The Elements of an Effective Business Website That Will Support Your Business Objectives!
Why You Need An Effective Business Website
It is early 2018, and a good time to take a serious look at your business website. Business owner and marketing directors contact us every week to do just that. And that’s a good thing, because in 2018 you need your business website to be fully functional and optimized in order to succeed in the digital world. Frequently we notice one or more shortcoming that can affect site performance and rank. To help you get started on the right track we have come up with the elements of an effective business website.
We have already outlined The Big Problems with Small Business Websites and 26 Things to Note Before You Develop a Website. So much of what follows should really not be a surprise. But we are frequently amazed by some of the things we find (or NOT find, more importantly!) when we audit a business website.
Look at it this way; you are inviting your visitor on a journey of discovery on your website. Put yourself in their shoes. What do they want to see? Here are a few pointers; make your audience comfortable by being open, transparent and inviting. Make information easy to find. Be sure to list contact info and social profiles prominently. What makes your brand, product, or service unique? Be sure to include that.
The Elements of an Effective Business Website
Let’s walk you through the elements of an effective business website from top to bottom. Keep in mind that not everything may apply to your specific business. And that’s OK; feel free to adjust as necessary. But we recommend that you do include as many of the following elements of an effective website on your home page, and other pages as applicable.
The header appears at the top of every page. It is the perfect place to represent your brand, logo and business identity. A nice touch is a “sticky header” which stays at the top of your page when visitors scroll.
The navigation menu connects visitors to different parts of your site. Keep it simple and easy to understand, one line is best. You can always add sub-levels if needed. Consistent navigation will keep your visitors engaged.
Products + Services
Amazing how many brands forget that! Your home page content area is the most visible, so you should feature your main products and services there. Provide a brief overview that links to a page with more details.
Call To Action (CTA)
This is what motivates the visitor to take the next step, learn more, sign up, click and convert! Believe us, this is what you want!
Your audience wants to know about you. What sets you apart? Why are you in business? Images are a great way to tell the story of your brand. Organize them into columns to make your content section appear less text heavy. Using images of the same size and style will further a cohesive look.
References and reviews from customers help build trust and confidence in your brand. How has working with you or buying your product changed your customers’ lives for the better?
This is the social media age, and your audience will expect to connect with you there as well. Social media sharing buttons also help to distribute your content and build community around your brand. Include links from your site to your social media profiles and vice versa and make it easy for your customers to share your content with their contacts.
More Recommendations for an Effective Business Website
And don’t forget about the following elements of an effective business website:
Your web address (domain url) should include your brand name and be easy to remember. Avoid ‘cute’ spellings or names. You can purchase your domain through a domain registrar like GoDaddy. If you are having a hard time finding a .com domain you can opt for one of the many available top-level domains; just remember to select one that relates to your business, service or product!
A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate adds an extra layer of trustworthiness to create an effective business website. This is especially important for e-commerce site. But any business website will benefit from adding an SSL certificate, especially since Google is likely to make it an absolute requirement in 2017.
Don’t skimp on your website hosting if you want an effective business website. Nothing will turn off visitors faster than a slow website that barely functions. Even worse is when you can’t get timely help from your web host. Why not let us show you how you can get up to 5 months free website hosting from WPEngine instead?
Make sure you provide multiple points of contact on every page, including your phone number and email. Make it easy for your customers to contact you.
TIP: Make sure to spell your NAP (Name / Address / Phone Number) exactly the same on your website and your social media profiles.
Be Sure To Be Mobile-First
Most of your visitors will first visit your site from a tablet, smartphone or other mobile device. If you don’t want to risk losing the majority of your potential visitors be sure to have mobile-first website. If you are not sure if your site is mobile-friendly you can test it here.
Design for Your Audience
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is to design a website for themselves, instead of their target audience! Consider your target market when designing your business website and customize the visuals and content to things that will intrigue and speak to them.
Maintain a Consistent Look + Feel
From your logo to your website and social media to print advertising, be sure your color scheme, logo, description and contact info all match. Use no more than two font styles and make sure photos and graphics are all professional and positively reflect on your brand. And try to avoid outdated web design elements at all costs! By using powerful web design tactics you will appear relevant and up-to-date!
Include Content that Builds Credibility
Show what you do and how well you do it with galleries featuring before and after photos. Include FAQs, case studies, testimonials and links to articles about your business to help build trust and display professionalism. Here are some ideas for creating engaging content for your business website.
Ensure The Site Loads Quickly
Don’t loose visitors by taking more than a few seconds to load the page they want. Avoid Flash, optimize images, use a content delivery network (CDN) and site compression if your host and site supports it. You can test your site speed using tools like Pingdom or the Google Page Speed Test. If you have a slow site here are some recommendations for you.
Use Relevant Keywords
Include phrases most often used by your customers to search for your business to help increase search engine optimization. You can find relevant keywords and phrases using tools like SEMrush or MozPro, or you can engage an SEO service provider to do that for you.
Upgrading to an Effective Business Website
Now that you are aware of the required elements of an effective business website you will want to incorporate them on your own business website. For most of you this will involve relatively minor things like updating your contact info. But there may be cases were more extensive measures are required, In that case it may be faster and cheaper to start with a new website.
Many commercially available themes, such as the ones for WordPress and SquareSpace, already include all of the elements of an effective business website as listed above. If you are reasonable computer savvy you can build your own basic business website; if you use Microsoft Word and upload images to Facebook most user interfaces will seem very familiar.
But we need to caution you; things can get tricky very fast and you may well end up way over your head. If you have specific requirements or a unique vision we highly recommend that you have a professional web designer help you. If you don’t know one here is our 10 Step Guide to Hiring a Web Designer.
Of course, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble and just have our team design an effective business website for you. We are experts at effective business website design. From highly customized corporate sites, to responsive e-Commerce websites to small business websites and personal blogs we work directly with the client to prepare them for the ever increasingly social, mobile and local consumer. Why not get started by requesting your free effective business website estimate?
And if you are still not sure about the elements of an effective business website, don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine if you already have all the elements of an effective website, or how to add them in the most time and cost-effective way. That is one of our specialties, after all!
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Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!