Having a website to represent your business is extremely important because it allows your potential customers to find you with very little effort. It may be that a potential customer is looking for the type of product or service that your company offers or they may be looking for your company specifically, either way having a website online is often the first port of call when your customers and potential customers reach out to you.
You could almost think of a website as a shop front that allows your target audience to see what you have to offer â€“ having no shop front at all would be a disaster but having an untidy or unappealing shop front would be almost as bad.
This reasoning is exactly the same when it comes to your company’s website â€“ the better it looks the more likely your potential customers are to come in and take a further look at the products and services that you are offering them.
In this article we will share with you the top 10 tips for producing a website that will not only be appealing to your target audience but that will lock in your visitors and subconsciously convince them to purchase from you as well.
Tip #1: Use a clean site design
When building a website it is often tempting to have all of the latest animated banners, rollover images and basically any other fancy new animation to make your site look vibrant and active. This is really great for indulging your own design ideas but in reality these animated elements often just add confusion to a website and when a visitor is really trying to find something they can be off putting.
The same goes for heavily contrasting colors â€“ whilst they may work on other mediums they often make a website very hard to navigate, especially when there is reading involved.
The key to creating a clean website design is to think about the mood you want to put your visitors in and then design around that thought process â€“ if you have a calm and relaxing website then your visitors are much more likely to take their time reading about your company and the services you offer and if they are in a happy state by the end of their experience they are far more likely to buy.
Tip #2: Keep your navigation as simple as possible
You will often here people use the phrase “content is king” when it comes to website design and especially when it comes to SEO. This is a very true statement â€“ content is king â€“ but it doesn’t mean that every visitor wants to see every single article that you ever wrote. In light of this it is important to select pages carefully for your top level navigation.
Ideally you want no more than 5 or 6 pages in your main navigation bar and these pages should be the most important ones â€“ the ones that your visitors will most likely want to see like your services page for example.
If you have a lot of content on your website then you can arrange it into sub-sections and add submenus to your navigation. It is important that your visitors can find all of the information on your site if they are looking for it but also that they don’t get bombarded with links when they just want to find out about a particular product that you sell, or to find your address.
Buzzfeed is a great example of a website that has a very clean primary navigation bar whilst also offering more content for those of us who want to delve a little deeper.
Tip #3: Make use of images
This tip is crucial to the success of your website. Seriously, remember that saying “a picture is worth a thousand words?” Well it’s true in more ways than one.
First of all no one likes to read hundreds of words of text without it being broken up a little bit. Headings are a great way of doing this but images are even better.
Secondly there are some things that you just can’t get across effectively with words. A picture of your team for example will say more about the personality of your company than words ever will.
The quality of your images are also crucial to the success of your website â€“ if you can afford a professional photographer great, you can take some images of your offices, your staff and so on and they will be a great asset to your website. If you cannot afford to go down this route then stock photography can be just as effective â€“ websites such as istockphoto offer a huge selection of photography covering every subject and these images can really help to convey your message even though they are not personalised specifically to your company.
Using stock images can be very cost effective as well – you can normally find an istockphoto promo code for example that will reduce your stock image costs by up to 30% and these coupons are available for most other stock media sites as well.
Tip #4: Write the content yourself
If you ignore all of the other tips in this article please do not ignore this one â€“ writing your own content is crucial to the success of any website. It is so tempting and so common for business owners to either copy their website content from their competitors or to outsource the content writing to a third party.
Both of these options are as bad as each other and will leave you with third class content that doesn’t inspire any confidence in your potential customers. I have even see websites in the past that have mentioned a competitors name by accident after copying content from their site â€“ this can have a terrible effect on your brand and it will also become a barrier to the ability of your website to rank in the search engines.
Tip #5: Edit the content
After writing your content, many people will let it sit for a while and come back and edit. This is good practice for two reasons:
1) It allows your sub-conscience mind to evaluate what you’ve written and possibly think of better ways to speak to the reader.
2) After you are away from the content for a bit, you come back with a fresh set of eyes. This almost always works out in your favour and allows you to catch mistakes that might have slipped by.
Even though writing content is hard it is your chance to sell your products and services to your audience and is something that should not be passed up on.