5 tips for building a website that will improve your business potential

A website is an essential tool for any business that wants to maximise their profit potential and reach the widest audience of customers, whether that be on a local or global scale. However, what key features should a website that promotes you business have? Apexers will always work with you to make sure that you website offers the correct functionality , however if you're still considering what sort of website you'd like, then here are 5 tips for first time website design that will give you somewhere to start.




1. Clarify your message


Whatever the purpose of your website, whether it be to sell a product, promote an event or advertise a restaurant, you need to have a message. Why should people come to your establishment? What stands out about your product? What is to be gained by attending your event?


Make sure to establish what your key message is from the start and then build your website in such a way to support it. You may have more than one message that you want to convey and if so that's great! However, make sure to order your messages into a hierarchy and structure your website accordingly, thereby guiding your viewer's attention from one point to the next.


According to Nielsen Norman Group, “Users often leave Web pages in 10–20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people’s attention for much longer. To gain several minutes of user attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds.”


This doesn’t mean that you need to get everything across immediately – but you do need to organise information in such a way that those first 10 seconds get people to stay interested.




2. Prepare it for social sharing


If you want to spread your message as far as possible and access the greatest potential of relevant interest, you need to prepare your website for social sharing. Include social links and create content that people would be interested in sharing to their friends and peers. You must make sure that your content looks good when it is shared to social media, that you have an image ready for each sharable page and that you have titles and descriptions ready. Social media is a vital consideration for any business looking to build there presence online. For more information about how to utilise social media for business, see this post.




3. Make it visual

Websites need to please though both their message and their aesthetic. The best websites are clean, concise and with quality images. If you are building a website to represent your business, consider having some good quality pictures taken to use on your website as they will be the first thing people notice when they enter your page.


One thing to remember is that it doesn't matter how good your content is if it isn't designed in an aesthetically pleasing way and supported by good photo content. If you neglect the design element of your website then your content will go unread. If you want to build trust with the people that view your website (and who may go on to become customers) the first way to do that is to offer them quality content online. If the standard of your website is poor, it goes without saying that it's unlikely that viewer is going to go on to become a customer.



4. Features to include


Different businesses will require different kinds of functionality from their website so it's important to figure out what it is that you want your website to specifically do. Here are a list of simple features that you may want to consider including on your website:


Clear Navigation


Clear navigation is hugely important for catching the attention of your audience. Viewers need to be naturally guided through your content through local uses of headlines, sub headlines and menus. Your content should link and relate in a way that is logical. If your information is a mess all over the page and your menus nonsensical then you have little chance of encouraging that customer to read on.


Consider your main headline at the top of your page, this is prime real estate for your website and should immediately catch the attention of your audience. Follow this with a headline. This headline should encourage the purpose of your website. What is it that you want your site to achieve? Do you want a customer to place an order? Visit you in store? Request a quote or callback? Become a member? This is the first thing you must establish before you start building your site and then make that goal clear and obvious.


Business Information


Your website has two purposes, represent your business well to encourage vistors to become customers, and also to provide the necessary information which will allow those viewers to do just that. Your website needs to provide all the necessary information in a clear and concise manner so that your viewers can easily pinpoint what it is they are looking for. You should provide your address and a map, phone number, email address, photos of your products or establishment and other necessary information; opening hours, menus, price lists and booking systems.


Maps

Should your website be advertising a business that is situated in a static location; a shop, café or restaurant for example, it may be a good idea to include a map alongside your contact details and business information as a visual aid for viewers wanting to know your location. You always want to avoid making your viewers search for information, often a customer will not recognise a road name but will know your location when seeing it pinned on a interactive map. The aim of your website is to generate interest and custom for your business, therefore you want to make it as easy as possible for your viewers to access the necessary information to find your business.


Image Galleries


As we covered in point three, it's important to keep your website as visual as possible. You will notice a direct correlation between a websites success and the quality of its visual content. So, regardless of whether your website is selling a product, sharing information or representing a restaurant or salon, good image content is fundamental to its success.


Social Media Integration


Taking image galleries one step further, you could consider integrating your Instagram feed with your website. Similar to the previous point regarding galleries, this will aid your websites visual performance, however also strengths your business' platform network. As discussed here, social media is vital for a business to engage the widest possible audience, and by strengthening your links between different platform profiles you will solidify your online presence. By bridging these two independent platforms you strengthen your social network and therefore the success of one will impact another. These links between medias are important as you want them to work in cohesion with one another rather than perceive them as individual assets.


Contact Forms


A contact form is a simple way that you can provide your viewers with a means to contact you directly. It's no different to a customer sending you an e-mail but saves them the trouble of having to open up their account and copy your address. It's a simple piece of functionality but will add another quality dimension to your website and service as it continues with the theme of making yourself as accessible as possible to your customers.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)


As a web designer, I have seen a lot of businesses who have built themselves a website but not optimised it for search engines which is fundamentally pointless. Search engine optimisation through correct use of H1-H6 tags, alt tags, meta tags and keywords is crucial to a websites success as without this, your website will not show up on the internet. It's important to determine your keyword search phrases before you start writing your content as it proves much more difficult to naturally insert these once it is written. SEO is a massive topic and cannot be covered in a short point like this. There are plenty of resources online which cover this topic and I plan to write my own post in the future fully dedicated to SEO that I will link here when completed.


Security


If the purpose of your website is for you customers to place an order or anything that requires the entering of card information, you must make sure your site is secured with an SSL certificate. The SSL will encrypt communications between you and your clients (i.e. a credit card number or a social security number), which will allay their fears of providing such information.


FAQ


An FAQ (frequently asked questions) is a useful asset to a website as it will provide answers to common questions that customers may have. If you can predict the queries of your viewership or see a trend of similar questions in your inbox, answer it in your FAQ. The less that people have to contact you for information the better.



5. Mobile Optimisation


Mobile and tablet optimisation is essential in this day and age to a successful website. A huge proportion of your traffic will come from portable devices so if your website does not look as good on them as it does on a desktop then you may as well not bother. It's important to consider that what looks good on a desktop may not look as good on a mobile. On the desktop version of the website you can get away with having more text as the content can be more sporadically places. Mobile traffic typically comes from people who are looking for information on the fly. If you're a restaurant you need to ensure that your mobile website is a strong visual stimulant as the mobile traffic you'll typically be getting will be people who are in the area and looking for something to eat imminently. Your mobile site needs to provide them with the visual cue they're looking for to commit to visiting your establishment



Like to know more about how Apexers can help build a website that will aid your business? Contact us to schedule a chat about your goals and how we could help you achieve them.

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