place content on the website when need arises. While pitching the reader with content, make sure that it shouldn't pretend a hard sale. Rather you may elaborate other aspects of the product using text. Put solid assertions to convey and focus on how this product is going to help you or what are the business/service benefits of the product. You may also illustrate the reasons behind the product endorsement and how it is a better investment than the very next competitor.
12. Call-To- Action:
If you ask me, web designers make the biggest mistake at the time of placing a precise call-to-action button on the landing page. If experts are to be believed the selection of call-to-action entirely depends upon the products or services you are offering. If your product costs $5 or $10, customers won't have any problem to go direct with your shopping cart but in case of an amount huge enough they would like to discuss it further. In the latter case, you must place your phone numbers or a request form at the right place so that a potential buyer can initiate the communication. In case you are selling products, both “buy now” and “add to cart” buttons should be formally placed on the landing page. There is no standard list for the call-to-action buttons. You may exercise your thought process to get some that suits the landing page most. If you need to change one, go ahead.
13. Badges and Certificates:
A certificate or a badge(s) plays an important role in establishing the credential of your website across the web. Let us understand its importance with a simple example. There are plenty of the service providers available in the online business spectrum who provide Web Development Services. Pitching a service is all good but the million dollar question would be why a buyer should trust you. Placing badges and authentication certificates will build trust among the users for the products you are offering. I have personally experienced considerable improvement in conversion ration of various websites with badges and valid certificates. A referral traffic can be a big booster for your branding dreams. If you develop an e-commerce website, place SSL certificates on the landing pages to give buyers a sense of security.
14. Be Responsive:
In the era when varied range of devices are used to run websites, it is quite unpredictable that which device is being used to browse your landing page. A mobile website design is the new buzzword nowadays. A responsive website has enough credibility to engage customers. You shouldn't miss the opportunity to design a website compatible to every device.
15. Sharing options
Display your contact details on the website. It will help visitors get in touch with you whenever they need. Visible and easily accessible contact links enhance your brand value and improve user's trust in your business.
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Besides the phone numbers, physical address and email ids, add your social links and a contact from right there. This way, no matter what a user’s preferred communication platform is, you’ve got them covered.