In 2017, we shouldn’t even have to still be saying this, but we cannot stress enough how much your business needs a website if you want to generate more leads.
74% of consumers use search engines (Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, etc) to help inform their purchase decision before buying. If you don’t have a website, built out social media profile, or any online presence, you’re taking your business out of the equation.
A good website will not only generate more leads for your business every month, but if you own a small or local business, 36% of consumers say that they prefer to contact a business only if it has a website.
Even though it’s a bit scary, you need to start looking at your website as an investment. It’s one of the most important and profitable ones you can make. If you already have a website that you haven’t touched in 10 years and it was done by your friend’s son for a high school project, then this same advice applies to you.
Step 1 – Figure out how your website is going to be built
Web page builder
In general, it’s going to be cheaper up front to build your own website with a website building service, but it’s likely not going to rank very well or have the best design or flexibility as you scale.
A freelancer can be a good middle ground on price but can be limited on holistic knowledge and have only a single proficiency. This can be a great thing if you have a clear picture of what your website’s purpose is and have a vision for future digital marketing implementations. But not so good if you’re going to require anything out of their scope that will need to be added later.
Agency (like Doorbell – shameless plug here)
Agencies are great if you have a large project with many different working parts. They have access to multiple team members with different skill sets and knowledge. They will be able to give you future advice about strategies you haven’t considered as well. Due to this increased level of resourcefulness, they are also going to be a little more expensive.
Essentially, you get what you pay for.
Step 2 – Make the site simple to understand and use
All of the best websites from the best brands have both of those factors and more. Your website needs to describe who you are, what you do, why you’re better or different than everyone else, and how customer’s can get in touch with you.
As it turns out, all of the things you want to tell prospective customers about your business, they also want to know when they are considering making a purchase. So don’t make it difficult for them.
You’re going to start out with a clear site structure that covers all of those basis. Here are some standard types of pages you’re going to want to include.
Pages for a basic site
Home. The homepage is likely going to be the primary landing page (or first page your users interact with) of your website. Especially if you are a brand new company and the website is new as well. It is key that you include multiple calls to action for your primary conversion, enough text content that users can navigate easily to other pages, as well as links to the other main pages so that they know where to go next.
About. This page cannot be underestimated. In today’s web more so than ever, users care about getting to know your brand before making a purchase. Keeping this in mind, you should create a compelling about us page with information about your team, the history of your company, as well as your company’s vision and expectations for the future. Once they love what you stand for, they’ll buy.
Services. This has a lot to do with search engine optimization more than anything but it’s important to describe your services and products in detail and in a useful fashion. Not only will this help google and other search engines understand and rank your content better, but it also allows users to make an informed decision about what you offer and if they’re impressed or decide you can solve their specific problem, they’ll be a lot more likely to buy.
Contact. Another no brainer. If people are trying to find you, ask you questions, or buy from you, it shouldn’t be hard for them to know how to do that. Include your physical address, mailing address, related phone numbers, a contact form, and all social median profiles. Make it easy to be contacted.
Step 3 – Perfecting the design and user experience
User experience is incredibly important to consider when designing your new website.
Not only do you want to provide a functional and useful website, but you also want it to be aesthetically pleasing and positively represent your brand as a whole.
The first step is to have a color scheme figured out. Your color scheme needs to be consistent across the entire website as well as all other marketing materials and social media accounts. You can base the theme off of your existing logo or pre existing marketing materials if need be.
If you don’t have a logo you need to stop reading this immediately and pay someone to make one for you. Seriously. That’s branding 101.
Another important consideration is the typography you choose for the site. This includes the font, text color, size, etc. These elements help create a unique feel for your brand and can illicit strong emotions from your user base that will guide their decisions when interacting with your site.
Choose these elements carefully and use them strategically throughout all platforms that are related to your brand.
Before actually applying these different elements to the site it’s a good idea to make wire frames (outlines or prototypes of content or structure that you want to make in the future) of these color schemes and fonts just to get a feel how everything fits together.
This can be as simple as using a piece of paper, a Microsoft Word document, Photoshop, or even more complex wire framing software. The point is to give a lot of thought to these efforts as they greatly affect how users will interact with you.
Step 4 – Make it mobile friendly
It is no secret that most of your users will be accessing your site from a mobile device these days. So considering, planning for, and testing their experience on your website from a mobile point of view is absolutely imperative.
You don’t get a choice.
Mobile friendliness simply means that your website is fully accessible and useful from anyone accessing your site from any device other than a desktop or a laptop. It means that you’ve considered how any user will experience your site with any given device or from any different browser width, and you’ve made a decision to make them happy.
Considerations for mobile optimization
- Load speed. Remember the last time you accessed a site and it didn’t load? What did you do? That’s right, you left. The average user is only going to stick around for 4 seconds before leaving. This problem gets even worse on mobile because although devices are getting “smarter” it’s still harder to load web elements on a mobile device.
- Content. Don’t convince yourself that content doesn’t matter to users on a mobile device. Just because the device is smaller doesn’t mean potential buyers don’t want to know more about your business and related products or services. They do, and they want to be entertained. So offer them all of the content you have on your regular website too.
- Tap targets. A tap target is simply anything that you click on. Keep in mind that users will be primarily using their thumbs and fingers to access your site. Make all of the important elements easily clickable and not obstructed when designing links, navigation, and media.
- Responsiveness. All browsers, devices, and screen widths should offer that exact same goodness in terms of experience for users. They shouldn’t get frustrated because their device is small. Make sure you’ve built your site with media queries in mind, and that you offer a seamless experience no matter what. Your site content should respond quickly and efficiently based on all of these factors.
After you’ve finished building the site it is also important to actually go back and use different devices and browsers, as well as screen sizes to check that your website and web content looks the same and offers a smooth and fluid experience throughout the entire site.