At this point, you would be hard-pressed to name a single successful business that doesn’t have any sort of web presence. Whether it’s a website, a social media page, or even just a twitter account, most businesses have had to either join the internet or watch their profits plummet. Yet, when you start a business, you may find that creating the perfect website for your customers can be much more difficult than you expected.
So, here’s the crash course to creating an effective and visually impressive website. At the very least it will help you to avoid the rookie mistakes that most internet users complain about. Remember, your website should be a reflection of your brand, your products, and your customers.
If you’re just starting out, it’s best to use a service that will let you create a website, or websites, for free. However, your website should be as scalable as your business, so you’ll want to choose a website builder that provides premium features that can add value to your website and business.
I recommend Weebly. Weebly is a free service, with the option of paying for premium tools that can help you improve your website. Also, Weebly provides countless other services to make managing your website a hassle-free experience, such as mobile access, built-in marketing, and other helpful features.
Templates and Themes
One of the crucial mistakes that can cause frustrating user experiences is using a template or theme on your website that simply doesn’t work. If you scan through the websites of many a failed business, you’ll come across countless broken links, unclickable choices, and text display errors.
That’s because often, business owners will choose a template that is very visually appealing. The thought process is that if the design seems to have a lot of production value, it must be effective as well. Instead, do your research and make sure that the theme you’ve chosen really works before you design an entire website around it. That isn’t to say that a theme can’t be effective and appealing. There are plenty of websites that provide excellent Weebly themes that have already been optimized for the service.
One of the questions you should be asking yourself as you design your website is, “What are my customers looking for when they access my site?” Having a beautiful template is great and all, but if you don’t have enough quality content to put into it your website won’t be serving its purpose.
The pages should be set up according to the questions your customers would have. If your website reads like a brochure, you may have not given enough thought to your content. All copy on your website should sound professional and compelling. Also, be careful not to clutter your pages up with irrelevant or low-quality images.
Every single thing on each page should be working to either answer a potential customer question, to grow your brand, or to sell your products.
You may be tempted to pack your website to the brim with relevant images and quality copy, but in website design, as in life, less is more. 500 images of your products would ostensibly overwhelm the majority of visitors to your page. Not to mention that in high quantities it can be hard to maintain quality. A picture tells a thousand words, so try to find a picture that displays your product or company the best. One great picture works more in your favor than ten average pictures.
Also, be clear about what your company is and what your website is for. If you haven’t mentioned or shown the service you provide or the products you sell within the initially loaded part of your home page, you’re already on the wrong track. Don’t let your customers be distracted by flashy designs or fancy animations. Keep it simple, but do it well.
Your website serves a purpose for your business. If someone scrolls through your site, the idea is to get them to purchase your products. Even if your site is getting a million views a day, if you can’t convert those views into sales it hasn’t served its purpose. You need to develop a clear Call-to-Action, meaning that every page on your site should contain a phrase, link, or option to purchase. You want to entice viewers to become customers, and it’s always better to make it absolutely clear how they can contribute to your business or take advantage of your services.
So theres your crash course. Remember to keep it simple, but do it well. A well designed website can increase your sales or following, but only if your content is effective and clear.