Designing a website – Beauty Isn’t Skin Deep!
Levels of online research have increased dramatically over the last decade, both by consumers who go on to buy online and those that purchase in-store. In the UK the internet has become the starting point for 40% of all consumers who end up purchasing in store or via a call centre.*
The number of people going online to research products, businesses and organisations before committing to a purchase continues to grow. If you want to make it easier for potential customers to find, learn and be sold about your business online, the logical first step may be to set up a website.
Here are 3 key considerations in building a website for your business:
What action do you want the reader to take? An effective website has a clear “call to action” on each page. For example, many websites display a prominent graphic with a phone number, so visitors immediately have contact information. Other websites feature a form that lets visitors submit preliminary information for a price quote. A slightly more advanced technique would be for the user to land on a dynamic page, dependent on the keywords they have searched with. This means that the user finds a specific product, category or special offer tailored to their search.
What is your Unique Selling proposition? Your business is unique and your website should reflect exactly what it is that makes your business so. Highlight your differentiators to help you further stand out from the competition.
When building a website, think about your brand and try to include some form of psychological trigger or emotional benefit that the user can relate to and give them an extra special sense of appreciation or achievement for being associated with your product.
If your business is the only business in a 50 mile radius that specialises in a certain field, then make sure that you can be found by people searching within that area, and make sure that anyone who finds you by accident is also aware of how unique you are.
How much time, money, and expertise can you invest in launching and maintaining an online presence? Your website is an additional marketing channel for your business and as such requires investment, so budget accordingly. There are plenty of options for hiring web designers to develop and update your site, but if you have time to invest in your website, you can save money with a do-it-yourself solution. There are many good template design solutions available; Getting British Business Online being one that allows you to set up a website without a lot of technical or design skills.
Don’t overlook the fact that although the website cost is essentially free, your time is not. The time involved in setting up a professional looking and easy to use website can be demanding.
Things to Consider When You Start Building Your Business Website
After you have clarified your website’s USP, your conversion goals and the level of investment you will be placing in your online presence, you need to take some time to consider the following:
Before you can launch your site, you will need a domain name (the online address of your site), a hosting provider (to store the content of your site), website building software (to allow you to create and modify pages) and, unless you are going to design the site yourself, website design services. A web development company will be able to provide all of these as part of their services.
Designing your site.
How is your website going to represent your business online? Should it be professional and simple or sleek and modern? Do a search for award winning websites and do some research into what they are doing well and then consider if some of those elements will fit with your USP.
Think about the user experience and how they will navigate around the site. Make it as easy as possible for the user to access the information they need by directing your visitors through your site leading them to follow through on your call to action.
Try to use plenty of white space and well contrasted colour schemes to aid readability.
Create your content.
Designing a website is one thing, having the website full of useful, relevant and compelling content is another thing altogether. Creating this content can be just as demanding on your time as the website design itself.
The content needs to give the users the information they need in order to make a judgement on your business, your ability to provide the service and ultimately whether they like and trust you enough to work with you.
The written word is very, very powerful but so is the use of imagery and video online. If you have the ability to add some creative media to your website design in keeping with theme, then do so as this can help engage certain user groups online.
Using relevant, descriptive content is also important to the search engines as this describes what your site is about so it can be indexed in the correct place online for targeted users to find you. For more information about the importance of online content, read our post on search engine optimisation.