A business’ website often serves as the first impression for potential clients, customers, and even future employees. We all know having a quality site is critical, but figuring out what separates the good sites from the bad (and truly horrible) can be difficult.
To help you get your online presence in-line with your vision, here are some tips.
1. Function First
The first characteristic of a great website is usefulness. No matter how beautifully the images are rendered, or how great your custom font looks, your site isn’t going to win any fans if it doesn’t provide a critical function. There needs to be a benefit associated with using the site, or it is only wasting space.
That doesn’t mean your site needs a lot of fancy features. In fact, it’s fine if the sites sole purpose is to provide access to information about your business. Just make sure that all of the relevant information is provided, and that accessing different sections of your website follows a logical pattern.
2. Intuitive Navigation
To make visitors to your site feel welcomed to your site, you must have your navigation in proper order. Potential customers shouldn’t have to hunt for the main information. Make sure your menus and navigation links clearly state what viewers can expect to find where. If you are going to combine multiple pages into menu sections, make sure there is a common thread between every page.
3. Contact and About Us
Another universal requirement is the inclusion of two vital pages: Contact and About Us. On the first, you need to provide an easy way for customers to reach you. This can include a simple web form or a list of methods, such as email addresses, phone numbers, and physical locations. Nothing is more frustrating than finding out about an exciting business but having no way to reach out.
The About Us page helps potential clients understand what your business and site are all about. Include an overview of the nature of the business and the nature of your missions and goals.
Security should be a primary concern for any site, especially if you are selling your products online. Having an SSL certificate in place should be considered mandatory for online sellers. You can explore a range of options from a variety of companies like VeriSign to find an option that works for you.
5. Make SEO Work for You
If you want your site to appear when people search for certain keywords, then you need to understand how to use search engine optimization (SEO) to your advantage. All major search engines have criteria in place to help separate helpful sites from spam. When sites don’t properly manage their content based on SEO, they may find their site disappearing into a sea of other options.
However, you don’t have to be an SEO expert to make this work. Top web design companies often include SEO services as an offering. That way, you can have a professional make sure your site is presented in the best way possible to draw in traffic.
6. Make it Mobile
Many businesses focus on how their site looks on through a computer browser without considering the mobile experience. With the number of people using smartphones and tablets to find information, neglecting this demographic can be a grave mistake.
If you expect a lot of mobile traffic, you may want to design a second version of your site just based on the mobile experience. Otherwise, just making sure it works may be enough. Go through the menus, access different internal links, and see how the pages display. If the results are difficult (or impossible) to read and use, then it is time for some changes.
7. Including Social Media Isn’t Always the Right Move
Most advice says to connect your social media pages immediately. However, if you don’t have a lot of followers or likes, these pages may actually hurt your chances at scoring new business. Some people assume that a lack of fans means there is something wrong with the business. If your social media sites are new, concentrate on building those fan bases separately and only include links when you have an established account.
Otherwise, feel free to leave social media off entirely. Not all businesses work well on these platforms, so feel free to choose only the options that make sense for your industry.