When it comes to designing and launching your own website as a web novice, it can be more than just a little bit daunting. Should you go for a CMS or a website builder? Should you go for a templated design or go bespoke? It can be quite the headache.
With modern day trends showing that people’s attention spans are now shorter than ever, it’s never been more important to ensure that your website catches the eye of visitors. So, how do you go about creating a website that garners attention and repeated visits, helping to drive sales and customer loyalty?
Here are six things you ought to keep in mind if you’re thinking of designing a website for your small business.
1) Responsive is king
As well as being a benefit for your rankings in mobile searches, having a mobile-friendly, responsive website should be something to consider straight away. If you think having a flat HTML website that doesn’t adapt to different devices will fly in 2016, you should think again.
Opting for a responsive design gives you the opportunity to offer a seamless experience to your mobile visitors and when 2015 mobile traffic take over desktop traffic, it isn’t an audience you can ignore. Luckily, there are a lot of responsive CMS themes out there, so just be sure to do some research and find the right one for your business.
2) Making an SEO-friendly website is still important
For any web marketer out there, it’s almost a daily routine to read an article about the “death of SEO”, which isn’t true. The only death in the field has been of old, spammy SEO – quality SEO is still as important as ever.
Choosing an SEO-friendly design for your website is as important now as it was ten years ago. Using “clean code” helps the indexing of your website, and the less congested and “busy” your website is, the likelier it is that your rankings will benefit, although this is just one of many factors.
3) Your design can either lose or retain visitors
Imagine creating a tonne of engaging content, filled with all the information a visitor could want only for them to be turned away by a less than attractive design. Worse still, how about a sales opportunity slipping by due to the layout making it hard to find the checkout or contact information?
Finding a design that treads the fine line between being easy to use and engaging is something a lot of designers have perfected, so there’s an abundance of different themes out there and bespoke options from those who can build your website from scratch. Be sure to make an informed decision and do plenty of research before you make an investment, however.
4) Images can be game changers
Just as a badly rendered image can damage the quality of your website in the eyes of your visitors, so too can a professionally created image greatly enhance it. It’s the difference between knocking something out on Paint and taking the time to create something really eye-catching in Adobe.
Knowing how and when to place images on your website can provide a great call-to-action to your visitors, whether it’s a photo of your products or an incentive to like and share your social channels. However, it’s just as important to compress your images so that they don’t drag down the load times of your website. Too many images and your page speed will suffer; it’s all about finding a happy medium.
5) You might need to regularly update your design
As already mentioned, the modern web moves at such a fast pace that it can be all too easy to get left behind. Your design might look great in 2016, but what about 2018? Nobody knows what contemporary practice will be like in a couple of years, which is why it’s vital to choose a design that doesn’t hamstring your business going forward.
Ensure that your website is fully up to date with all standard practices, but don’t be reticent to change when the trends start shifting. Leave it too late and you could be left with an outdated website that impacts sales and presents a challenge to update once the time comes.
6) You might like it, your visitors might not
When it comes to objectively reviewing something you’ve created, it’s often the case that although you might feel like it’s truly special, there might be some aspects that are less so, purely because of bias.
This is common when it comes to web design. There are many websites out there that are a little too flashy for what they need to be which has likely impacted on website cost, probably because the designer didn’t seek out a second opinion. Having someone impartial take a look through your website gives you a perspective that you otherwise wouldn’t have; genuine feedback on ways to improve.
If they can find fault, so too will your visitors.