When was the last time you perused through your company’s website?
Not your web designer, intern, or anyone else — when was the last time you took a good look at whether everything’s working properly? As marketers, CEOs, and brand storytellers, it is our personal responsibility to ensure that our website communicates our Brand Story.
I was reminded this week how easy it is to forget about the importance of your website.
We experienced a glitch with some upgrades to our site, and overnight, the user experience (UX) was significantly degraded. I won’t bore you with the details here, but let’s just say that I was upset that our development team put the changes into production without testing them thoroughly, but that’s a longer rant that I’ll save for a future post.
What this experience did remind me of is just how quickly we lose sight of the importance of a website to communicate our Brand Story.
In most cases, your commercial website is the first place that your audience interacts with your brand, so it’s important to get it right and make sure it stays that way! If things are off just a bit, it distracts the user from the Brand Story, reflects poorly on the credibility of the business, and most likely squanders opportunities for further engagement with that user. From the content that you publish to the security features you employ, investing time into your website development is time well spent. If you aren’t an expert in website development and content management, then you might not exactly know the ins and outs of what makes a website highly effective.
So, in the spirit of “taking a spoonful of our own medicine”, here is our review of website design essentials and 6 tips to help you shine online.
1. Mind the Header
Within your header, you should have your logo and tagline. The tagline should briefly summarize what your business does, and your domain name should be easy to remember so people can effortlessly find your company for future uses. Also, make sure to include a strong call to action, such as “chat with us now” or “download our latest whitepaper”. Your call to action is an important way to convert strangers into leads and leads into customers, so use it well and make sure it is clear and prominent on your home page.
Take a look at showcasecreative.com, which specializes in high quality, printed presentation products, for a good example of how to use a website header.
2. Keep it Above the Fold
Research shows that most website visitors will leave a website after less than 20 seconds. Therefore, you need to ensure you make the most out of those 20 seconds. What people can see in those first few moments will determine whether they want to keep looking at your website’s content. Positioned above the fold is the section of the website that will be displayed without scrolling down the page. Therefore, this area is very important, and the content should reflect your main services and any information that will persuade your website visitors to use your services. A slider or image is an effective way to make the page look attractive, while still providing information about your services.
CrazyEgg has a captivating and engaging above the fold design.
3. Feature Testimonials
When people are looking for a product or service, they want to know what other people think about that product or service before they pay for it. Reviews and testimonials are a great way of encouraging visitors to trust your service.
4. Highlight Contact Details
Having a great looking website is fantastic, but if the website visitor cannot find your contact details quickly, they will most likely go elsewhere. Nobody wants to scroll through pages to find contact information, so make it simple for them to find the information from your landing page. The header and footer are often excellent places for this information.
Digital agency Somo utilizes the navigation and a CTA to make contact details easily accessible.
5. Simplify Navigation
Again, if a visitor is struggling to navigate your website then they will become frustrated and leave. Make sure you have an easy navigation system for great user experience (UX).
6. Captivate with Content
Don’t underestimate the power of producing great content. Spending time creating great copy, interesting visuals, and engaging videos will produce better results and customer engagement. Your content should always have your target audience in mind, and you should ask questions such as: what information is needed, and if there a problem we can provide a solution to? Your content is going to define the quality of your website, therefore, ensure you spend time and money on it.
Even the best marketers will inevitably face website snafus and embarrassing breakdowns. By periodically auditing your website and testing your performance on the essentials, you can avoid the pitfalls and minimize the stress. Successful online customer engagement rests in a company’s ability to deliver a simple, clear, and aligned Brand Story with ruthless consistency. Learn more about how to harness the power of the six-second story to engage prospects and inspire remarkable customer experiences by reading the TopRight Guide to Transformational Marketing.
Photo credit: Flickr