You need a new website?
Before going any further ask yourself a few essential questions…
This will help your web designer understand your requirements and the complexity of site you will need.
Why do you need it?
Why do you want it?
What was wrong with the old one?
Is it to replace an old outdated site?
Is it a completely new site?
Is it for new products or services?
Did your old site bring in enquiries?
What do you actually want it to do and what is its purpose going to be?
• Showcase products/services in an easy to navigate and attractive way.
• Impress would-be clients and demonstrate the work done for other businesses.
• Tell visitors who you are and how you work.
• Does it need an integrated blog site?
• Does it need a shop/e-commerce?
• Generate a database of interested contacts.
• Do you want to be able to add pages and update the content as and when I required.
• Are you driving traffic from social media or will you use pay per click?
• Are your prospective customers searching for your products and services or are they checking you out for validation from referrals!
The only real reason we all want a web presence is to generate leads and business.
Its great having an all singing all dancing website – but how will people know about it and find it among the millions of similar services and companies…?
So how do you help people find your site?
Here are a few tips –
- Good basic keywords and pages optimisation, easy site map and navigation and content!
- Relevant, interesting, engaging content that Google will love!
- Good copy. Don’t blind the reader with technical information or try to impress with ‘big’ words to look clever. Using a professional copywriter is ideal and will be cost effective in the long run.
- Organise the information into logical sections that you want to appear on the website.
- Use your own images, if possible, too many stock images are a giveaway, photos of the actual people or the products promote identification and encourage trust.
- Keep your branding consistent as with any of your marketing material.
- Don’t forget a call to action, easy and simple for the user to follow and obtain exactly what they want quickly and with as less fuss as possible.
Starting with a basic map of essential pages and sections to help the web developer arrange and plan how to build the proposed content into a working, functional site that will do what you want it to do and be easy to navigate for visitors.
This is a very important tip – Organise your pages and work out what content you want to use and how many pages you will need. Use stickies and then move them to where the they will work best. A menu usually only has 5 tabs but you can add more pages in drop down menus. Make sure you are happy and they have a logical flow. Your web designer will discuss this with you (I hope!) and make suggestions. Deliver your content to the web designer in labelled files that contain all text and images for each section/tab ie “About Us” etc. For a designer to receive all the content for each individual page and not have to sort it and accidentally use the wrong image in the wrong section will save you time and money.
Over complicated websites will most likely be counterproductive and the bounce rate will be high as no one will bother to stay long enough to work it out!
Remember – while the building blocks and the structure is down to the web developer, the content required is down to you! The web developer can’t build your web site with no content!
This list will hopefully be useful for compiling the content you need and as a check list to ensure your website has all the necessary elements that ensure usability and of course increase the SEO.
Certain points on this list are debatable and as a designer I would be flexible on positioning of graphic elements but bow to those who have stats of tried and tested results!
Of course websites will need to be constantly updated and always work-in-progress!
This is only a guide and not it any particular order…
- Logo on left linked to home page
- Search box on top right (if you want one)
- Prominent contact details above the fold!!
- Landline & address increases trust & belief for legitimate business
- Consistent branding
- Good relevant Content
- Bespoke images if possible
- Testimonials for social proof
- Call to action
- Readable text – size & text to background contrast font size & spacing
- Not too much flash/sliders
- Links to relevant pages
- Consistent style of links
- Good navigation
- Clear navigation labels
- Sharing buttons for social media
- Accreditations pictures delivering trust signals (staff and employees)
- Copyright symbols
- Analytics tracking codes installed
- Images with alt tags
- Keywords as file names
- Friendly URLS
- HTML page title makes sense
- Only one H1 on any page
- Integrated blog page with comment facility
- Mobile Responsive
Ensure there is a good load time – it is said that you should be able to view and take in a good Homepage in 5 seconds, if not the chances are you will lose that traffic straight away!
Keeping all these points in mind your website should tick all the right boxes and start working for you. Hindsight however is a wonderful thing but luckily amendments can always be made if an essential element is missing or forgotten although too many and it either gets costly or your web developer starts to get very red in the face or refuses to answer your calls!
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