In this day and age, I wouldn't hold it against you for thinking that every man and his dog can be or even claims to be a fully-fledged web designer. It's true, programs like #joomla #wordpress #wix #shopify and the countless others alongside a few youtube videos can just about get you there. The trick? Finding someone who can help you identify why your building your site in the first place and making it effective for your business.
It important before handing the job over to someone else, that you make sure they are not going to just chuck some content up and take your money. The same can be said if you are aiming to give it a go yourself, that you are aware of some basic traits of an effective website before starting down the web design track.
So how do you identify if your website is (or will be) effective?
Before your start, it will save you time and money if you know your what, your why and your how. How can you be effective if you are not clear in the effect you wish to happen when someone lands on your webpage. Knowing what you aim to achieve in a very simplistic form before you start makes the whole journey a lot more focused. It is the same theory of throwing everything at the wall and hoping it sticks, chances are, most of it won’t. Why spend thousands of dollars building a 20-page website, when your audience and profit margin may benefit more from a simple landing page style website. Having clear goals and direct intentions will give your website the exact direction and voice it needs to be effective.
Communication is key.
Once you are clear on the above, this one should be a little easier to convey. A website in this day and age is the new store front. If a customer walks into your bait shop and sees tennis rackets on the wall, then odds are they will leave and go to the next bait shop. Speak to your audience in a very clear, simplistic, concise and logical sequence to ensure the end resulting message and direction is not lost in all the fluffy sales spiel. Depending on your audience, a little sneaky humour always goes a treat.
Just like a cluttered business card, less is more. If you have words upon words upon words, this meme friendly generation will turn and run.
It is not enough in this visual snap shot society to just have a great product and be informative. If your website looks like it was made in the 80s or 90s then chances are your bounce rate is quite high. Even if you don’t have a strict brand guideline or flashy logo, it is extremely important that every page on your website carries the feel and look by way of matching colours, typography (font style/sizing) and imagery. That these also then speak visually to your ideal client. This will avoid customers thinking they may have accidently landed on a different website while navigation yours.
Get on top of the glitch.
Keep an eye out for updates and conduct regular website reviews. Especially if using WordPress, as plugins and themes are updated regularly and can often misplace some already placed content. You may even have others conduct the regularly audits so it is seen with fresh eyes.
Don’t call me, I’ll call you.
Just like a business card, you need a call to action and to ensure your contact details are visible and prominent at all time, on all page.
This serves the above note well. Anything you can do to make sure the website is mobile friendly, user friendly, visually familiar, that load times are low and that your SEO (whole other blog post) leads your client to your door is critical. If your ideal can’t find or use your website and it is hard to navigate, then they might just assume your whole service is hard to use and go off to find a simpler solution. If your contact details and calls to action are prominent on each page and at each critical step, then the process it simpler and smoother for the customer. It will flow naturally and encourage purchase of your product and/or services.
It’s not about you.
A harsh headline, yes, so if you can remove the emotions and ego from your website then chances are higher in effectiveness. Certainly, I encourage you to be authentically you. In saying that, always keep in mind that your website is being made to serve and appeal to your customer. A car dealer wouldn’t try to sell you a house because they like the look of houses better than cars. You may like wild animals with floral wreath head wear as a design style, however if your service or product sells to the corporate world, then your whole message would be lost in the 3 seconds it takes to gain your customers interest.
If all else fails… upload a funny cat video.