10 'Must Haves' For A Successful Website
A website acts as your virtual shopfront, whether you have a brick and mortar shop or not. Often, your website is the first interaction people will have with your brand and your products…so you better make the most of it!
You know how it is, when someone hears about a new shop, or service, the first thing they do is Google them to find out more. Or if someone is looking for “insert product here” in “insert town here” they Google it! It’s the world we live in, so you have to be sure that when someone does the all-important online search they firstly find you and secondly are totally hooked when they do.
1 | One key aim
When a potential client or customer lands on your homepage it should be instantly clear what you do and, more importantly, what you can do for them. Someone browsing the internet has a short attention span, so if you make them scroll and scroll to eventually find out that you do, in fact, help them with their problem they will probably head to the next option on their list. That is why it is so important to include a simple message – a statement or short sentence – that describes exactly what you do and who you help. For this you will reflect on your target customer and your top service. For example, my message is ‘Easy to use websites that help small businesses grow’.
2 | Call to action
Once you’ve make it absolutely clear what you do and who you do it for, the next step for the website user should be totally obvious. This is called a ‘call to action’ and usually takes the form of a link to that key thing you want your website visitors to do. Depending on your business, your service and what you offer, this could be a link to your contact page, to your newsletter sign up form, to your booking page. Whatever it is, make it really easy for someone to take action after they have read that you offer what they are looking for.
3 | Clear navigation
Simplicity is key when you are planning your website, and this applies to your navigation menu. You may have many pages on your site but you need to consider if they need to be placed the all important top navigation menu on your site. This is one of the first areas visitors to your website so it should offer easy to understand options. It is also helpful if they are laid out in a methodical sequence, that leads the customer through your service or product. If you are a bakery, for example, you may include your about page, a gallery, a menu and finally your booking page.
4 | High quality images
To achieve a professional looking website, professional looking images are so important. If you sell a physical product then images of that product that are well lit and cohesive will make a huge difference when selling your product to potential customers. It means people will focus on the awesome thing that you’re selling, not giving any thought to the quality of the image.
If you sell a service, you will still be using images to sell that service and they should reflect your brand and the preferences of your target customer.
5 | Branded style
As I’ve mentioned before, your website is a virtual shop front, so where people would be able to go into a shop and pick up the vibe of the shop from the décor, music and layout. This all helps them in making their decision about whether they want to use the service that the shop offers. It’s the same with your website. To attract your target market, your site should reflect their tastes and style preferences.
6 | Simple copy
Another vote for simplicity! Are you sensing a theme here? People don’t want to be overwhelmed with information, particularly on the initial pages of your site where they are still getting to know you (deep dive information can be reserved for blog posts and articles which we’ll cover later). Understanding your customers is an important part of writing the text (copy) for your website. You need to think about the language they use when they talk about your product, or more importantly the language they use when talking about the problem your product solves. This will help inform they language and tone of the copy on your site.
It’s also helpful to keep this copy to a couple of sentences at a time, statements or short paragraphs, to allow people to digest each piece of new information easily.
7 | Answer customer questions
A website is an asset to your business, so put it to work for you! If there are questions you often get asked by customers or clients, use your website as a space to answer them. You might find that people no longer need to ask or, if they do, you can direct them to your website – bonus, they’ll find out all about your business whilst they’re there. You can either answer these questions organically through the website’s copy, or you can collate them all into a Frequently Asked Questions page.
8 | Easy to find contact info
It should be beyond easy for people to make contact, book or buy from you when they visit your site. The best places for this contact point will be the last item in your navigation menu, eye-catching buttons throughout the site and down at the bottom of the page in your footer.
9 | SEO Optimisation
If you’ve done any research into websites and getting found online, you’ll have heard the term ‘search engine optimisation’ (SEO). This is basically a term for setting your website up in a way that Google (other search engines are available) can easily sort through and rank in it’s search results. SEO is a huge topic in itself, but there are a few simple things that can be done to any site to increase it’s chances of being at the top of a Google search. My top simple strategies would be:
1. Use keywords in your headings and in your copy – these are the words people will be searching to find you but go easy and keep it natural.
2. Share links to your website as often as you can. This can be on your social media accounts, in both your bio and your posts.
3. New content featuring topics relevant to your niche, that can be shared and linked back to your site – see the next point!
10 | Updates
Adding new content to your site gives search engines more to work with when it comes to finding and ranking your site. The best way to add new content to your site is through a blog. If the thought of writing a blog makes there are some different approaches you can take. Depending upon what your business is, you can use your blog in many ways to connect with your customers and clients, it doesn’t have to be what you would traditionally consider a blog. It could be:
News page - to share more detail about new products or events
Journal/Diary – share what you have been working on throughout the week or month.
Case Studies – analyse a specific project to show potential customers how the process works
Tutorials – show or explain to your audience how to do something associated with your business
Don’t forget to share the link to your blog post everywhere and often and be consistent!
The aim of this guide is to help you look at your own website with fresh eyes and give you some tools to grow your reach online. There is plenty here you could tackle on your own, however if you’d like a helping hand with any (or all!) or it I’d be delighted to chat about working together.