Updated: May 28, 2021
Welcome! As a business owner, you know that online opportunities only grow when the number of your website visitors grows. There isn't a single right answer for creative design, so what can you do?
Following industry best practices will ensure more lead opportunities and business success. We have compiled these insights to help you establish your business's online presence.
1. Balance creative design and intuitive design
Creative design will definitely capture your visitors' attention, but the usability is just as important. The more intuitive your website is to use, the more people use it.
Intuitive design means visitors can find exactly the information they need, take the actions they want to - without much "figuring out".
Online visitors spend time on other websites too. They have an expectation about how websites work which is based worldwide conventions. If you don't follow those naming and structural conventions, it affects not only your users but also your search engine ranking.
Some essential conventions for site design include:
· Put your logo at the centre or top left in the header, and make it a link to your homepage.
· Include your site menu, association memberships, social media links and contact details in the footer.
· Use underlined text for links
· Use red to mark important messages
· Avoid grey or light-coloured buttons - visitors may think they are disabled
· If visitors can (and should) scroll down, the scrollbar must be visible.
· Use common terms throughout the website. Home, About, Gallery, FAQ, Contact etc. So visitors can find what they want without thinking.
Installing analytical tools on your site can be very useful. It helps you understand the most common visitor journeys. You can then adjust the website to be more intuitive and give a better user experience. Do separate user journey tests for frequent users and new visitors.
2. Homepages vs landing pages
Your homepage and your landing pages have entirely different goals or purposes:
The homepage of your site sets the stage. It is the central point of online presence for your business
Landing pages are like roadmaps that guides your visitors to take specific actions. Examples a sales page that aims to sell a product, or a lead capturing page that aims to expand your database.
They have different designs for those different purposes.
· Your homepage gives an overall bird's eye view. The Visual Hierarchy of this page is vital. Design elements are organised so that visitors naturally gravitate toward the most important products or services.
· As visitors journey through your site, they come to decision opportunities. Every opportunity needs an action button, so the user can make a decision or take action on the spot. For example, an effective "Our Services" section should finish with a "Book Now" or "Request Callback" button.
3. Have a data management strategy
As your business grows, you will use more management tools. It is easy to end up with multiple "data islands" because your platform are not integrated.
This is why a data management strategy should be an integral part of your web development plan. It's important for other elements of online presence for your business too.
Nowadays, data management features are rarely built from scratch. Plugins and widgets are used to integrate multiple components, libraries, and frameworks.
An ideal approach to manage the data strategy is to
· create a flowchart of your business model
· identify the best method to store data at each stage
· identify integration tools to convert data for the next stage
Your aim is to avoid manual tasks, hacks and tricky workarounds.
4. Automations vs personal communication
As small business owners tend to wear multiple hats, it is increasingly important to delegate and automate.
A well-planned automation strategy should improve your productivity, reliability, availability and performance.
Some points to consider are
· Develop your lead capture or sales process fully before using automation
· Create automation based on user feedback
· Test your automations with different scenarios
· Do not over-depend on automated systems
· Avoid using automations where clients expect a human touch. This includes points where they have the tendency to provide more information.
· Consider the security risks involved for your data as well as the data of your visitors.
5. Expanding your reach vs focusing on your niche
It is always better to be very specific about the services you offer and the areas where you offer them. Even well-designed and usable websites will not build online presence for business if no one can find them.
Solid search engine rankings help a website connect with users. If your blog posts fit specific requirements, you'll have a great chance of turning up in the results.
Use domain-specific language. A straightforward way to do this is to ask yourself, "What would the client Google if they want to reach my business?"
For example, imagine you sell strawberry cupcakes. "We make the best food" is far less specific than "We make the best strawberry cupcakes in Australia"!
Once you have specific content, pay attention to your site's look and feel, navigation, and speed. This will translate to more happy visitors and a higher conversion rate.
6. Accessibility and mobile content optimisation
Mobile devices are now the device of choice. More than 40 per cent of people are likely to skip a website the moment they know it's not mobile-friendly.
This reality is important when you want to establish or improve online presence.
Adapting your website to the latest trends makes sense. Your site should be up to date and user-oriented, with full mobile optimisation.
Additionally, 15% of the world's population is living with a disability. An even greater percentage is living with short-term functional difficulties. Design that caters to the special needs of your visitors makes perfect business sense, and also improves your SEO ranking. Some simple changes can go a long way here, such as:
· Use Alt Text with images.
· Avoid using high-speed videos and animated text.
· Allow users to choose font size and screen contrast.
· Allow keyboard navigation
· Avoid overcomplicated tables and charts
7. Building a low maintenance, "future-proof" online presence
Your business will naturally change and grow. Your website and your online presence should too.
Your strategy for online presence should include growth. It's crucial to keep that cost-efficient. The direction and pace of your potential growth play a huge role in building your strategy.
Share your growth projections with your development team to make sure that you are well aligned.
If you are hiring a developer, make sure that you have a user manual and clear instructions on how to update the site.
Growth is not the only factor in future planning. The way we use websites is also changing constantly.
· Ensure your website can adapt to the ever-changing variety of devices and screen sizes with minimal maintenance.
· Use well-structured CMS systems and databases which allow you to update your site's content and look and feel easily, without disruption.
· Another smart technique is to structure your website in organized blocks of information. This means you can update a single component without disrupting other "blocks".
However, the world of web development is in a permanent state of flux. Whatever you do, your website will need inspections, support, and upgrades on an ongoing basis.
In conclusion, a good website is significant in building online presence for business. A user-friendly interface with ever-improving SEO rankings will take you a long way. On the back end, a well-designed structure will help you adapt to change as your business grows.
For more details on how you can improve your online presence, get in touch with Salwa at Sylvex. Go to https://www.sylvex.com.au and book a time with the team.