THE FIRST STEP IN CREATING AN EFFECTIVE WEBSITE IS TO DETERMINE AND IDENTIFY YOUR WEBSITE NEEDS AND GOALS.
Start by answering these six key questions:
1. WHO IS YOUR “TARGET AUDIENCE”?
Your “target audience” refers to the people you’re trying to reach. And, since your website is really an extension of your business, you’ll want to create the best online experience for your current and potential customers. Consider these steps:
- Identify and understand your target audience. Determine things like gender, age, and location. If selling to businesses, also note your target market’s industry and company sizes.
- Research which social media sites your customers tend to use.
- Identify the content that’s important and compelling for your target audience.
- Look at your competitors’ websites; identify what you offer that is unique for customers, as well as ways you can be different with your website.
HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF TARGET AUDIENCES:
Remodeling Company target Audience could be Homeowners
Daycare Company target Audience could be Working Mothers
Law Firm target Audience could be Car Accident Victims
WHAT DO YOU WANT WEBSITE VISITORS TO DO?
Once people are on your website, there are a variety of possible actions you can offer them. Decide what one thing is most important to you that visitors do—then make that feature the most prominent element of the site
Here are a few actions you might want website visitors to take, and ways you can help guide them:
If you want Visitors to
- Call You - Your phone number is prominent on every page
- Email you - Your email address is easily found or a form visitors can fill out is on relevant pages
- Visit your business in person - Your address, hours of business and a map with directions is easy to find
WHAT KIND OF WEBSITE DO YOU NEED?
considering the type of website you need. As you know from your own experience online, there are many different types of websites. Websites range from simple to complex: from websites that primarily display an address, hours of business and a phone number to websites, such as Amazon.com, that offer millions of products for sale and enable visitors to make purchases. Use this checklist to determine what features you’d like your site to include:
✔ Basic business information, such as operating hours, address, phone number and email address
✔ Description of services or products
✔ List of areas you service
✔ Pricing information
✔ Online store (to sell items online and process payments)
✔ Customer reviews
✔ Appointment setting
✔ Quote and inquiry forms
✔ Customer service
✔ Photo gallery and video
✔ Blog forum
While some of these features are relatively simple to build into websites, others, such as an online store, can add on to the complexity or cost of the site development.
competitors or other businesses like yours. Customers may be visiting these sites as well as yours, so you’ll want to make sure your website offers useful information and features. You may also want to look for ideas at websites that are outside your industry — it’s a great way to make your own website unique and impactful.
WHAT WILL YOUR DOMAIN NAME BE?
A domain name is the unique part of the website address you type into a browser, such as www.mybusiness.com.
KEEP IN MIND, YOUR DOMAIN NAME SHOULD BE:
An exact or close match to your company (Gardens Auto = www.gardensauto.com)
- Unique (not generic)• Less than 15 characters long
- Hyphen free
HOW WILL YOUR WEBSITE FIT INTO YOUR OTHER MARKETING EFFORTS?
You’ll put top-spin on your website when you make it part of all your marketing. Think of where and how you can list and promote the website:
- On your business cards
- In print or radio ads, flyers, brochures, etc.
- As part of your email signature
- On your voicemail message: “Be sure to visit us online at www.ourbusiness.com.”
- On your invoices, bills or receipts
- On your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles
- On any graphics or decals on business vehicles
- On directory listings and maps pages on the web
BUILDING A WEBSITE IS LIKE BUILDING A HOUSE: YOU NEED A PLAN
Making your website easy to find and as effective as possible, means making sure it has these 10 essentials:
- INCORPORATE KEYWORDS: In order for search engines to understand what’s on your page and better connect you to potential visitors, you need to have your most important information (keywords) included in your website. These typically are embedded during the meta-tagging process in the following three key areas:
• Title Tag: descriptive, keyword-rich and specific – tags are major contributors to ranking and should be less than 65 characters long
• Meta Description: keyword-rich – this explains what the website is about and helps click-thru rates
• Meta Keywords: match to related search terms used by your target audience
- INCLUDE MULTIPLE POINTS OF CONTACT:
Make it easy for visitors to contact you. Display your phone number prominently at the top and bottom of every page. Include your email address and possibly your physical address in the footer (the bottom bar) of every page. Be sure to create a “Contact” page that includes all the above information, plus a map, directions, hours of operation and possibly a form visitors can fill out for more information
- MAKE BRANDING PROFESSIONAL & CONSISTENT:
Save the smiley faces and animated graphics for emails to your friends—your website should have a professional look that matches your brand. Use colors that go with your logo colors; choose one or two fonts and use them consistently across the site; make sure graphics or photos complement each other and look professional. If in doubt, keep it simple
- PROVIDE CLEAR CALLS-TO-ACTION:
• on your website that invites visitors to do something. Clear calls-to-action get visitors to take the next step and go from just looking at your website to contacting your business. Calls-to-action could include:
- Learn More (link to download a brochure, an eBook, product guide, catalog, etc.)
