A great website can be an incredible tool for effectively marketing a small business. However, a great website can be hard to create and continually tweaking your website can become expensive. Here we will cover a few of our best tips to help you create a great website in one go.
Creating a timeless website that will last a long time needs greater consideration than a website designed to last a few seasons. For small businesses, the time and resources needed to create a website mean it is something that cannot be a yearly exercise and as you business grows it's likely that your website will grow with it. This means that creating new websites is not always feasible even for larger companies. Hence, you need to consider how you can create a timeless design, this often means staying away from the "latest trends" and paying more attention to unique yet timeless website designs.
To achieve a simple yet engaging website start with working out what questions you need to answer. All the most important questions should at least be briefly addressed on the homepage of your website. Carefully consider the key message you want to portray whether it be sustainability, community or quality, the homepage is the perfect place to establish this message. Having said this, the homepage is also not the place to bombard users with an essay worth of information, instead highlight the key parts and give users the opportunity to browse and learn more.
Today it is more important than ever to create a website that works across all devices, most importantly you need to prioritise where your users browse, for many companies, this means ensuring their mobile website is optimised. This will ensure that you don't lose out on any traffic that comes to your website. Hence, you can get the most out of your website.
Page speed and user experience are two factors that go hand in hand, you cannot achieve a good user experience without page speed, and page speed is useless if your user experience is bad. Hence, these are two aspects that are equally as important and you need to pay close attention to both.
Page speed is important for multiple reasons, it will help decrease your bounce rate, improve your SEO and improve user experience as users no longer have to wait as long for new pages to load.
User experience is vital to any website, when we say user experience we mean is it obvious for the user how to interact and navigate through your website. What makes a poor user experience? Of course, bugs make a user experience quite negative, have you ever jumped onto a website and had a popup appear that you can't work out how to close? or tried to use a drop-down menu, but when you move the mouse to navigate down to click one of the options the menu disappears and you feel as if you need a degree to use the drop-down menu? This is what we mean by focusing on user experience, your website should be easy to navigate, the most important pages easily accessible, and you shouldn't need to perform more than 3 clicks to reach the objective you are trying to encourage.
In all industries, there should be a common goal to make the website as accessible to as many individuals as possible, consider people who are colour blind, elderly or might struggle to read. Hence, depending on your industry and target customer, consider these elements and make sure to incorporate them into your design. For many, it will be appropriate to write in a way that can be understood by people from almost all age groups. It is also important to consider how those with slow internet connections will experience your website, this is of course very important in Australia where we have the super-fast NBN... The chances are more of your users will have slower internet connections rather than faster.
Of course, the main goal of your website is to improve conversions, in order to do this, you need to show your users what your product is and give them reasons to purchase it. This of course all need to be done at least partly on the homepage, emphasise how you differ from competitors. Ensure that your product images are clear and appropriate, the imagery you use is almost the most important aspect of your website. You can have an incredible website, however, if you are using low-quality images then the entire design begins to fall apart. Hence, make sure you invest in your product photography.
The best way to get a quality copy for your website is to hire a professional, someone who writes copies every single day for a living. For obvious reasons, they are going to be the best person to create engaging copy that sells. Additionally, if you find a copywriter that specialises in the web you will also likely have a better chance of ranking for key terms relevant to your industry. In essence, there will be no downsides to hiring a quality copywriter to really make your website special, they can write you engaging and timeless copy all but guaranteed to help you sell.
There is no point in having a website that no one will ever see, hence, make sure that you are investing in the SEO foundations so that you can utilise them later on. The core aspects to focus on are that the foundation of your website is good (website speed, website security and user experience) and you incorporate a method to add additional content to your websites such as an interactive page builder or a blog.
Making sure you are getting a great CMS is arguably the most important thing you can do as a small business owner purchasing a website. You need to ensure that as your business grows and changes that you can update the content on your website to reflect this, for example, if you add a new service or hire a new employee you will likely want to add this information to your website. This should be possible in your CMS.
Making use of a CDN like Cloudflare will allow you to present your website to users in a better way. Cloudflare helps present content to your users faster and more securely. In addition, Cloudflare is free to use.
Make sure once you have launched that you are connecting your website to Google Search Console and uploading your site map. This will ensure that your website will get indexed as soon as possible and hence begin to appear on search. If you are transitioning from an older site to a new website then it is likely that some of your links will be slightly different, hence before you launch it is important that you redirect these pages to the pages that replace them. This will ensure that when users find your old pages still listed on different browsers they are first taken to the old domain, before immediately being redirected to the new page. If you do not do this users who click these links will be taken to an error 404 page as the page no longer exists.
There is a lot of thought that goes into a great and timeless website. If you are careful and take your time in researching the right technologies to use, what information is most important to your customers and how to ensure you can get the most out of your website that you can you will inevitably have an end product that you can use for a long time. Try keeping it simple yet engaging, make sure your content is incredible and you really can't go wrong, if you have a bigger budget you can get a little bit fancier, however, trying to get a fancy website on a basic website budget will land you with an end product that is just not so good... Sacrifices will need to be made somewhere whether this is expertise, background tasks that are not necessary to the sites core function but vital to its success or connecting it to a CMS that is not quite right.
If you are interested in creating a great website that helps boost sales we can help, if you would like a website that stands out and is eye-catching we can also help, both are great choices, you just need to know which is right for you and your industry.