Your website is your businesses' greatest communication platform.
It's your home base, front desk, welcoming committee and 24/7 sales team. Getting a website right does take work and commitment.
If you want it to succeed you must spend time to get it right and present the right impression to your potential customers.
Here are the two most important things you need to concentrate on when thinking about your site:
1. Good, clean, accessible Design
2. Relevant, informative, customer driven Content
You must have a professional-looking site if you want to be taken seriously.
Since many consumers now search for information online prior to making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, your site may be the first chance you have at making a good impression on a potential buyer.
First impressions count. It's actually better to have no website at all than to have one that makes your business look bad.
Here are our tips for a good website:
Keep your website simple!
Simplicity does not mean boring.
Having a few eye-catching elements here and there is better than causing your customer's to get confused by the amount of stuff everywhere.
A good clean site without unnecessary clutter is better for business and better for you.
Keep it modern.
An out of date website implies that you just couldn't care enough to make sure that your site (and your business) moves with the times.
We're not saying redesign every two months (it's bad for the pocket and bad for SEO), but if your site was built in 1998 and it hasn't been touched since, you might want to look at it again.
Make it easy to use.
Making sure that people can find what they're looking for means that they are more likely to use your company.
Nothing frustrates web users more (us included) than when you're looking for something that cannot be found.
Remember load time.
The faster your site loads, the better.
Web developers know that you have between 2 and 5 seconds to catch someone's attention with a site.
If they design a site that takes two minutes to load, they know they have a problem.
Keep your images clean, simple and optimised.
Make sure your background image (if you must have one) isn't huge.
Make sure that the elements on your site do not require a million hours and specific software (like Flash) to run.
Make your message clear
If your site doesn't tell people who you are and what you do quickly, no one will do business with you.
People scan for information before they settle in to read, so make sure that the content and images you choose are laid out in a way that conveys your message quickly.
In today's competitive online environment, you need to focus on people and on search engines.
Make sure that your site works well with search engines, invest in some SEO work.
Just remember that SEO is not a quick fix solution, it takes time.
Use only a few good pictures
By a few we mean max 5 a page, including the ones in your header section.
A few good pictures will make more of an impact that many bad quality ones and will actually be good for your load time.
Most web design companies have picture gallery options that allow you to have more images and won't slow your website down.
At Jasper Consultants, our team of specialist web developers will be able to help you navigate your way around the world of web design and steer you towards getting it right the first time.
After all, our business is marketing your business.
In Part 2 we will give you our tips for great quality content.