With technology continually evolving, staying on top of the latest website trends is a daunting task. As brick and mortar retail and real-time in-person lead generation continue to transition to the digital landscape, now more than ever is a great time to invest in your digital presence. However, simply updating and maintaining your website without a proper game plan is not enough. Follow the guide below to ensure your website is ready to convert leads into revenue and sales.
Building a website that leaves your competitors in the dust starts with a solid foundation. Just as no house is ever built without a plan or no war is ever fought without a strategy, the same is true in web development. Start by reviewing how many users on average view your existing site or how many viewers you might expect to view your site per month. This will give you a trendline for what type of web hosting plan you should have. Having a proper hosting plan in place will ensure your site doesn’t get bogged down or go offline for any reason. Cheep or inadequate hosting can be detrimental to overall site performance.
If you do not currently have a URL in place, secure your domain immediately. Be sure to purchase an SSL certification as well to ensure all information and data remains secure on your website. For security and speed, consider using a CND (content distribution network) as well such as Cloudflare. A fast loading site will avoid frustration, keeping users on your pages, filling out forms, and purchasing items.
Deciding the long term goals and functionality of your site is important. Setting future goals and objectives could save you thousands of dollars over time. For example: If you know in the future you will be investing in a custom-tailored CRM or platform (such as Magento), going with a custom programmed website may be your best option. You will only have to reconstruct your website down the road to integrate, perhaps costing you a larger investment. Custom-developed sites offer endless possibilities both long and short term including proprietary options specific to your businesses/consumers’ needs.
If you are not in need of a customized solution then WordPress might be your best option. A robust site built on the WordPress platform offers great design options, easy editing capabilities, and a faster turnaround build time as opposed to a customized website. From informational websites with contact captures to larger eCommerce websites with many SKUs, WordPress has countless plug-ins to bring your vision to life. These sites are easy to digitally market, from SEO optimization to Pay Per Click advertising efforts, WordPress based websites can meet many objectives.
A well-designed website helps to strengthen your brand persona, aids in trust and loyalty, and guides prospects through the sales funnel seamlessly. As stated earlier, when envisioning your new website or redesigned iteration, it’s important to construct a site map. This will help you understand what pages will appear on the site as well as any important content that must make its way to the final version. Hero images, above the fold call to actions, contact captures, and all goal completions should all be considered in this stage. At a later date, content optimization can be performed on all content to ensure its read to rank in the search engines (SERPs), helping your website to easily be found.
Consideration of how your website will appear on a mobile device is important. Google and other search engines now rank sites using many factors which now include mobile user experience and overall speed. If you have large images or videos on your site that automatically load, it may slow down the loading of your website and cause user fatigue or frustration. Additionally, important buttons such as “Shop Now”, “Get Started” or “Contact Us” along with important information such as phone numbers and addresses should have hierarchy on mobile browsers. This will enable the end-user to quickly get to the end result, turning over a quick sale/conversion.
On both desktop and mobile, you want to avoid a maze in your navigational structure. Simple, clean navigation is always the best approach. Consider the end-user and where their journey might take them within the structure of your site. Avoid unnecessary submenus and flyouts. Boiling down your navigation to the most important elements will ensure users quickly find their way to a goal completion.
After a solid site map and navigational structure is laid out, now is the time to consider overall content on your website. Supplemental content leveraging pre-existing case studies, testimonials, FAQ’s and about’s help tell your brand story and build consumer trust. It is vital all top-level information makes its way to the front or home page. Categorical pages should be organized in a fashion that best meets your brand’s overall objectives. Knowing your target audience is vital in the content direction as this makes it easy to tailor messaging specific to your consumer’s needs.
Lastly, keeping consistent brand vernacular, iconography, and visual vanguard throughout the site is key to telling your story. Don’t go overboard with theme options or distracting visual elements and animations. Make sure the look and feel of all photography are consistent in art direction and scale. All typography should be on brand and consistent throughout the site. Avoid decorative typefaces for body copy or large strings of copy for easy readability.
Keeping in mind your overall goals and objectives for your website from your initial plan and you have a solid investment that will pay off for years to come. If you have questions or concerns on how to bring your digital vision to life? Feel free to get in touch with us, we love to chat about online business goals (800) 978-3417.