Planning, creating and developing a website is an exciting, yet sometimes daunting process, especially if you have little experience with website design. As an entrepreneur, it is important to have a website that can be easily found by your target market, as well as one that clearly reflects your personal brand and sets you apart from competitors. Because every business and brand is different, there will be many different things to take into consideration when starting a web site. However, for any web site to be successful and lead to increased customers and sales, there are 6 essential factors that can be applied to almost all types of web sites. Discover them below.
1. Create for the Customer, Not for Yourself
You might have a great idea in your mind of how you’d like your website to look, but before you implement it, you have to look at it from the eyes of your potential customers. Will your idea be appealing to them? If not, you can’t expect them to look past the home page. The first and most important thing to keep in mind when starting a website is that it is all about the visitors and their experience on your website—your home page will be a consumers first impression of your business, and you want it to be enticing, appealing, well-organized and designed especially to the needs and tastes of your target market.
2. Make Information Easy to Find
Your home page is like your storefront—it will possess your company name, your brand, and some information about the products or services you offer, but essentially, it is meant to get visitors deeper into the store by pointing them directly to the information they seek. Internet users typically want information as quickly as possible—links to contact information, product and service information, etc., should be quick and easy to find. If they are located in obscure places or buried within a large mass of text, you’ll likely lose a good percentage of visitors right away.
3. Be Informative Yet Concise
It is not necessary to load up your web pages with tons of text. Be informative by putting the main points of your products and services on the page, such as features, benefits, product reviews, etc. But be concise—avoid fluffing up content or rambling on. This is distracting to visitors and will cause the main, pertinent information to be lost.
In some cases it is ultimately necessary to include a lot of detail or description about a product or service. If this is the case, then try to break up sections of the content with bullet points, headings, or even link to additional information on another page. If the first thing a visitor sees is one giant block of text, they are more likely to skip it rather than read it.
Present information on each page in an organized, consistent manner. The overall layout of every page on your website should follow the same format. Links to other pages should be easily found and visible, so that visitors don’t have to wade back and forth through a bunch of pages in order to go to another section of the site.
5. Contact Information
Visitors to web sites hate it with a passion if it is difficult to find contact information. Place contact information such as a phone number or email somewhere on the home page—it can be placed at the bottom if it interferes with the general layout of the home page—but be certain to include a link to contact information somewhere quickly visible, such as with the rest of the tabs or links on the side or top of the page. On the actual contact page, include more information if applicable, such as the best time to contact you via phone. Make it as easy as possible for clients and customers to get in touch with you.
6. Your Portfolio
If you have a portfolio of work that can be shown, then by all means include it. Potential clients will be especially interested in seeing examples of your work. This is also a good place to post reviews and include any additional details about special achievements, awards, or areas of expertise.