If you’re a business owner, I’m sure you have a website – it’s a must these days to have an online presence. But what is your website actually achieving? Is it bringing in new business or just sitting there? If it’s the latter I’m guessing you don’t do much with it right? You paid to have it set up and that was that. But what if you could really make it work for you? How do you get your website to do its job and bring in new leads?
What makes an effective website?
An effective website should fulfill its intended function by conveying your individual message whilst simultaneously engaging the visitor. A well-designed website will build trust in your business and encourage visitors to take action. There are a number of elements that go into making an effective website:
- Purpose – your website needs to have a purpose to be effective, what do you want it to do? Is it there to build your brand, generate leads or sell items? Are you just imparting information? Knowing what its function is will help you achieve it.
- Design – simplicity is key for a good website, too much information and too many graphics will overwhelm visitors. Some of the most effective websites are the simplest, with plenty of white space.
- Think about the colors you use – different colors inspire different emotions in visitors, for instance red can provoke passion and green feelings of nature.
- Use high quality images to break up the text and represent your business well but don’t overdo it, too many large images will slow your website down.
- Typography is important – For example, ornate, cursive fonts lend an air of sophistication and seriousness while Sans Serif fonts provide a more modern, streamlined feel. There are a few font rules to keep in mind for effective website design: stick to Sans Serif fonts for body text, a maximum of three typefaces, and font size of 12-16 pts. Sans Serif fonts like Arial and Verdana tend to be easier to read online than Serif fonts like Courier and Garamond.
- Navigation should be straight-forward, an effective website is easy to navigate so visitors can find what they are looking for straight away. Complicated navigation will drive visitors away.
- Content – clear, concise, well-written content is important for a good website. Keep sentences and paragraphs short, people are turned off by large blocks of text. Instead, utilize headers, subheadings, and bullet points when possible.
- Grid based layout – Grids help to structure your design and keep your content organized. The grid helps to align elements on the page and keep it clean. Structure your page in an ‘F’ shape, in the west we naturally scan a page from the top and left to right so put the most important information in the top left hand corner.
- Speed – a good website must load quickly, most visitors will leave a website that doesn’t load in 3 seconds. Make sure you compress images so they don’t slow your website down.
- Mobile-friendliness – over half of all internet traffic is now viewed on a mobile device so your website must be optimized for this. A website that is designed for a pc will be difficult to read on a mobile so visitors will give up and leave.
What makes an ineffective website?
An ineffective website will often be one created cheaply using a DIY website builder. These make it difficult to customize the website. The functionality is fairly basic and the look and feel are generic. A website won’t generate business if it looks bland and doesn’t function well.
To be effective people need to find your website through search engines. For this to happen you have to optimize your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) is difficult to do with a DIY website builder. SEO should be built into the whole website to be effective and to do this you need someone who knows what they are doing. A web design agency like Koreti will incorporate SEO into the whole website so that when people search for products like yours, your website will show up in the results.
Maybe you did employ a professional web designer to build your website but it still isn’t working for you. Sometimes a lack of communication means that the web designer doesn’t really understand your business and therefore doesn’t produce the best result.
Or maybe the problem lies in your marketing efforts, are you communicating the right messages to your prospective customers? You may have a fantastic product or service but if you are sending out mixed or confusing messages on your website it won’t achieve the desired result.
So, what can you do about it?
The key to getting an effective website is to invest in it. A cheap website may be appealing in the short term, but if it doesn’t achieve anything it is a waste of money. Employing a decent web designer and investing £6-10k in a great website will pay dividends in the longer term. They will take the time to truly understand your business and your needs to ensure the design and content are what you are looking for.
They can build SEO into it from the start, and continue to optimize your website after it goes live so that you will appear high up in search results. Ranking well requires ongoing work and takes effort.
They will understand Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) which is the percentage of visitors to a website that performs the desired action. So, if your goal is to get more leads or sales from your website, they will know how to achieve this.
All you have to do is position yourself and say the right thing and the customers will come to you, you might even be able to ditch the expensive sales reps, the email marketing, and the cold calling company that you’ve never had much faith in.
The benefits of having an effective website go beyond simply having an attractive-looking site. 87% of shoppers now start by searching online so you want your website to work for you. It needs to drive new customers to you and for that to happen it has to be effective. And to be effective it requires investment.
Written by Caroline Grey, a Content Writer with a wide variety of experience across a number of different industry sectors.