Websites have a lot of moving parts, and there are different areas you need to consider before beginning the design phase. Your website is made up of content, photos, and graphic elements to keep the reader interested and complete whatever your main action is (whether that’s list building, booking a service or following you on social media).
There are 5 main elements that every effective website needs.
Photos are so important for an effective website. Nothing can make or break a website faster than photos. For some, branded photos aren’t part if the budget. But, just like your logo and visual identity, they are a huge part of your brand. They need to be on your list of things to invest in. If you can’t quite afford them right now, there are some great options for stock photos or event ways you can DIY it yourself. Read this post for resources and information about planning your website. http://www.littledotcreative.com/blog/website-planner
2. Effective Copy/ Content
Your website design will attract the right clients and your copy will sell what you do and entice people to contact you. Investing in a copywriter for your website will elevate your success and sales.
Your message and content need to be clear, concise and resonate with your readers. Design can only take you so far, and your copy will take you the rest of the way.
Find a copywriter that can translate what you do, who you work for, and what you’re all about, into effective content that makes sense and resonates with potential clients.
3. Good design
Like I mentioned above, design attracts the right clients to you. For example, I have a very feminine brand. If a beer company was to land on my website, they likely wouldn't be inquiring because I have made it very clear what my style is.
Design is important because it can help guide your readers and evoke the response you want like contacting you to book, reading the blog, sharing something etc.
Your website design should also be an accurate reflection of your brand. This is the most important brand collateral item you will invest in, and it is often times one of the first things people see from your business. Bring in your design elements, colours and personality to help you stand out from other websites in your niche.
Design also allows you to create hierarchy on your website, helping to guide your reader through your most important pieces of content. This can be done through various graphics, photos, illustrations, icons or type treatment. Read this post for why you should get a designer to make your website. http://www.littledotcreative.com/blog/why-you-should-hire-a-designer-for-your-website
4. Clear calls-to-action
What do you want the reader to do when they’re on the website? Do you want them to sign up for your email, contact you about a service, or share a blog post? The calls-to-action have to align with your larger website goals. Don’t have any goals for your website? Read this post for more information about that. http://www.littledotcreative.com/blog/website-planner
For example, Elle and Company Design is focusing on list building for her business. Her homepage consists of a few different resources that you can access in exchange for your email. If you go throughout the rest of her website, you’ll find even more resources you can get by submitting your email address. It’s very clear that her main goal is to build her list, and as a result, her website is geared towards making that goal.
Or for another example, my website. My goal right now is to help more creative entrepreneurs with their branding and websites. My website right now is funnelling people to my services and contact page so they will book a package with me. My blog content is all tailored to my services, and provides free value to you!
5. Good user experience.
User experience is one of my strengths. I took numerous classes in University on usability and information design. If your website just looks pretty but isn’t functional, and doesn’t meet any of your goals, then it’s useless. There needs to be a balance between form and function, without it, the design content is just wallpaper.
User experience includes a lot of the elements above. Smashing Magazine defines user experience as:
- How users feel about a system
- Ease of use
- Perception of the value of the system
- Efficiency in performing tasks
For online business owners, the most important elements in user experience are ease of use and efficiency in performing tasks. If your reader can’t find what they need, or easily navigate your site, then they won’t be sticking around long enough to hire you. High bounce rates can be a result of poor user experience, or any combination of the elements listed above.
What can you do to improve your website then?
- Simplify everything. If someone has to click 5 times to view your services, simplify that down to 1 or 2 instead.
- Make headings clear and descriptive. Don’t use jargon words because you want to be different, be clear instead.
- Like mentioned above, include calls to actions. Guide your readers through your site by telling them what you want them to do next.
Websites are more than just looking pretty. There are 5 elements every effective website must have in order to get more inquiries (and make you more money) including
- Effective copy/content
- Good design
- Clear calls-to-action
- Good user experience