People like pretty things! But, success requires more than just a pretty face and the same applies to a pretty website. Having just a pretty looking website isn’t going to get you that far, it’s really just the start. Does your site have value? Does your site attract new visitors? Does it rank well in search engines? There are so many more factors that go into website design beyond pretty fonts, graphics and layouts. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at what a well constructed website looks like (the beauty and the brains!).
What is the goal for your website?
A successful online presence begins with clearly stated goals. Only when you determine what you need your site to do will you know whether or not it’s performing. In e-commerce, it might be to sell a certain quantity of product per month. In online banking it might be how many new accounts are set-up monthly. And as a local plumber it might be how many service calls you receive per week from your website. Knowing what you’re working towards is critical in making your website work for your business. Your Riverside coffee shop might have the prettiest web design online, but if it doesn’t tell people where you are or why they should try your coffee over Starbucks, it’s not working well.
Does your website incorporate SEO?
I know we talk a lot about optimizing your website, but the truth is nobody cares how pretty your website is if nobody can find it! That’s why search engine optimization is such a crucial aspect to your online presence, it’s how people find you. SEO is an art, it’s all about technique and strategy in order to build your importance in the eyes of Google, Bing and Yahoo. So when someone looks for “good coffee in Riverside” your website shows up on the first page of results.
What kind of content do you have on your site?
I love beautiful logos, but a beautiful logo isn’t going to hide the fact that your website lacks substance. Honestly, people don’t really care that much about your logo, they care about what you can offer them. Your website needs content, original content. According to this blog post by Entrepreneur Magazine, 73% of people prefer to get their information about a business through articles instead of traditional advertising. So, as Bill Gates said in 1996, “Content Is King.” Don’t focus all your energy making your site look pretty and forget about your actual message.
Do you have calls to action that speak to your customers?
People can’t read your mind “If you want something, you have to ask for it” and that definitely applies to website design. If you want more newsletter subscribers, you have to show them where to sign up for your list. If you want more sales calls, you need to tell them that they can “CALL US TODAY!” So whether you want visitors to buy your product or eat at your restaurant, show them how to do it without making them think.
Is your website usable?
Don’t you hate it when you get to a website and all you want is directions to their location? Can you navigate your own website? If you’re making it hard to find basic information it doesn’t matter how pretty your website is. People want to find what they’re looking for, and they want to find it quickly. Your website design needs to make it easy to move from one page to another with clear navigation, buttons and breadcrumbs. Your site structure should be easy to follow throughout a customer’s visit. The fonts you use should be readable, your links need to work, and your page loads should be fast.
So how does your website stack against your competition? What can you do to improve your website experience for your customers?
About The Author: Kevin Watts
Kevin Watts is the founder of Raincross, a premier web design, development and digital marketing agency headquartered in Riverside, CA.
Kevin got his start in online marketing and website design by working for some of the most prominent names in online retail. He's most recognized for helping to start e-commerce retailer Organize.com in 1998, and spent 12 years running the company's e-commerce and online marketing operations. He has been recognized and has received several online retail, marketing and merchandising awards throughout his career.
Kevin grew up in Riverside, CA and graduated from the University of Wyoming. In his spare time, Kevin is an avid fly-fisherman, college football fan, and enjoys spending time with his son Matthew, daughter Kate and wife Lindsey.
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