7 Meaningful reasons to update your website in 2016
Last month we posted an article containing the first 4 of 8 considerations when creating a new website. This month we complete the final 4 considerations that enable you to develop a website that not only looks great, but functions well, is expandable and performs well in search engine rankings.
5: How do I contact you?
How many times have you arrived on a website with the sole purpose of wanting to contact the business or organisation only to find that you have to navigate through page after page to find their contact details and in some cases never do. This is extremely frustrating and more often than not will lead to visitors leaving the website and sourcing their requirements else where.
Contact details must be clear, prominent and consistent. For instance depending on the layout of the website design you may want to locate your contact details at the top every page to make it easy for visitors to contact you. You should offer multiple ways to contact the business as different users will have varying preferences e.g.
Want more business conversions from you website? as well as having clear contact details you need to prompt visitors to your website to take action by implementing call to action techniques into the website design. For instance, you may have a marketing window on the website that says ‘We sell the best BBQ’s in the world’ coupled with an image. Now add ‘Order this BBQ by calling 0800 123 456 or email firstname.lastname@example.org’. You could also attach an offer or promotion to the call to action.
By implementing call to action elements like this into your website design you are guiding visitors to take action and helping them decide what to do next. The key is to echo this throughout the website e.g.
These techniques depend on your market, the purpose of the website and your online marketing strategy but should be implemented into your website design otherwise you may be missing business opportunities.
6: Lack of Structured Layout – Particularly text content
Have you ever arrived on a website and being presented with a page full of text displaying paragraph after paragraph of words?…We’ve all been there, and i’m guessing we’ve all immediately thought ‘I’m not reading that!’ and clicked away from the website.
Focused keyword rich content is very important and we aren’t saying that pages shouldn’t have lots of it – in fact they should, being as this is what Search Engines index (read) on your website.
The key is to present the content (text and images) in a manor that makes it manageable for visitors to digest – particularly on the homepage.
You may have a need for pages of technical data and text, but this should be located further into the website for visitors that have a desire to read it (although even this should be well structured). The homepage should provide visitors with a clear overview of the businesses products and services and sign post them to the topical content areas of the website should they choose to read the topic specific content.
Text should be formatted into manageable paragraphs and where possible divided into clear sections of the website page. It should also be a legible size. There should be a balance of headings, sub headings, text and images and if you have a very important marketing message, highlight it by overlaying it on a graphic.
Your aim is to present a well balanced, informative engaging website to your intended audience. Remember space on the page is your best friend.
7: Poor use of Images
They say that pictures say a thousand words. When creating a new website it’s important that you use high quality images that complement your marketing messages and business values. Images need to engage visitors so it’s important that an effective use of imagery is implemented into the design.
No matter how great the website design and functionality is, poor quality, amateur images will immediately make the website look dated, amateur and will reflect badly on your business. There are many stock photography websites that you can buy good quality images such as istockphoto and shutterstock. These are a cost effective way to have images that reflect well on your business. Be sure that you seek advice from your website designer (who should understand your marketing and business needs as well as your audience) on which ones to use. The designer should suggest these in the design process anyway. If you buy good quality stock photography you can also use the images throughout your marketing material bringing consistency to your marketing approach.
Whilst Royalty free stock photography is a great low cost source for images, the problem is that they can appear on other peoples website and marketing material due to the nature of ‘Royalty Free’ images.
If stock photography isn’t what you want to use, isn’t appropriate for your business or you have a specific product that’s bespoke to you, then custom photography is needed from a Professional Photographer. Unless you are a professional photographer you will not be able to create the required level of quality in photos taken yourself…no matter how expensive your camera is. Photography and lighting is an art and this is the first impression your customers are going to have of your business so its worth the investment. You also then have a quality library of images that can be used throughout your marketing material.
Effective use of images can differentiate you in your marketplace. Images can create new angles to promote your products and services and set the theme and style on your website. Images can influence buying decisions particularly on eCommerce websites where customers are viewing your products so good quality images are a must.
8: Management & Scalability
When creating a new website it is important that when the website is complete, you have direct access to the Content Management System so you can consistently update content, write blog posts and work on your online strategy. There are so many user friendly Content Management Systems available that it is a must that your website has one integrated. Gone are the days of clients having to go back to their website development supplier for small updates to their website as the control is now in your hands. We no longer develop Websites without Content Management Systems purely based on the fact that you cant do anything with them.
Content Management Systems
Content Management Systems allow users to login and edit the text and images on a website. Depending on the specification of the website you may need to manage an events calendar or property search system, Content Management Systems enable you to do this in line with your online strategy. They also enable you to work on your on page SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy.
Something to think about when formulating the sitemap and specification of the website and Content Management System is the scalability of the website. Does the Content Management System allow you to perform the online tasks that you require? It’s important that you understand the capability of the system so that your website can grow with your business. It is well worth investing in a system that delivers the functionality required from the outset rather than realise that you need to invest further down the road as this is almost always more expensive.
We hope that these 8 considerations have been helpful and insightful. We will be posting more useful tips and advice on Website Design & Development and Marketing. In the meantime have a look at some of the Website Designs Lightbox have created.
For further information or advice on creating a new website for your business
call 01543 305 931 or email us