So, you need a website, but you’ve got a limited budget and you’ve heard many others say it’s easy to build one yourself using WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Myspace or one of the other Content Management Systems. The good news is that they are right and with a little time and effort you can be up and running with an impressive, professional looking website! It’s not just how it looks though, there are a few factors to include in your considerations to ensure that works effectively for you business.
Having designed many communications tools I’ve seen many get so swept up by how a piece looks, like it’s a piece of art. But, wait up this is a communications tool and has an important job to do; delivering customers to you!
The same thinking applies to a website and even if it looks great, you need to think about the journey it will take your visitors on. It should be a good brand experience where users effortlessly learn about your company and services, whilst seamlessly navigating through to where they want to be.
Here’s a 5 things you should consider when building your website:
Who are the users?
Who will use the site and what are their objectives? There’ll be more than one type of user, so don’t just consider those likely to purchase the end product/service (although these users should certainly be prioritised in terms of the steps to their goals being obstacle free). Consider, users who follow your site blog, want to sign up to your newsletter or become a member. By understanding their goals you can ensure your site is really easy for them to use. It will leave them with a really good feeling about your brand and possible future dealings.
Which device do you think most users access your site with?
Without going too techy on you, if you have a high proportion of users who are likely to use a mobile to access your site then the site work must work well on a mobile. If you look at my website www.lydiabutlerdesign.co.uk on a pc, laptop and mobile you’ll see that it adapts automatically to each environment. The navigation menu expands downwards to fit the screen and the buttons are the right size for finger taps, etc. This isn’t accidental, it is because the theme I used for my site is a “responsive” design. When choosing a theme or template for your site, opt for a “Responsive” design to cover most user platforms.
Does your homepage pass the blink test?
Would the user know who your company is, what the company does and where they need to click next, within 3-5 seconds of landing on the home page? Try it with people who haven’t used you site before and if they can’t recall this information or anything that you deem to be an important message, then consider making a few changes to the layout.
Is your site easy to navigate?
You need a clearly labelled navigation bar near the top of the page. Avoid being creative with the titles, if the menu item is for the “Services” page then call it “Services” when a user is looking to find out more information, they won’t want to hunt through an array of ambiguous headings to get the information they need, so don’t throw obstacles or extra tasks in their way.
Call to action.
Make sure you have strong, clear, directive calls to action wherever needed. Simple instructions “Call us ”, “Click here” or “Buy NOW” are very effective, don’t flower it up. Ensure your calls to action are easily found (buttons or links are easy to spot), so when users want to progress through the site they have little work to do.
So, be realistic and ruthless about keeping your user central to the design of your site.