16 Tips For a Better Website
Many website owners think a better website means a complete overhaul – a brand new website. In some cases that may be true, but in my experience a couple of tweaks can make the difference between a bland and beautiful website.
There are hundreds of things you could be doing. But, I want to take you beyond just spell-checking your site for errors.
Condense your navigation menu
Do you have twelve items under one heading on your navigation bar? If so, you might want to look at tidying it up. A cleaner navigation makes things easy to find. When things are easier to find, it creates a better experience for your site’s visitors. Plus, they’ll be less likely to leave your site because they can’t find what they are looking for.
Have a call to action on every page
Every page on your website should make your visitor act on something. Maybe it’s to get them to purchase your ebook, view your credentials, or watch a demo video. Whatever it maybe, make it known to the user. You have to remember, they don’t want to think when they’re browsing your website. Whether it’s a button or a hyperlink, but something should be put on every page that leads them to the action you ultimately want them to take.
Put your phone number on your homepage
Every website should have their phone number. Seems obvious, yes? But, many websites don’t. It’s often placed on a contact page or not on the site at all. This is a big mistake! Many visitors head to your website just to find your phone number, so make it prominent on your homepage. The top right corner is usually best place – or, I’ve also seen it down in the footer. Regardless, put it up there!
Add business hours
Similar to the phone number above, when is your business open? Can I call you at 6am? What if I’m bringing my parents to your restaurant and it’s 10pm – will we be able to eat? These questions are inside the head of your customers more than you think. Making your hours known solves this, so put them up for all to see.
Add an about us page
Who are you? Do you work with a big team? When a business person – or consumer – selects a company to do business with, they often like to know who they’ll be working with. Add pictures of your team with real bios. Sure, professional experience is awesome, but list your hobbies, family life, and things you like to do for fun. Bottom line: show you’re a real human being.
Use big, bold images
This seems to be a pretty big trend in web design, but it’s because images speak louder than words. Capture your visitors with beautiful imagery. Take pictures of your team in action, shots of the local area, or recent projects you’ve worked on.
Add a directions widget
For those without a GPS, directions are convenient for just about anybody. Google has a free map widget you can add to your site. Just enter your address and you’ve got directions right to your front door. It shows prospective customers you care about the whole experience.
Make your site mobile-friendly
Mobile is huge right now. With over 50% of the British public owning a smartphone, your new customers are likely to come from mobile browsing. But, it’s tough to navigate a site not optimized for a tiny screen. There are plenty of inexpensive tools to create a mobile website from your current site. Explore those or get a designer to make your site mobile-friendly.
Match your company branding
Did you just update your logo or change your company colors? Make sure your brick and mortar experience matches your online experience. Creating brand awareness helps customers recognize your company when they’re on the road or describing it to friends or family.
Cut the distractions (ie. music and splash pages)
Do you have Frank Sinatra playing on your site, or a splash page that blocks people from getting to what they need? Remove it all. Why? Not only is it annoying for many visitors, but it distracts them from doing what you want them to do.
Get social with your customers
Don’t have social media yet? These days, it seems like the entire world is on social media in some way. We’re social people who like to interact with friends, family members, and even strangers. Plus, we listen to their recommendations. You want in on this community building. Get started with a Facebook page or Twitter account and focus on mastering one of them. Then move to the next network.
Add industry resources
Want to establish yourself as the company to go to in the industry? Then add some resources to your website. This could be reports, surveys, white papers, or helpful links. This material demonstrates to prospective customers you know your stuff. So, get writing!
Put your customers to work – add testimonials
Your current customers are a huge asset to your company because they can provide real-world case studies – and testimonials – as to how your company has helped them save time, save money, etc. Reach out to your best customers and ask for a testimonial. Here’s a tip: have it pre-written, so all your customer has to do is approve it.
Figure out your site’s main goal
Why do you have a website? What do you want your site to do? After you figure out these two questions, make sure your website accomplishes the goal: add or delete pages, restructure your site, make a new landing page, etc. Make your goal a top priority. And let your team know what that goal is so they can help out too.
Start from scratch
While this isn’t recommended because it takes a lot of time, money, and resources, it may be worth it. If you’ve got an old website, starting over with brand-new technology would be smart, rather than trying to patch what you already have. Start with a pencil sketch of what you want and assemble the best team to make it happen.
Hire a professional
This leads me to hiring a professional. If you’ve kept your web work in-house, it may be worth looking at bringing in the big guns. They’ll not only move the project forward, but they’ll bring their own experience and expertise to the project.