As a business owner, one of the most important things you can have is a user-friendly website. If you are ready to take the plunge and create your first website, the following newbie tips and real-world examples will help you attract customers and improve your company’s bottom line.
Great content is key
The content of your website does more than tell visitors what your company is all about. It also convinces people to stick around, keep reading and place an order. To do this, make sure your website’s content is easy-to-scan and keep the wording as concise as possible. If you format your text in a manner that is similar to a newspaper, it is both visually appealing and easy for people to read or skim. Additionally, break up the text with plenty of images of your products and services. This makes the site more visually appealing and helps visitors digest the information. The Verge is a great example of a website that is eye-catching, well laid out and full of great content that is easy to read without feeling overwhelming.
Strive for clean and uncluttered
Some business owners are so excited to share every last detail about their products that they fill every square inch of the site with photos, different fonts and bright colors. Like a cluttered home, these sites ultimately turn off visitors with their busy and crowded feel. When designing your site, remember that less is more. Don’t be afraid of white space; it helps highlight images and text and makes them stand out. Give your content some space to breathe and choose one or two readable fonts in a couple of colors, rather than a rainbow of text. For inspiration, check out the TireBuyer website; the site features effective white space that highlights the available tires and services. It has the perfect balance of text and graphics to make it clean and readable.
Make it responsive
The last time you looked up a website, chances are good it was from your smartphone or tablet. The same is true for your customers. The explosion of handheld technology means it is less likely that people visit your site from their desktop or laptop. This means your site must have a responsive and mobile-friendly web design. It’s important to ensure your site’s navigation elements, screen layouts, text, images and checkout system adjust themselves to a variety of devices. In addition, a mobile-friendly website contains content that is easy to read without any resizing or scrolling. One company that does an exceptional job of this is Starbucks. From accessing and using a mobile gift card to pay for a latte and placing an order online to scanning the menu, the website is effortless to read and use from any mobile device.
Make it speedy
A sure-fire way to turn off a potential customer is by creating a clunky website that takes forever to load. Do what you can to make sure your site loads in four to six seconds. Resist the temptation to post large videos and graphics, resize images before adding them to the site and reduce the number of internal redirects. One site that does all of this very well is Zappos; the site loads almost immediately and does not contain memory-hungry images and text.
Ask for help
While website creator tools are everywhere, they’re not all the same. Some are really easy to use. Some produce clean code that sync well with Search engines. Some have a large community of developers and plugins available for free.
There’s not one tool that fits everyone, but we typically recommend WordPress for business owners who are both savvy and budget-conscious. It’s a great foray into the web world, and sets you up for an improved presence when you’re ready for the next iteration.
And as always, let us know how we can help.