In 2017, it goes without saying that your website is the centerpiece of your business’s online presence. The first priority of your site is to provide people with information. When a potential customer learns of your existence and wants to know more, chances are they’re going to google you or type in your web address in order to see what it is that you have to offer. If you do not have a website, or you have a site that is poorly designed and hard to navigate (arguably worse than no site at all), you might be inadvertently pushing people away. So, while everyone and their mom knows that a website is necessary, it can still be tricky to decide how to design said website and what it’s content should be. This is where I come in. There a ton of different methods and platforms for building websites these days, way more than can be covered in one blog post. However, I’d like to briefly focus your attention on 5 general design guidelines that I believe all business owners will find useful, regardless of how they go about building their website.
1) Your site should be clean
“Clean” is an ambiguous term, but it makes for a great analogy (I love analogies!). Here’s why; When a person visits your website, its as though they have just walked through the front door of your house or apartment. However, unlike your home, where you would typically know exactly when to expect company, your website will have random unannounced visitors twenty four seven 365. So unfortunately, you can’t run around tidying up 20 minutes before guests arrive. Your website has to be presentable and always ready to serve anyone that just so happens to stop by. In a more literal context, this means your website’s content should be well organized, contain clear calls to action, be easy to navigate, have high quality imagery that fits your brand aesthetic, and incorporate conventional design principles.
2) Your site should have at least one Clear Call To Action
If the first thing people are looking for when they go to a website is information, I’d say a close second is a clear way of engaging with you. The way that you enable that engagement is with a well written call to action (aka, a “CTA”). A CTA is exactly what it sounds like: an invitation for a user of your site to take a specific action that is in alignment with your marketing goals. A lot of websites by DIY entrepreneurs are attractive and informative, but leave out this vital element. When someone reads your site, they shouldn’t have to wonder “that was nice, but what now?”. You want to purposefully craft the user experience (google “user experience” if you’ve never heard that term before) in a way in which they know exactly what action they can take next to support your brand. The actions themselves can be as varied as signing up for your email list or making a donation to your nonprofit’s fundraising campaign.
3) Your site should load as quickly as possible
As a citizen of the internet, you’ve probably experienced the following at some point or another: you find a website that you’re interested in visiting, you click on the link, and ….you wait. If you’re like most people, you’re gone in a matter of seconds. You want to avoid this at all costs! Understanding how to avoid this requires a bit of technical know how but bare with me. See, whenever someone visits a website, their web browser (whether it be Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or something else) has to download all of the images and video content embedded in the site. That means that the larger the size of the content, the longer it takes to load. This usually becomes a problem for most entrepreneurs when they get the beautiful high resolution shots from the photographer and put them directly on to their pages without any compression or editing. The simple solution to this is to optimize your pictures by lowering the quality to a point where it is still visually acceptable (it doesn’t have to be ugly), but not larger than 100-150kb.
4) Your site should be Mobile Friendly
You are probably aware that more and more people are spending serious amounts of time browsing the internet with their phones. However, what you may not be aware of is that Google is actually penalizing websites that are not mobile device friendly! Particularly, if your website isn’t mobile friendly it makes you less likely to show up in search results! Thankfully, most templates and DIY sites have some level of mobile friendliness right out of the box, but it is definitely something you should still be aware of, especially if you’re seeking the services of a web designer.
5) Your Site should be designed by IHSAAN MARKETING
Ok, so this fifth one is a bit self-serving and light hearted, but let me pitch you for a second. When you hire a design professional like myself, you don’t have to worry about any of the first four things on this list because it all comes as part of the package! My approach to building web sites integrates brand identity, marketing goals, and the functionality specifically tailored to your brand. If that sounds good to you, you can set up a FREE consultation by contacting me today. 🙂
Thanks for reading! Is there anything I missed that you would like to add? Do you have any questions or concerns related to websites? Comment below! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the IHSAAN MARKETING mailing list for more tips and useful info!