Building a Website: The Dos and Don’ts.

Building a Website: The Dos and Don’ts.

If you have a business and do not have a website, then chances are, you’re losing out. A website is an integral part of your business and provides the perfect opportunity to showcase your offerings to the public and also provides guidance on how they can contact you to find out more information.

Generally, websites are cost effective and act as a constant place-holder for your business which is accessible at any time. In this day and age, not having a website can make your business look less credible. Using various online and offline marketing efforts to drive traffic to your website will ultimately lead to increased sales and improve your bottom line.

With all that being said, nowadays it is simply not good enough to have a generic placeholder website that doesn’t offer a good user experience, has outdated information and looks like it was created in 1999. Real-time and effort needs to be given to your website before and during the development stage.

I’m guessing that you are reading this because you are taking the leap and you’re having a website built or redesigned. Here at BlueChief we recently re-designed our website and I thought I would draw on our experience by sharing with you some tips on what to do and what not to do when building yours.

 

When building a website

Do:

 

Start planning as early as possible

Give real consideration as to what you want from your site. How do you want to be portrayed online? Ensure that your site represents you and your brand. The last thing you want is a disconnect between your site and your brand. Invest plenty of time planning in the lead-up to development to guarantee your website matches your brand.

Focus on what’s important

When starting out creating your website, set out the goals/focus of the website before doing anything else. This will ensure that you don’t get distracted by fancy features and design, and end up with a website that’s miles away from what you originally intended to create. Keep it clear and concise, and keep referencing back to that focus throughout development.

 

Call to Action. WebsiteOptimize your CTA’s

 

One of the most important features of any website is your call to action. This needs to not only be an appropriate CTA for your business but also be phrased in the correct manner. Try not to come across as too self-promoting(even though you are). Additionally, care needs to be given to the location of these CTA’s. By placing them in prominent areas of your site, it will help ensure that you get the maximum opportunities for potential conversions.

Make it digestible

Unfortunately these days, the majority of users will not read every single sentence that you put on your site, nor will they spend 5 minutes trying to figure out who you are. To combat this, certify that your website is set-up to be “easily scanned” by the appropriate use of headings and that your company message is being conveyed to the user throughout the website. This ensures that even a quick user, who quickly brushes through your site in a minute, will still know who you are, and what you do.

Keep it simple

 A key rule. As mentioned above, users will not spend a large amount of time on your site. Keep functionality and design additions to a minimum, only adding when needed. By adhering to this rule, it will mean that your key message/service/product is the centre of attention and is not being lost in the vast range of major and minor offerings. When designing your website, outline the key offerings that you want to display, making sure it aligns to your goals, and cut out anything and everything that doesn’t immediately benefit those goals.

Words matter

Keeping with the simplicity theme, (it really matters!) be stringent with your words. When creating the content for the BlueChief homepage, we had a 30-minute argument about a word, that ended up not even being on the site in the finish. The point of this is that we were ensuring that every single piece of text that we put on the site adhered to our brand, our team and the website goals that we set out at the start. If you’re a fun SME, then don’t talk like a serious multinational. When a user views your site, they must get an accurate view of your company, and this battle is won and lost with words.

Utilize your network

Something that looks perfect to you, might appear terrible to another. This is why you circulate a beta version of the website pre-launch, to test and evaluate what you’ve created. It is best to give this access to people that are external from your company, as to receive impartial feedback. If you know a few particularity harsh people, the better, as they are the contacts that will highlight the problems that you need to fix. Yes, there WILL be problems, no matter how good you are.

Don’t:

 

Make everything an image

 Imagery is important on a site, especially in 2016. That said, don’t go overboard with them. Not only does this dilute and confuse the message that you’re trying to convey, but it seriously affects the loading time of a website. Even if you have plenty of amazing pictures at your disposal, it will do you more bad than good. Don’t underestimate white space.

Make everything text

 Lo and behold, using just text has an equally negative impact on your website. Wall to wall text will just make the user skip everything, and again, your message will get lost in the mess. You can clarify your offerings in a concise manner, which will not distract or overwhelm the user with needless information. Less IS more. For example, if you go to our homepage, we used a nice mix of images and text but refrained from relying too heavily on either.

Make users search for something

 A user should not have to spend a minute trying to find a page, piece of content or information. You should make it painfully obvious on the home page where a user should go to get the what they require. Also, consider the number of clicks the user will need to make in order to get to this information. If you’re going over 3 clicks to get to a contact page, you’re doing something very wrong. This all said, do include a search bar on your site, as people do still like to have the option.

 

website misrepresentationMisrepresent yourself

 Be exactly who you are. Potential customers, that get lured in by a flashy multinational corporate website, only to find out that you’re actually a sole trader operating out of a garage isn’t exactly going to help convert them. Ensure that the content that you put on the website represents you completely.

Think the first version is enough

The first iteration of a website is not going to be perfect. If you accept that rule, you’ll be in a better position moving forward. Everything may not be perfect before your first launch, and it might not be realistic to implement all your planned features and functions. Test what you have, ensure that you have at least achieved your MVP (minimum viable product) and publish. Then set out a timeline for continual updates throughout the coming months.

Forget to tell people

 Why put all that work into building a fantastic website, and then not tell anyone about it? Create a launch strategy for a few weeks pre-launch and several weeks post-launch. Make accommodations for soft and hard launches (you might have them), and write them into your strategy also. 

Why put all that work into building a fantastic website, and then not tell anyone about it? Create a launch strategy for a few weeks pre-launch and several weeks post-launch. Make accommodations for soft and hard launches (you might have them), and write them into your strategy also. 

mobile optimisationForget to make the site optimised for mobile

A recent report from Similar Web shows that mobile drives 56 Percent of traffic to top sites. This figure is going to continue to rise. With over ⅔’s of your audience visiting on mobile devices, it’s hugely important that you optimize your site for mobile. Failing to do so will create a really crappy experience for your visitors. This, in turn, will likely result in them not returning to your site.

I hope that this information was useful and that you come out the other side with a kick-ass website. Please feel free to get in touch when your website is complete, we would love to see the finished product.