10 Mar

What are the ingredients of a successful website?

Last year, the number of websites in the world reached 966 million! With so much competition out there it’s never been more important to make sure your website is the best it can be. Whether you already have a website for your business, or you’re planning to build one in the near future, this is what you need for an effective website:

 

Visual Appeal

When it comes to websites, looks are important. Your website is a virtual reflection of your company and visitors will draw conclusions on your professionalism and credibility based on what they see. So how do you go about communicating your business ethos visually? Here are some pointers:

 

  • Use appropriate colours

We respond to colours on an emotional level which makes them powerful tools for communication. Numerous studies have been done showing which emotions are triggered by different colours. For example, blue is a colour associated with trust and honesty. That’s what makes it a particularly popular colour for banks and financial institutions.

 

Spend some time learning about the psychology of colour and how you can use colour to connect with your target market.

 

  • Make it easy on the eyes

There’s nothing more irritating than struggling to read a tiny font on a bright screen. Save your visitors from eye-strain with text that’s easy on the eyes. They’ll be more inclined to spend more time reading through all the content on your site.

 

  • Add a few good-quality graphics

Images are important and when used correctly can capture and hold your audience’s attention. Try to strike a balance between text and graphics and make sure your images are sharp and clear.

 

  • Make good use of white space

A cluttered website will turn your prospective customers off faster than they can click away. That’s why including white space in your design is so important. It helps to separate elements so viewers can find what they’re looking at a glance.

 

Constructive Content

Looks aren’t the only thing that matters; your site needs substance too. Your content needs to provide visitors with real value so they feel confident about the decision they’re about to make. Your content is an opportunity to inform and persuade your visitors and demonstrate your expertise. This is how to make your content work for you:

 

  • Keep it fresh: Add new blog posts and articles on a regular basis to keep visitors coming back for more.
  • Keep it interesting: Short paragraphs, bulleted lists, and sub-headings will keep your readers engaged.
  • Keep it simple: Use the words and language that your audience uses and try to avoid jargon and industry-speak.
  • Keep it clean: Check for typos and bad grammar and double-check your facts and figures. Then you won’t need to worry about coming across as sloppy or unprofessional.

 

What about rich media?

You should use rich media sparingly. Skip the flashy graphics and animation and provide your visitors with value instead. But do include downloadable content for those who don’t have the time to read online, but want to hear what you have to say.

 

Complete Functionality

Everything on your site should do what it’s supposed to do. That means hyperlinks, contact forms, registrations and logins should work without any hiccups. The instant your visitors encounter any problems accessing a page or navigating around your site is the moment they think about clicking away.

 

Check that everything works and if there’s an issue, resolve it swiftly. Don’t risk losing out on a sale or a new client simply because of a broken link.

 

User-friendliness

Think about the sites you visit often and why you keep going back. Is it because:

 

  • They’re simple to use, with valuable content that’s well-organised and easy to read?
  • Fast-loading pages mean you don’t waste time waiting for information to appear?
  • Minimal scrolling means you can find what you need without scrolling for miles?
  • The navigation menus are logical and placed in a prominent position on each page?
  • The descriptive link text points you in the right direction so you never get lost?
  • The site is consistent no matter which browser or device you use?

 

Does your website meet this standard? If not, start implementing some small changes to make it as user-friendly as the sites you like to visit.

 

Mobile-friendliness

With more people using their mobiles to access the internet, having a mobile-friendly website is essential. Your customers want to be able to browse your products, make purchases or complete your forms just as easily from their smartphone as their do from their laptop. If you can’t provide them with this convenience, they’ll find somebody who does.

 

SEO Fundamentals

There is so much you can do with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). But it’s best to start with the basics (and get them right) before you go further. So start with these simple tips:

 

  • Do keyword research to find out what words and phrases customers are using to find a business like yours online.
  • Use these keywords in your headings and sub-headings, meta-descriptions and image alt attributes. But don’t stuff your content with keywords or you’ll be penalised. Use keywords in a natural way, and always write for people first, search engines second.
  • Share your content on social media to generate backlinks and reach out to other industry players for opportunities to post your content on their sites.
  • Add relevant links to your own pages within your content. Internal linking keeps visitors on your site which sends a signal to search engines that your site is packed with valuable content.
  • Create ‘evergreen content’ such as ‘FAQ’s, ‘How-To’ guides and tutorials. This is the type of content that will keep driving traffic to your website because it’s always in demand.

 

How many of those 966 million websites will still be generating business at the end of this year? It’s impossible to tell. But if you follow these guidelines your site will be more effective and stay that way. Follow the Web Changes blog for more tips on how to manage your website, digital marketing and social media. Or get in touch with us to discuss your website requirements.

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