Now more than ever, websites are essential for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors. That was certainly true prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, and the lockdowns we’ve had over the past year have made a website even more important. Companies who relied on word-of-mouth or events to sell found they quickly needed to pivot and sell online. Even a simple website has become a must-have sales and marketing tool.
If you’re thinking of getting your very first website or updating an existing one, you need to know exactly what to include to ensure it generates sales and leads for you. Here, Wiltshire-based web design agency Black Nova Designs share their expertise and give some top tips for creating a website which works hard for your business.
What does a website need to do?
A website is essentially a virtual shop window, telling people searching for information online exactly what your business does and who it does it for. Whether you sell products or services, or simply want to share knowledge online, your website will share another characteristic with a shop window – it needs to capture and hold people’s attention. You have 0.05 seconds to persuade someone they should stick around and read what you have to say, so what you have on your homepage is important. The website must also provide your potential customer with access to more information about your business and make it easy for them to buy form or get in touch with you.
Why great images are essential
The human brain processes images far more quickly than words, so strong imagery is key to success. The best website design won’t help if you use fuzzy, low-res imagery, so commissioning some professional photography is a great investment. Plus, you can use those same images for other marketing activities too, from social media activity to email newsletters and flyers. Images are even more important if you are selling consumer products online, as people will be far more likely to trust a website with clear, high resolution images.
Professional branding helps too
Branding refers to your logo and a colour scheme, and the chances are your website visitor will notice both very quickly. A professionally designed logo and colour palette will not only convey your brand’s personality (that might be trustworthy, exciting, calming, fun or professional), but also help provide continuity between your different marketing channels. Just like those images we mentioned in the previous point, you will also use your logo and color scheme on flyers, business cards, social media, clothing and social media.
Next, it’s all about words
If your images and branding have done their job, then your website visitor will start reading so you need to include clear and concise headings which tell them what your business does and who it’s for. Do also write longer blocks of text to share more information, but never assume people will read that bit. It’s important your headings and subheadings can do the trick on their own.
You may also hear the term ‘call to action’ (or CTA) used by website designers and marketing professionals. CTAs are tools which tell the reader what to do next, so that might be a button on a website saying, ‘learn more’ or ‘shop now’, or a sentence encouraging people to sign up to your newsletter. Including simple CTAs at relevant places on your website helps people get the information they need without having to search for it or read the whole page.
Keep the menu simple
Another tool to help your website visitor find what they want is the menu. The current research shows that people want to be able to move to the next page using fewer than 3 clicks. If one click shows a menu and the second click takes them to where they want to be, you’ve succeeded in keeping them happy. Another tip is to have 7 or fewer items in your menu altogether to keep the navigation as simple as possible.
The next steps for you
Ready to get started? Here are some thoughts around a DIY approach versus using a professional website designer. It’s relatively easy to create a basic website yourself using a website design tool such as Wix or WordPress. If you are very tight on budget, that approach will help to keep costs down, but you will still need to pay for a domain name and hosting. The downside is that there are limitations to the templates offered by companies offering DIY builders. The website will look and feel simplistic, and the functionality could be limited by the template coding. It may also load slowly, something you want to avoid when you’re trying to capture the attention of someone searching the internet for a product or service.
So, what about a professional web design firm? The website they create will be faster and more reliable than one you created yourself and it should look good too – helpful when you need to stand out from the crowd. It will be mobile optimised, meaning it looks equally good on a laptop, PC, tablet or smartphone. Plus, if you’re busy setting up your business empire, it will free up your time to focus on whatever it is that you do best. Of course, a web design business will charge for their services, so you will need to budget for this in your costs if you do decide to take the professional route. However, it’s important to note that the cost might not be as high as you think, and it’s always worth a chat to scope out the project.
If you would like to chat to the expert team at Black Nova Designs about your website project, get in touch using the contact details below.
Tel: (01793) 210 045