What Does a Website Need?

by | Sep 26, 2019

What does a website need?

When planning your shiny new website, it is easy to fall into the trap of over-engineering. Your web development team will be able to advise you on how best to display your content. But taking time to figure out how to streamline your website content can help the process along!

These days, one of the most important things to consider when building a new website is the user experience (UX). Google is important, of course, but so many people focus on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to the exclusion of readability. You want enquiries as well as visits!

So… how do you make sure that your website will be streamlined?

Where to start

Let’s start with arguably the most important consideration. What information do you actually need on your website? The last thing you want to do is to overwhelm your visitors. Too much information can be just as bad as not enough information. Because a business owner is so passionate about what they do, they can often go on and on and on….

Your homepage – this will be the most visited page on your website. What is the key action you want visitors to do? Do you want them to request a free quote, sign up to your mailing list… or perhaps you want them to add a specific item to their cart?

Whatever the desired action, you need to think – is there a clear path for your users to take to complete this action? Could you have a ‘call-to-action’ banner at the top of the homepage? Or include it as a featured element on your menu?

You have to make it super simple. People are impatient. Everything has to be easy.

FAQs

Speaking of making things easy, what questions may lots of people ask? Your opening hours, location, prices…? These need to be clear and present on your website. If the answers to common questions are not there, people are becoming more likely to go elsewhere. With the advent of social, people are getting more impatient by the minute.

This is why Live Chat has made a resurgence of late. Rather than people finding out answers but you are not in control, you use Live Chat for people to ask questions and you have a captive audience. Engage with them there and then and work your magic to convert them.

Navigation

How easy is your website to navigate? If a user lands on your homepage, how many clicks does it take to what they want?

How do people get hold of you? If it’s by phone, is your phone number easy to find? Do you have online enquiry forms everywhere or just on your Contact page?

When you mention a specific service or product in your copy, are you embedding a click thru to that relevant page?

And always build mobile-first unless you are in a B2B industry where the majority of your traffic may be on a desktop. How easy is your website to navigate with a thumb?

Do you need a whole page for that?

A general rule for pages on your website is – can you write 300 words about this? If not, why not consider having this as a section on another page? Your web development team will be able to use features such as dropdowns, anchor links and other elements to help keep pages simple to navigate and digest.

Don’t be fooled into thinking you must have 500 pages on your website. Some of the most effective websites are no more than five or six pages.

Video & Imagery

 Video is a great communications tool. We all know that “a picture paints 1,000 words”. So a video paints even more!

Videos can quickly communicate a lot of information, so may be a worthwhile alternative to a large chunk of web copy. Especially if what you want to convey is ‘how to’. Show and tell people via a video on your website that’s hosted on YouTube. When people want a step-by-step guide on how to do something, YouTube is often the go-to source.

Your website is an exceptional tool for providing clients and potential new clients with key information. UX should be a key consideration from the start of the development process. Work out what you want visitors to do in order of importance, then plan the simplest way of getting them there.

When you are using photos, naturally they need to be of good quality. A smartphone is all you need unless you’re planning on blowing up the image to poster-size or soemthing. But a high res, well-taken image will be a part of how visitors will judge you, consciously or subconsciously. If it’s pixelated or badly shot… well, it’s not the impression you want to give.

Summary

Don’t skimp on persuasive copy – content is king – but, when you’re strict about it, you won’t need War and Peace either. Punchy, benefits-led copy, simple navigation on a mobile and high res imagery to impress and convert.

Codebreak recently took a 40-page website that was all “crucial” content. We managed to bring it down to 16.

Remember – SEO is important but it’s only half the battle.

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