Having an online presence is your gateway to the world, an opportunity to grow your business and reach new heights. How your site looks, feels and performs is critical in maximising this potential.
Create the right focus to channel users into leads
Your business will have goals and your site should created and managed with these goals in mind. A website is a component of a marketing campaign and, just like with any other marketing idea, your site should have clearly defined goals and objectives.
This might be to sell a specific product, or promote a service. Your website may be best off acting as an information resource that helps cement your company’s reputation within your industry. Having a focus in mind before the site is built will help you turn traffic into business.
Did you know – a cluttered websites with too much information frustrates and irritates users, ultimately meaning your business misses out on generating enquiries as users look elsewhere.
Aesthetics that guide and not detract
Your sites’ look and feel is a pivotal aspect of how it ultimately performs. Branding and identity have a huge impact on the impression your business gives to potential customers, and your website is a big part of that.
“92.6% of people say the visual dimension is the #1 influencing factor affecting their purchase decision”
One of the most important design choices is colour. Your site may already be restricted to the colours of your brand, but it’s always important to consider how different colours have a different psychological impact on users.
For example, some websites find a significant increase in conversions on a call to action, by changing the colour of the button. One example, Ript, changed their call to action from green to yellow and saw a 6.3% increase in conversions.
Layout and composition of the elements on each page of your website need to be carefully considered. The page layout should aim to guide the user towards making a conversion or fulfilling an action. A website design can achieve this by de-cluttering, and considering the composition of images and calls to action.
An great example of this approach is exhibited by Apple. Over the years, Apple have mastered the ability to create minimal yet engaging web pages that are incredibly effective in providing the users with the information required, and funnelling them towards a defined action.
On their home page, Apple only displays and promotes heavily a single product. Navigation is simple and clear, and the page is free of distractions.
This helps Apple to influence how users navigate a website. Think of it like a road system. By choosing where the roads take the traffic, you can be in control of the destination. Achieving this can be done by giving careful consideration to a sites aesthetics and aiming for simplicity.
Build for as wide an audience as possible
As much as budget constraints can make this tricky, your website should cater to as wide an audience as possible. This means ensuring two key aspects.
1. The site works across a wide range of devices and browsers
It is common for mobile and tablet visitors to make up 1 in 4 of the traffic a website receives. In some cases, mobile visitors can be more common than desktop browsers, so having a responsive website is a must.
Cross-browser compatibility is also important to consider in order to ensure you are not losing out on any potential business. You’ll need to weigh up the cost of catering for older browsers when building a website, and whether the traffic through older browsers is worth the extra development costs.
2. The site is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities
Accessibility is also an important factor, and we are not just talking about screen readers for those that cannot browse the internet through sight. Accessibility also encompasses other issues such as colour, contrast, font legibility and proportions. Your text and content should make sense whether read in your head or out loud, and the aesthetics of your site play an important role in helping those with other sight problems such as colour blindness still be able to navigate.
A good example is colourblindness. Some users may have difficulty identifying between certain colours, and this can lead to an inability to read headlines, your content or a buy-now button. This can affect how the user navigates the site and may result in a lost sale or sign up.
“15 – 20% of American internet users have a disability”
By catering to all users regardless of their age or disability, you are not just helping maximise the sites return on investment but it also means you are not discriminating disabled users.
Usability as a whole is also a factor that can play a role in helping as many people as possible use your website.
The right marketing campaign
It doesn’t matter how impressive, well designed or user friendly your website is if you don’t have any visitors. This is when marketing plays the pivotal role in driving traffic to your site. Your marketing should align neatly with the site, communicating the same brand story and message to the users.
An effective campaign can be delivered through multiple channels – search engine optimisation (SEO), paid advertising, social media, video, rich media platforms and more in order to reach the widest possible audience. Campaigns should, ultimately, achieve your business’s objectives and goals.
“60% of all organic clicks go to the top 3 organic results”
Digital marketing is equally important for established household names, driving sales and improving brand image.
Here are some of the various components of successful online marketing:
- Coherent social media and SEO strategy – keep all online content and communication to the same guidelines and objectives
- Clearly defined goals and KPIs – be very clear about what you want to achieve and how you will measure performance
- Adaptive and flexible process – online marketing campaigns cannot afford to be rigid, you should respond to your KPI’s as well as new trends and topics to keep yourself relevant
- Strong branding and brand message – your brand and how you communicate your key message will be pivotal in ensuring the success of your online marketing
- Utilisation of offline marketing assets – don’t treat online marketing exclusively from offline, involve your offline assets for a more coherent campaign
- Develop key business relationships – forming close relationships with other businesses can pave the way for collaboration and joint-marketing exercises, expanding your reach
Good, effective web design is what will help your business grow online. Design is not just about aesthetics, or looking pretty, but about every aspect of how your site behaves for the users, including functionality, layout and content.
“Good design is good business” – Thomas Watson Jr.
It’s also about the design of your wider online strategy, including marketing, and how the online side of your business will drive sales and bring your business into the digital world.
Almost 1 in 2 people on the planet are now online, an audience you cannot afford to miss.
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