To leave visitors inspired and intrigued by your brand, a website's look and feel should focus on user-friendly navigation and functionality and eye-catching design. Here are a few key factors to consider when designing, developing and organizing your website:
One of the most important things to remember is that viewers like a clean and appealing design. A clean design helps to focus on the value of your brand and the layout of the website pages are then removed of excess clutter including animations, large graphics, or large amounts of text.
Color plays an important role because different colors evoke different responses. It’s essential that your brand understands the audience it’s intended for so that it can assign a color scheme that invokes a sense of brand trust and doesn’t overwhelm the viewer.
Creating a consistent brand experience throughout the website is key. In this space, we often see organizations spend the most time developing their homepages and leaving their second and third level pages in a lackluster state. Consider spending more time on key pages such as your About, Contact, and Team pages (if applicable) since these pages are often the most visited when potential prospects are looking to start a relationship.
When it comes to functionality, consider what is absolutely necessary and is going to give you the best ROI. Is having that big slider at the top of each page going to drive traffic or would a video convey your message more quickly? In addition to content components, are key items (such as login, my account, social icons) located in familiar locations? In this space, we often see organizations put wonderful sites together, but they don’t consider operational issues. Even the smallest of issues can prompt a customer to leave the website, so it’s critical to ensure that you’re not wasting a viewer’s time.
Navigation is key to getting people around the website. If your navigation is unclear or requires too many clicks to get to content, it’s going to result in lower engagement. Ensure that viewers are able to locate pages within 2 to 3 clicks.
Calls to Action (CTA)
CTAs are key to encouraging viewers to contact you. CTA’s must be friendly and inviting, with at least one CTA on each page of your website. Calls to action are more than just one-way conversations so be prepared to direct the viewer to an appropriate end result. In this space, we are seeing more and more use of Live Chats versus contact submission forms in order to help potential customers more efficiently find what they are looking for.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Viewers need to be able to find and locate your website via search engines and social media. However, to be noticed you have to put in the work to get noticed. There are several tactics that need to be addressed to move up in the ranks and become more discoverable.
- Make sure your site content uses keywords that people are actually searching for. There’s no sense in writing or developing content that no one is searching for.
- Make sure your site has short load times
- Make sure your site has an active blog or news section
- Make sure your site has clean and structured content (h1, h2, h3, etc)
- Make sure your site is responsive and mobile friendly
- Make sure your site integrates with social media. This means not just icons with a link, invest in a developer who understands about Open Graph tagging
- Make sure your site has effective security. Sites that are hacked or manipulated to alter your brand message could take months to unravel if proper measures are not in place.
- Make sure your site is submitted to the search engines. Using Search Consoles and WebMaster Tools are key to getting your site in search results.
Other things to consider:
- Stay on top of online reviews and customer testimonials on third-party sites. Reviews are often difficult to remove (if bad) but a response to those reviews can often reset the decision a client has about your brand.
- Avoid using stolen photography or imagery that appear in search engines like Google Images.
- Use video as much as possible to explain complex things. Make sure to embed your videos using YouTube or Vimeo for an additional boost in SEO.
At the end of the day, a new website means nothing if you don’t know how it’s performing or being used. Using Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager, you can set goals and benchmarks towards performance goals for your content. You will also find a clear roadmap in regards to what content is working and what content isn’t. This information is invaluable when it comes to the success of your website and impacts future decision making in terms of where to take the website moving forward.
If you're interested in updating the look and feel of your website, reach out to David James Group.