You have 8 seconds or less to capture someone’s attention on your website.
That’s less time than it takes to blink twice. Literally, in the blink of an eye, you could lose your next customer if your business website isn’t up to par.
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to create a great website from scratch, especially by using a site builder like Wix. But if you’re going DIY, you’ll want to follow best practices. This ensures your site captures visitors’ attention and secures sales. Here are a few dos and don’ts to put you in the right direction.
Do keep the website consistent.
Remember the early days of the Internet when people built rainbow-colored websites with wonky navigation? Yea… don’t do that. Consistency in navigation, fonts, colors, and layout is important. It helps people get the information they need and make a purchase. To add consistency to your site:
Keep your navigation’s font and design the same across all web pages. Make sure it’s easy-to-read and understand.
Add a branding element, like a logo, to every page. It’s also helpful to use the same brand colors and fonts across all pages, especially for links.
Repeat page layouts. This way, visitors will know what to expect when they click through your site. It’s also helpful to design the site in a way that your visitor expects — don’t try a new, “out-of-the-box” layout.
Do design for your buyer.
Just like a date, it’s a turnoff when you talk too much about yourself. Instead, think about your buyer first. What’s their biggest problem? What’s on their minds? Then design your website for them.
Write down your customers’ biggest problems. Consider how your business solves these problems.
Create separate pages of content for each type of customer. For example, if you own a landscaping company, create a page for homeowners. Then create a separate page for business owners.
Do spend time designing for mobile.
Did you know that, on average, people spend more than 5 hours per day on smartphones? And, nearly 70% of all Internet traffic happens on mobile devices? Don’t make the mistake of designing for web only. Instead, follow these practices to ensure your site is mobile-friendly:
First, make sure your site is responsive. This means it’s sized for viewing on different screens, like tablets, mobile phones, and the web.
Add a viewport meta tag. This is code that ensures your site is scaled for mobile devices. Add this
<meta> tag in the
<head> of every page’s HTML:
<head> ... <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1"> ... </head>
Make font and button sizes bigger. What looks good on the web doesn’t necessarily work on mobile devices. Make sure your mobile fonts are at least 14 px and, according to recommendations from Apple, button sizes are at least 44 px by 44 px.
Do add value with content.
Content is arguably the most important part of a website. It keeps visitors interested, sells your business, and boosts your site in search results. That’s why it’s important to invest resources into creating great web content. Either hire a professional copywriter or write it on your own using best practices. Consider adding:
A company blog. Add articles that speak to your customers’ questions and concerns.
An ebook download. Put an ebook download behind a form that captures custom email addresses.
Strong video content. Video is a great way to tell your business’s story. And, it doesn’t have to be high-production. In fact, you can grab your smartphone and film a video on your own.
Links to social media sites. Post regular content on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites. Social media content supports search engine optimization (SEO) and keeps you connected to your customers.
Don’t have too much going on visually.
Sometimes less is more. When it comes to your business’s website, scale back on visuals. Go for a simple, clear design with carefully designed white space. Simple sites place a focus on content and are easier to comprehend. The end result is a buyer who is ready to purchase.
Unsure if your site is too busy? Ask yourself if the design serves a purpose. Do you need that extra graphic? How many different colors and fonts do you have? If the design isn’t serving a purpose, reconsider it.
Don’t skip search engine optimization (SEO). Every day there are more than 3.5 billion searches on Google. Most likely, it’s the primary way people find your website — and business. To support your site’s SEO:
Research keywords and phrases that customers search. For example, “hair salons in Boston,” or “affordable pool installation services.” Be specific.
Add keyword phrases into your website’s metadata (page titles, descriptions and headers). Here are tips for writing metadata.
Build relationships and boost “backlinking.” This is when another website links directly to your site. As a result, Google deems your site more credible. Links to your site can appear in news articles, social media posts, or on blogs.
Don’t forget a call to action (CTA) button.
Ultimately, there’s an action you want website visitors to take. For e-commerce businesses, it’s “click to buy.” For others, it’s fill out a contact form or view your location’s address.
Determine your main call to action (CTA) and then design a strong button for it. Make the button sizeable and a standout color, like orange or red. Use compelling, actionable language on the button that tells visitors what to do. And, above all, make your CTA noticeable, clickable, and upfront.
Don’t ignore analytics.
Once you’ve launched your website, use Google Analytics to measure its performance. The more you know, the more you can improve your site. Make sure to measure:
Remember, creating a high-performing website might seem like a lot to handle. But, you have the ability to do it on your own. Just follow these best practices, and you’ll see results before you know it.
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I earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (go Bucky). After realizing my first job might involve carrying a police scanner at 2 am in pursuit of “newsworthy” crimes, I decided I was better suited for freelance blogging and marketing writing. Since 2010, I’ve owned my freelance writing business, EST Creative. When I’m not penning, doodling ideas, or chatting with clients, you’ll find me hiking with my husband, baby boy, and 2 mischievous mutts.
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