5 Things Every Website Needs | Brand Web Design

A website is more than just a fancy digital brochure.

There are a lot of moving parts that combine to make an effective website that attracts and engages visitors, but today I'm just going to cover 5 of the most important areas. As you go through this list, try to think of your website from the perspective of a potential new customer. What would their experience be like visiting your site for the first time? It's amazing how even a few small tweaks can make a huge difference when it comes to creating a memorable user experience and increasing the effectiveness of your site.

#1: Is it obvious what you do?

Every visitor to your site is a potential customer. They need to be engaged from the moment they arrive at at your site, and one of the first things they should be able to understand is who you are and what you do. This will help them make an informed decision from the start about whether they want to continue through your site and progress towards a purchase or not.

Check it:

Visit your website and cover your logo up with your hand. Can you immediately tell what your business does without going deeper into your website and reading more copy?  If not, you could be losing a lot of potential business.

Fix it:

Typically you have about 3 seconds to capture and keep a user's attention before they leave, so be clear about what you offer (your value proposition) and how the customer can benefit from working with you early on the page. [clickToTweet tweet="Website Tip 1: Make sure visitors know right away who you are and what you do! #websitetips" quote="Website Tip #1: Make sure visitors know right away who you are and what you do!"]

#2: Do you have a prominent call-to-action?

What is the #1 goal for your website? What are you doing to encourage visitors to your site to take action towards your goal? Website goals usually fall into a few common categories:
  • sell a product or service
  • grow your email list
  • encourage social media likes and shares
  • build your online community (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.)
  • provide information
If it’s unclear to a user what the main thing is that you want them to do, you are wasting an opportunity to drive them towards an action.

Check it:

Think about the primary goal you have for your site.  You could also have secondary actions that you'd like visitors to take if they aren't ready to work with you yet or make a purchase (for example, your primary goal could be to sell your service, but you also want people to sign up for your newsletter so you can nurture them towards a sale later on). Are you asking visitors to take a specific action towards your goal on every page?

Fix it:

People love to click on buttons! Make it easy for people by using engaging text and a contrasting colour for your call-to-action buttons so they stand out and entice users to click. Place primary call-to-action items in prominent spots on your site, near the top of the page and in the footer. Secondary call-to-action items can be placed throughout your site, in the footer, sidebars or in your content. [clickToTweet tweet="Website Tip 2: Make it easy to work with you by having a prominent call-to-action! #websitetips" quote="Website Tip #2: Make it easy to work with you by having a prominent call-to-action!"]

#3: Can customers contact you easily?

Having a phone number on your website boosts conversion because some people are happy to know they can call you if they need to, and it reassures them that your business is real rather than just online. Some potential customers will want to talk to someone before buying. If you're like me and have irregular phone hours (I also teach part-time, or I'm in client meetings so I'm not always available for calls), make sure you have an alternate way for people to contact you easily, such as the ability to schedule a call with you during a mutually convenient time. The benefit of an online scheduler is that you can ask them in the request form what they'd like to discuss, giving you the opportunity to do some research if needed before you get them on the phone. Other ways to contact you could be through an online form, by providing your email address or listing your physical address (and map).

Check it:

Is your phone number or contact link present at the top of every page? Do you have at least 2 ways for visitors to contact you (online form, phone number, email address, scheduler, address, map)? Also check if they can click through from the website to call from their mobile device.

Fix it:

Place your contact information at the top of every page, and make sure to include a link to the contact page in the main navigation. It's also a good idea to have your contact information in the footer of every page as well. Make sure phone numbers are clickable links. Set up a scheduler for visitors to book a call or consultation with you using a program like Acuity, VCita or Calendly. These can be integrated into your website quickly, even for "non-techies"! [clickToTweet tweet="Website Tip 3: Place your phone number at the top of your page so customers can reach you quickly! #websitetips" quote="Website Tip #3: Place your phone number at the top of your page so customers can reach you quickly!"]

Man writing in a notebook beside an open laptop

#4: Is your content easy to read?

Excellent copy makes your target audience want to continue reading. Unfortunately most of us aren't copy writers so coming up with effective content can be difficult! Overall, your website content should do a few things: It should connect with the reader by focusing on their pain points and the benefits your service offers to them. It should showcase the product/service and overcome all objections a visitor might have. It should encourage the next conversion step you want a visitor to take towards your website goals.

Check it:

Go through the content on your site, keeping an eye out for these common mistakes:
  • "Wall of text" (large blocks of text)
  • Generally difficult to follow
  • Use of the words “we”, “our” and “I”
  • Buttons that say “submit”
  • Links that say “click here”
  • Technical jargon
  • Spelling and grammar errors
  • Does not engage reader

Fix it:

If you need a fresh start and you're not comfortable with writing or just don't have the time, it is a worthwhile investment to hire a content writer to come up with new content for your website. If your current content is in good shape overall and you are up for the task, you can edit it using these simple rules:
  • Break up large chunks of text with headings, lists and quotes to make it more digestible and skimmable
  • Use words “you” and “your” instead of "I", "we" (focus on benefit to your audience instead of what you do)
  • Buttons/links that say “sign up” or “join now” or other action-oriented text
  • Supporting imagery
  • Persuasive without salesiness
  • Clearly outlined benefits of their service/product
  • Addresses objections their visitors might have
  • Asks the visitor questions
[clickToTweet tweet="Website Tip 4: Your content should focus on the benefit to your customer, not on you! #websitetips" quote="Website Tip #4: Your content should focus on the benefit to your customer, not on you!"]

Man and woman sitting at a table look at website on multiple devices

#5: Is your website responsive?

If your website isn’t easily viewable on both desktop and mobile devices enabling customers to view your site in a way that’s best for the device they’re using, then you could be losing out on potential customers. Most internet users will research a company, product or service on their mobile devices first (it is estimated that mobile devices will account for 80% of daily internet consumption in 2018), so it’s really important to have a website that your customers can easily interact with via mobile phones, tablets and that also performs well on desktop or laptop computers.

Check it:

Go through your website on multiple devices (it’s a good idea to ask friends and family to do the same!). Check that elements such as images, text and menus adjust based on the screen resolution and the device you’re using. Does the content look good on any screen by being resized, hidden, shrunk, enlarged or otherwise moved?

Fix it:

If you use a platform like WordPress and you’re comfortable with installing a new theme, you could purchase a premium responsive theme and update your website yourself. If the thought of touching anything on your website makes you cringe, your best option is to hire a qualified web designer or developer to make your site responsive. This could be as simple as adding mobile styles to your website stylesheet, installing and setting up a premium theme for you, or it could require a complete overhaul of your site (hey maybe it’s time for a fresh new look anyway!) [clickToTweet tweet="Website Tip 5: A responsive website is 100% necessary in 2018! #websitetips" quote="Website Tip #5: With over 80% of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, a responsive website is 100% necessary in 2018!"]

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Free Website Audit

Do you want to know how you can make your website better?  I can take a look at it and give you some pointers on how you can improve. I typically assess your visuals, calls to action, content, sales copy/headlines, and how Google sees your site (basic SEO tactics). If you’d like me to do a free audit on your site just fill out the quick form below and I will be in touch with some easy-to-implement ideas to make your site more effective!
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