Creating a Website that Promotes Engagement
One of the first steps in establishing a digital presence is creating an attractive and easy-to-use website. Did you know it takes less than one second for someone visiting your website to form an opinion on whether they like it or not? This ultimately translates into whether or not they want to stay on your site or move their search elsewhere, to a competitor’s page?
Remember, about 65% of shoppers will do an online price check while in store to make sure they are getting the best deal. Will they be able to easily access the information they are looking for in order to make that decision in your favor?
These questions highlight the importance of a well-designed website. You don’t just want to have a website - you want one that is aesthetically pleasing and brings in the potential customers that you want and need.
To do this effectively, you first have to make sure that your corporate branding is thoughtfully created with cohesive colors, fonts, logos, tag lines, and imagery. For even more tips regarding this, check out our recent blog on branding here.
There are quite a few platforms that will help you build and host your website, if you're building it yourself. These will also offer easy-to-use templates, complete with customer support. Before making a final decision, make sure to consider all of the elements that you want to include on your page and can choose one that fits your needs best. One crucial question is, “Will the site be responsive?” For example, if someone is using their smartphone, will the elements readjust automatically or will they have to scroll and pinch to see your information? With a larger percentage of people using their smartphones than desktops to browse, you need to make sure that your site is responsive.
Another question to ask is, “If you’re wanting to add video, does this platform support adding multimedia?” People gravitate towards images and videos that help tell a story. Include these on your site to make it more personable and attractive. Be sure everything is clear and consistent throughout your website so all content, be it copy or visuals, provides cohesive messaging. The last thing you want is for someone to leave your website not knowing who you are or what you do.
Consider your previous experience when visiting other websites and what you liked or didn't like about them when building your site. Remember to keep your message and customer experience at the forefront of your planning and design.
BRANDING: Follow your color, font, and image schema so everything on your page ties together. Use cohesive design elements to make sure everything flows together and is easy to follow. You want users to leave your page knowing exactly who you are and what you do. To expand on this even more, always keep things consistent. Create your style guide and then follow it! If that means Helvetica font, size 12, bolded, and underlined; then make sure that everywhere you want to highlight something on that level that you utilize Helvetica font, size 12, bolded, and underlined. Keep the same margins, font alignment, type of voice (passive, first person, second person, etc.).
LAYOUT: A quality layout design would be attractive, easy-to-read, and unique to you and your company. This helps viewers focus on the meat of the content, instead of distracting them with too many graphics and unnecessary text. Ease of using and navigating your pages and website as a whole should be tested (and retested!) to eliminate obstacles and potential user confusion. This will make sure your page is one that a user will use and come back to.
NAVIGATION: Keep your navigation path and options simple. One to five tabs across the top will keep things from getting cluttered or if you have more pages to link to, use a collapsible side menu. Reduce redundancies by organizing your pages in the simplest and most logical places. You want to make your website easy to use and understand, not a maze that users struggle through trying to navigate.
FONTS: Use a clean, easy to read font. Ideally, this would be one that is from your logo and a part of your brand guidelines. (You can read more about that here). Choose one font family and stick with that, or if you want more diversity, choose one font for your headings and one for the body text. You don’t want to clutter your page or make it look like it was made by different people and just thrown together. Consistency is key and is vital to making your site look professional and approachable.
KEYWORDS: Consider how people will be searching for you, meaning key words and topics. Be sure to include these keywords on your website, home page, and any other accessible place. What is first on your page is what search engines like Google look at first when inspecting your website. This helps build your SEO (search engine optimization), which is a bigger topic for another day, but very important. This is a way to increase your audience and make sure you are visible to people searching online.
IMAGERY: Customers are able to connect with personalized content much better than with stock images. Give a face to the name of your company and your team by including photos taken at and of your business and team. If you need to utilize stock images as well, choose photos and graphics that look like they came from the same place with similar lighting and effects. People love to make a connection with who they are working or communicating with. Make sure you appear approachable and relatable. This will draw in an even larger audience!
CALL TO ACTION: One of the most important parts of digital marketing is getting people to engage with your brand. You don’t want someone to just look at your website and leave without placing an order, contacting you or leaving feedback. Do you have a product? Make a button that says “Order Now”. Are you offering a service? Tell them why they need to talk to you and how they can get in contact with you by including a “Connect With Us Today!” link.
UPDATE OFTEN: If you post events on your site, make sure they stay up to date. More importantly, make sure your content is staying up to date. Visit your site every so often to see what your customers are seeing and consider how you can make their user experience better. Keep your team photos current and update your highlighted photos every few months. Make each visit to your website relevant and exciting to encourage people to come again rather than leaving with the thought of, “Oh, I saw that last time.” An up to date website means continued traffic and re-visits.
REVIEWS: Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the best ways to get your name out there. As you encourage your happy customers to spread the word to their friends and family, make sure to include their good reviews on your website for others as well. When sifting through options for goods or services, the praises of others can shift the scales of decision. People want to know what (and who) they are buying or signing up for.
If you need help with a website or any other aspect of digital marketing, we are here to help. Connect with us today!