Most Internet users will spend less than 15 seconds on your website, leaving you with little time to make a good first impression.
We all want our website to look awesome and attract new visitors. Yet, many web creators make the mistake of “over-designing”, providing users with more than they can chew.
Simplicity is a recurring theme around most successful websites. This does not mean you can’t include a good amount of information or loads of sections on your website, but how you present this information will make all the difference.
Have a glance at Amazon, the biggest online store in the world, boasting a clean, sleek design that is a pleasure to search through and navigate.
Web hosting is everything. It affects speed and uptime – two of the most crucial factors in operating a successful website.
A good hosting service should provide you with 99%+ uptime. If your site is down often, it will affect the user experience and reduce your search engine rankings.
Speed is another important aspect. You can’t possibly hope to compete in the online world if your website is sluggish and pages take ages to load. Your users will leave within seconds.
How to pick the right web hosting? Answer these questions:
- How many visitors are you expecting per month?
- Does your website/business has room to grow?
In general, you can choose between:
- Shared Hosting
- VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
- Cloud Based Hosting
- Managed Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
Each comes at different price points, but it’s important that you never skim on web hosting – it’s the most cost-effective single investment you will make for your website.
Smaller sites that don’t anticipate many visitors may function well with Shared hosting, but high-volume sites (large businesses, e-commerce shops) should be adequately equipped with high-tier web hosting in one form or another.
Also consider your hosting provider’s reputation, something which can be easily researched online. What’s even more important, however, is their level of customer service.
Websites run into trouble all the time, and if you don’t have immediate access to help channels such as live chat, things may quickly take a turn for the worse.
Hosting providers such as A2 Hosting and SiteGround have plenty of hosting packages to choose from. Backed with a proven track record in the industry, room for scalability and reliant customer service, these hosting services will minimize headaches related to the day-to-day running of your website.
Your Domain Name
The importance of a domain name is not of equal value to that of your web hosting provider. Yet, a simple, relevant and easy to memorize name is more likely to attract and retain visitors.
If possible, include a keyword in your domain that is relevant to your business. Keep it short and avoid the use of hyphens and/or numbers.
Good domain name generators can help you out if you’re struggling for ideas.
It is also important to do your research before choosing a domain name. A simple trademark search will make sure your website name is not already trademarked by another entity, avoiding potential law-suits in the future.
In terms of extensions, .com still remains the most credible domain name extension out there. It’s by far the most commonly used, it’s memorable, and most users will automatically type .com when entering your web address in their browsers.
Design and Usability
Your website should have the user experience in mind at every point of its creation.
Are you building an online shop? Make sure buyers can find what they’re searching for in seconds. If you’re selling a certain service, answer key questions on the landing page.
The key is to put yourself in your visitor’s shoes. If it was you who was visiting your website for the first time, what would interest you the most?
Clutter-free design is a necessity. Only include what you must, and throw away everything else. Too many banners, pop-ups and loads of information crammed in one place is a surefire way of pushing away visitors.
Your color scheme and font usage will also play a big part in the user experience.
Regardless of which colors you’re using, make sure to pick 2 to 3 colors and stick to them all throughout your website. Your choice of font can create better readability, consistency and audience recall – especially with customized typography users will associate with your brand.
A Customer Loyalty Program
A new customer is extremely valuable, but a returning (loyal) customer is even more beneficial for your business.
Some of the most successful online shops in the world run customer loyalty programs by way of gifting various discounts and coin gifts to shoppers.
Thus, integrating a reward program to your website may increase conversion rates by a significant amount – up by 30% in some cases.