So you have a website for your new brand, congratulations! You’re set right? Let the customers start rolling in………wait. Where is everybody?!
Yes, I know you know there’s more to good web design than just having a website, but you’d be surprised how often we see websites that don’t do some of the fundamental things a website needs to do in order to support a brand. So, in the interest of public service, here are some of the basic things your website should be doing if it’s going to really perform as a platform for your business.
Content is King
You thought I was going to start with attractive design didn’t you. Ha! We’ll get there, but first things first. And content comes first because it doesn’t matter how beautiful your site is, if it doesn’t contain anything worthwhile, your visitors will just bounce off your site like Ping-Pong balls. If you have a blog, make sure you are posting regularly, and with content that is relevant/exciting to your target market. Use attractive images in your posts. If you can’t blog regularly, get rid of your blog. Period. With or without a blog, you also need to make sure that the other content on your site is also worth reading. Make sure all of your copy is infused with personality, and that it avoids industry jargon and meaningless buzzwords.
Yes, Yes, Attractive Design
It needs to look good. Duh. But what does that mean? The answer to that question changes with the prevailing mood, but there are certain things that hold true through fads. You need a consistent color scheme, one that works with your logo, and that doesn’t hinder the readability or usability of your site. Large, attractive images are always a good bet. Plenty of breathing room between page elements, and a restrained use of accents and decorative elements. Typography that works harmoniously with the design. Icons!!!! Still unclear? The best thing to do is look for sites you think are attractive and ask yourself what it is they are doing that you like.
You Need a Kick-Ass Logo
Good logos are awesome! They act as a pictographic brand ambassador, you can stick them on anything, and they make people want to find out more about your brand.
Bad logos are terrible! They act as brand detractors, should never be stuck anywhere and make people want to burn things with your brand on them.
Take a good look at your logo, and then take a good look at other modern logo designs (especially in your industry) and ask yourself if your logo honestly gets even close. People have a tendency to get emotionally attached to their logos, even long after their design remains fresh, so it can be hard to admit they need to go. Luckily, if you’re building a new website, it’s the perfect time to rebrand, so whip that logo into shape, and then stick it in a prominent place on every page of your site.
Now What Do I Do?
People are busy, distracted and impatient. It’s just the nature of things. So, when they come to your site, they need to know immediately what to do next, or they will probably leave. You can use this need to your advantage by having prominent suggestions for them to do the thing you want them to do. Need newsletter signups? Have an email opt-in in your header. Make sure it’s accompanied by a call to action like “Click Here to Sign Up for Our Newsletter,” so the interaction you want people to take is explicit.
Let Other People Talk About How Great You Are
You can tell people how super-sweet you are till you are blue in the face, but it’s never going to have the weight of a bunch of other people talking about how super-sweet you are. Get customer testimonials and put them on a dedicated testimonial page, as well as sprinkled through-out the rest of your site. It’s still self-promotion, but hey, don’t take my word for it:
“Sam George knows what he’s talking about when it comes to integrating testimonials into a website. You should totally listen to him!”
— A Real Person
See. Do what I say.
As always, if you want a team of hip cats to make your website into a brand-supporting powerhouse, give us a shout. We’re groovy, baby!!