As we all know, they sky is the limit when designing your company’s website. Browsing the web will show you that each website has a personality of its own. But the winning websites — those that are most effective at catching the attention of your target audience, explaining your serve, and motivating visitors to pick up the phone or order online — will most likely have the following characteristics.
1. A Show-stopping Headline. For this you need to think like you are writing an advertisement for a magazine. How can you hook the reader and encourage them to read further? Use each headline to pull them in and then each copy block to keep them there. This is an opportunity to tell them right away what makes your website, and company, different, and why they should choose you.
2. A Clean and Organized Layout. As tempting as it is to throw lots of information on your home page, don’t! Websites that are busy and overwhelming tend to confuse visitors. They make a first impression and give your visitors an idea about your company. Resist the urge to post lots of graphics and images and stick to a few, powerful and coordinated ones.
3. A Navigation System that Works. Have you ever visited a website and gotten completely lost? You want to get back to the home page, but can’t figure out how. And where did that “service” section go? You were trying to read the rest of it but you can’t find it. At that point, most people close the website and decide to search elsewhere. Perhaps the website was attractive and the copy was informative, but the navigation frustrated them, so they left. And odds are they won’t be back. Don’t let this happen to you.
4. Interesting and Web-friendly Copy. Capture the visitor’s attention with not just appealing colors and a great layout, but also with wordage fit for the web. Use bullets rather than long sentences. Use bold words or phrases you want them to remember. Make sure the language style of the site matches that of your audience. Do you want to sound casual and friendly, or formal and rigid? If you want to expand on a point, link through to another webpage where you can offer more detail.
5. Current and Fresh Information. It’s great to offer monthly specials or promote seasonal events, but make sure to keep those current. Outdated information is not just inaccurate, but it shows that you aren’t paying close attention and potential customers will notice that.
6. A Consistent Template. Design the colors and layout for the home page and then keep it fairly consistent throughout your site. It’s fine to change the location of images, but don’t move your navigation bar. As many usability studies show, people quickly adapt to the design of a consistent website. As they move through your site they will instinctually expect your site to have continuity.
7. A Unique Sales Pitch. When visitors check out a new website, they will immediately scan your site to see why you are different. Telling them that you are an “Insured, bonded, and high quality” business is not different. What is your company’s unique sales pitch? What makes you stand apart from the competition? Whatever it is, make sure it is the first thing people see when they find your site.