Build a website that unlocks business growth: 3 key questions
Lexi Martel, Co-Founder & CEO of DesDeck
In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for your business to thrive. Your website is the face of your business, your shop window, your catalogue, all rolled into one. It tells your customers about who you are: your personality, what you care about, what you might be like to work with… as well as what you actually do as a business!
An outstanding website will win the attention of your customers and unlock business growth. It will establish credibility and trust. It will set you apart from your competitors. It’s more important than ever! But where do you start?
In this article we outline three key questions to consider when creating a new website for your business:
- How do you choose the right platform?
- How do you create a great first impression?
- How do you ensure a positive user experience?
How do you choose the right platform for your website?
When building a new website, the first decision you need to make is which platform you are going to use. Your choice will directly affect the amount of control you have over your website.
The platforms fall into two distinct types: codeless website builders that you can work yourself, and more advanced platforms that will require technical support from an agency.
If you want to keep costs down and be able to manage your own website, then entry-level web platforms are easy to use and provide a great starting point for new businesses. Highly recommended.
However, you also need to consider your growth potential on the platform. A lot of ‘easy-to-use’ no code platforms lack the page and content management systems that a larger website might need, and their SEO rankings can suffer as a result.
There are a lot of ‘entry-level’ platforms available, and I would recommend that you weigh the pros and cons of each platform in relation to your business needs. But remember: having to change platforms later on will involve starting all over again!
What to look out for in a platform:
- Ease-of-use (can I maintain my own website)
- SEO tools
- Integrations with 3rd party tools
- Content and page management system (this is important if your website has more than 12 pages)
How do you create a great first impression?
The importance of crafting a great first impression online is hard to overstate. Online customers have a deluge of options to choose from, and if they don’t quickly resonate with your website’s message, they’re gone!
Here are three steps to follow to create a great first impression:
1.Identify your primary message
It’s so important to identify a primary message to communicate to your customers with their first impression. With such a small amount of time to work with, your first impression message must be clear and concise. For example if your website is about selling trainers, an online visitor needs to both see visuals of trainers straight away and get signposted to where they might be able to browse further options.
Because you have such a short amount of time to attract your customer’s attention avoid overloading your home or landing page with too much written content. Instead, use visuals to convey your message and the essence of your brand’s personality.
3.Test on your target audience (5-second test)
Recruit participants who are representative of your target audience and conduct the ‘5-second test’. How does it work? Simple! If your participants fail to understand your primary message in 5 seconds, you need to try to improve the clarity of the message.
How do you provide a positive user experience?
A great first impression will improve your click-through rate, meaning that more visitors will choose to browse your website. These are potential customers, and their early browsing experience is a crucial catchment phase. You need to make it as logical and easy as possible for them to find what they are looking for and understand your value proposition.
There are a couple of important factors to consider when designing your user experience:
The quickest and most efficient way of moving through a website is via a well thought-out navigation menu, typically found in a website’s header. A couple of tips to create a great website navigation:
- Create a site map and use it to decide which primary navigation items you need in the top tier of the navigation menu.
- Use short and clear titles in the navigation menu. Long titles tend to look messy on a mobile device and can clutter key areas of a website.
- Limit the number of items at the top tier of the navigation menu. We recommend 6 or 7 at the most.
There are exceptions to this rule but in general keep your copy writing concise and to the point. Too much writing on a page can be off-putting! Instead, use well written headings and shorter, more interesting paragraphs with call-to-actions. This means the reading burden is more appealing, and website visitors can also go on to ‘Read More’ if they wish.
Ensure your website is responsive and mobile friendly
With the majority of internet users now browsing online through their mobile (58% according to statista.com), it is imperative that your website is as easy and intuitive to use on a mobile device as it is on a computer.
This also has the added advantage of helping your SEO. Google now actively penalises websites that aren’t optimised for mobile devices. In fact, alongside website speed it is one of the most important factors in improving your search engine ranking.
You don’t have to get everything perfect first time and your website will likely always be a work in progress. Google and other search engines are constantly updating their algorithms, and your business and your customers are prone to change. So don’t be disheartened if your website does need tweaks here and there. It is perfectly normal.
Just remember: managing and making changes to your website will be easier on some platforms rather than others! Get started on the right foot by choosing the right platform for you, and have the confidence that you will be able to change and improve your website as your business changes and grows.