You just started your own company and for the longest time, you’ve been contemplating whether to have a website or not. For start-ups, having a user-friendly website is one of the most fulfilling investments to have. In the long run, it is more cost-effective and obviously, people are glued almost 24/7 to the Internet—it’s the first place that your target audience will look into when they are looking for your product or service.
Don’t rush in creating your business website. You’ve got to know what you want to effectively deliver the message of your brand. Designing and producing a website does not happen overnight and you’ve got to consider the details—the elements that should be present so that once a user come across your site, it will create a positive impression and experience.
There are specific essential elements that every business website must have in order to please their visitor. These include:
Don’t underestimate the power of a creative URL. Your address should emulate your brand and as much as possible, make it simple and short. People don’t want to type long addresses on the address bar. It should be simple so that users can type it easily and of course, for faster recall.
More so, have .com for your address because it is associated with business. Unless you want it to go local (.ph, .jp, etc.) or you are running an organization, have a .org to create distinction.
The homepage should speak volumes
This is the path to entering your world so you need to impress the visitors. Use big and professional images in your homepage; but don’t ignore the content. Your content should be clear and concise; your visitor must be able to get your message in 2 seconds. Highlight your unique selling point (USP) and use call-to-action (CTA) words (usually verbs) to entice them to browse on your site.
Both elements must be enticing to pique the interest of the visitor and make them eager to learn more about your offers. Emphasize what your product or service can do for them. Craft a compelling text copy and accompany it with relevant images. If necessary, use large font size (to emphasize points) and have an overall color scheme for the whole site.
Don’t you just hate it when a website is crowded with texts, tabs, and pop-ups? Nothing will drive your visitors away than complicated website and navigation. You want them to go the ‘Services’ tab so make it easy for them. Your customers should know where to look for the things that they want.
Make your menus clear, accessible, and easy to understand. It should be on the proper landing pages. Your site is not a maze (unless it really is) so don’t make your visitors hunt for the prize. In website navigation, consistency is the key.
Multiple browser compatibility
Users will view your website in different platforms—Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer—so make sure that it will look good, load fast and function well in all of them. Talk to your web developer about this.
While we are on this subject, you should also consider making your website mobile-friendly. People and more people browse on their smart phones so as much as possible, make your site mobile responsive so that when it loads on a mobile device, it will look good, and function just the same on a desktop. In creating a mobile-friendly site, remember this rule: KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Social media connectivity
Social media is the fastest and easiest channel to share and acquire information nowadays so you might want to integrate it in your site. Of course, you also need to have social media pages to achieve this.
Make it easy for your visitors to share the information that they found on your site. Put share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. on your site. You might also want to encourage them to follow you on social media.
Security matters especially if you have an e-commerce site. Visitors want to feel secure when they are shopping and you can give them that by having site SSL certified. This is the most reliable form of encryption for communications. You can explore TrustE, DigiCert, GeoTrust, to name just a few
Your website is not a brochure. You want to give your visitors the opportunity to get to know your product or service so give them a reason to. Create a long term engagement with your visitors by having updated content that’s worth their time. Have a blog because that’s how you create engagement and improve visibility in search engines.
Websites that were produced a year ago are probably using HTML4 or XHTML. However, these days, search engines favor mostly HTML5 websites. This doesn’t mean though that you should restructure your whole site (remember the element above). If your site is built on the old version of WordPress and Drupal, it can still be indexed by using HTML5.
As much as possible though, build your site based on HTML5 because it can embed your videos and content better. It also has better options for plug-ins; but the main reason is to improve your search engine ranking.
Fast load time
According to the New York Times, majority of users will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds. When visitors leave your site, there’s a high possibility that they won’t come back thus losses for your business.
Talk to your web developer on how to have a fast-loading site because today, this is a non-negotiable requirement.
It is not enough that your business has a website. It pays to review it every now and then to de-clutter the non-essential elements. Constantly develop your site to keep up with the times and to optimize its performance. In business, a more streamlined site generates more sales.
Aside from these elements, you should also pay attention to details like color, typography, space and images because these little things can often make or break the overall design and adds to value to the experience of the user.