September 2, 2015
In today’s digital age, marketing has become more competitive than ever before thanks to the amazing technological advancements that allow users to dictate exactly what they receive. Because of this high level of competition, it is more important now than ever before to have a website that stands out among the crowd, otherwise, lead generation and conversions are destined to be nil.
Your website is a reflection of your company’s personality and message and if this message does not come across crystal clear, it will only get lost in the vast noise and clutter of the digital space. Without a strong website, you will certainly have trouble reaching customers; it’s that simple. With the various tools, templates, and services available online there are countless ways to establish a well-designed site, but what will provide you the most value for your current needs?
In order to establish this, you must first understand the core purpose of your site, what exactly you seek to gain from it, and what the user wants to experience.
As Washington based software and services research firm Clutch points out in their newest website research report even those who are new to business with no IT background and possess a small to nonexistent budget can manage to make an effective, attractive, and functional website with easy-to-use tools like Wix and Weebly.
“There’s no need to spend money on a completely custom website if you can attain 90% of the website’s value with a content management system [CMS] like WordPress or Drupal,” explains Amanda Soderlund, analyst at Clutch. “Then again, if you have highly complex requirements, you won’t be able to achieve that level of customization without spending the money on a custom site built from the bottom up.”
The report includes a detailed analysis of each solution’s capabilities, limitations, and costs for building a website. Expert insights and experiences throughout the report help to answer common questions of how to build a successful website.
Let’s now go over some of the key components of what a successful website entails, no matter which solution you decide is best for you.
1. Clean Design and Superior Usability
One of the most important traits of a successful website is an eye-catching layout that is easy to navigate. A website that is beautiful in appearance will grab a visitor’s attention for longer, increasing your chances at making a meaningful conversion.
Alongside this, customers must be able to navigate the site without having to search around for what they are looking for. Time is absolutely of the essence and the less time the visitor has to hunt down the knowledge they seek, the better the chances are that they will come back and visit you again.
As stated before, the personality of a website (or lack thereof) is a direct reflection of your business, vision, and values. A website that flaunts personality in a truly expressive way engages customers and makes them want to interact with the content contained on the site. Additionally, the personality that is portrayed helps visitors understand how your business operates and makes a memorable impression. This can be easily accomplished through the increasingly vital use of images and video. Without these two key pieces of visual engagement, your site will simply fall flat.
3. Original and Valuable Content
The integration of top-notch content into your website is highly stressed these days, and with good reason. The research surrounding content marketing shows that users are highly selective of the content they take in and will not settle for mediocrity.
Content must be captivating to draw in readers, provide value to retain their attention, and be highly sharable in order to attract an even larger viewer base and keep them coming back for more. High level content can take the form of anything from blog posts, to advice columns, to simple business updates; all that matters is what you put into it. Furthermore, content must be updated on a regular and frequent basis in order to keep things fresh and exciting for visitors. If your content becomes stale and stagnant, so will your audience.
With all of the updates to Google’s algorithms lately, a mobile friendly and responsive design has never been more important. As the use of tablets and smartphone devices continues to grow, mobile will persist in being highly emphasized. If your site is not responsive, scalable, and completely compatible for mobile, you will not only quickly lose ranking in the SERPs but you will also quickly lose your visitors to the competition.
5. High Speed Service
In order to service your customers in a way that will increase retention, speed is a critical factor. It is common knowledge that speed is not only massively valued by Google, but it is equally as important to visitors. If your site is not maintaining the proper speeds necessary to keep up with the digital norm, potential customers will quickly move on to a competitor who does. Using Google’s PageSpeed Tools will help to ensure that your site is always operating at peak performance levels.
As you can see, a well-designed website is a must and there are more tools than ever to help accomplish this. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to build a great site; just a well-informed business owner with the proper tools and the occasional guidance.
What are some of your favorite DIY website-builder tools? What are some other crucial factors to a successful website that were not mentioned here?
Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor. Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Wa href="https://plus.google.com/102636306121090702178/posts".