- Call Now• Free Consultation or Free Estimate
- Get a Price Quote• Buy Now• Make an Appointment
- Request a Demo• Request a Sales Call
- Sign Up (for a newsletter, email tips or special offers)
- Follow Us on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, Connect on LinkedIn• Register (for a drawing or a prize)• Visit Us (link to map)
5. MAKE PAGES EASY TO READ: Most people just scan the information in websites rather than read it top to bottom, start to finish. Make pages simple to scan by remembering an “F” pattern—put important content across the top of the pages and down the left side. Also, use bold headlines and subheads to make information easy to scan.
- MAKE THE SITE EASY TO NAVIGATE: Navigation tabs or buttons should be consistent across every page. As mentioned above, you’ll want to position navigation using the F-shaped reading pattern, with buttons, links or tabs running across the top or left side of the page. Also be sure to:
• Keep your primary navigation to eight tabs or less (five is ideal)
• Make clickable elements consistent, especially in terms of font, size and other stylistic elements
• Include a header and footer on each page for key links and information
• Add a progress tracker (sometimes called a Breadcrumb) close to the top of each page.
- PUT IMPORTANT INFO “ABOVE THE FOLD”: Think of a newspaper — the biggest stories are on the top half of the page, or “above the fold.” Your website should do the same. According to a recent Nielsen report, 80% of site visitors won’t scroll down the whole page, so make sure the important info is near the top
- MAKE THE SITE QUICK TO LOAD: If your site takes more than a few seconds to load, visitors may abandon it and go to a competitor’s site instead. You can help ensure the site loads quickly by keeping image sizes low (but still of good quality) and limiting the number of videos, widgets, photos and social media sharing buttons embedded in the site
- BUILD CREDIBILITY & TRUST: Your website should help potential customers get to know you and trust your work. To help build credibility, include samples of your work on the site; testimonials from happy customers; links to newspaper or magazine articles that have featured your business; any awards you’ve received; and logos of any local organizations you belong to, such as the Chamber of Commerce.
- CONNECT TO SOCIAL MEDIA: Whether your customers are consumers or other businesses, connecting with them on social media is a great way to spread the word about your products or services, as well as increase traffic to your website. You’ll want to know on which social networks your target audience spends their time. Here’s a quick rundown of the most popular sites:
YOUR WEBSITE REPRESENTS YOUR BRAND
Your brand: it’s who you are as a business. It’s your personality. From the name of your company to your logo and slogan, they all add up to help your business stand out from the crowd and stick in customers’ minds.
MAKING YOUR WEBSITE TO GO: MOBILE WEBSITES
by 2020, more people will use their mobile phones, a.k.a. smartphones, to go online than their desktop computers. In fact, some people are already declaring that the laptop is dead technology. Smartphones are now part of our daily lives, and businesses that make their websites easy to use on mobile devices will have an advantage in capturing customers who are looking for local businesses while out and about
BENEFITS OF MOBILE SITES
- Conversion: Clickable phone numbers and maps make it easy for customers to take action
- Credibility: 1 in 5 mobile device users have a negative opinion of a business with a poor mobile site or no mobile site at all
- Connectivity: Smartphone users often use their devices to connect with social media sites, so a mobile site featuring links to your social media profile makes it seamless for customers to connect with your business on social networks
At Progeektech our job is to let you focus on what you want to do — and what you do best. Whether you have a website that needs to be improved or doesn’t yet have a website, our Google-certified, website-marketing experts are ready to help you in any way they can. All you need to do is ask.
Our expertise is at your command. Call (747) 333-8772 today or simply request a call for a free web design consultation to get started.