5 Secrets to a Successful and Functional Website
Any business can gain or lose a lot from a well designed and functional website. However, many companies, even relatively successful ones, seem to struggle to create an effective website.
If you look at the businesses in your niche, we’re willing to bet you’ll find at least one or two with websites that are impractical, hard to navigate, difficult for search engines to find and index, and overall, poorly made.
The very same managers and executives who demand high performance from their sales teams don’t seem to have the same requirements when it comes to the practicality and design efficiency of their website.
That said, it can be difficult to know what exactly constitutes a website that will get your prospects to come knocking. How do you ensure that your website will generate revenue and produce the results you’re looking for?
The Secrets of Successful, High-Performing Websites
What are the secrets to a high-quality website? This is the question we sought to answer with the help of our associates from a top-drawer New York web design company. Here’s what we managed to come up with.
1. Looks Do Matter
When it comes to websites, eye-catching design is not the most important thing in the world, but if your site doesn’t live up to a certain standard in this regard, you run the risk of not being taken seriously by your prospects.
No matter how successful and well-managed the business is, a website that looks like someone’s nephew cobbled it together during spring break gives of unprofessional, almost fly-by-night vibes.
On the other hand, a well-designed website instantly shows your prospects and customers that you run a big, successful, and stable operation. Perhaps most importantly, it shows them that you care about quality.
The funny thing is that you could be running a fly-by-night operation, with two guys working out of a basement, and still look more professional than many of your competitors. Thankfully, great design doesn’t cost much — it’s just about finding a group of designers who know what they’re doing.
2. Content Is King
Your audience comes to your website looking for information — all you need to do is give them what they want. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is, and it isn’t. To give your customer what they need, you first need to know them. The easiest way to get to know your audience is to talk to them.
Find out what your customers and prospects want to know about, and understand how they make purchasing decisions through conversations with your sales team.
On your home page, be very clear about:
- What business you’re in,
- Who you are as a company,
- What services or products you provide,
- What sets you apart from the competition.
Even people who have never heard of your organization before should be able to understand all of these things from a quick glance at your home page. There should be no question or confusion about your unique selling proposition.
Make sure to keep your content customer-oriented. This means talking about their concerns, needs, and problems, and what you can do to solve them. Forget the letter from the CEO and the company mission statement — nobody cares. They want to know what you can do for them.
Give your customers compelling reasons to return to your website. Offer not only product information but also operating manuals and specifications, as well as tutorials and professional tips. Keep most of your content open for anyone to read, and put only the most niche stuff behind a registration gate.
This ensures you get the contact information for the most qualified leads and keeps those on the fence coming back to your website again and again.
Finally, don’t be afraid to use photos and videos. They can be an excellent way to demonstrate your products in action and give your potential customers a sneak preview of what to expect.
3. Great Navigation Leads to More Sales
If your business is complex (and most are), it can be challenging to create a website that is easy to use and navigate. There are likely many different customers or industries that you serve, as well as an extensive product line including many options.
Being able to effectively channel and direct the customer to the service or product they need is crucial. This is why you need to work on your navigation before you’ve even started designing the site. If your customers cannot see exactly where they need to go after a quick look at the home page, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Also, making your catalog available as part of the website itself can be a great trick. This way, prospects can use Google’s highly sophisticated search engine to find the product they’re looking for, without wasting time clicking around the website getting increasingly frustrated.
4. SEO Is Hugely Important
We mentioned Google’s clever search engine algorithm just above, and we would be remiss not to expand on the topic of search engine optimization a bit. In short, SEO really matters. Ideally, you should work closely with an SEO specialist to ensure your website shows up near the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) for the most relevant keywords.
However, you can get far without an SEO specialist if you avoid the most common pitfalls and mistakes. Firstly, never embed text in animations and graphics. Search engines have no way of reading text embedded into images.
Second, include relevant keywords in your blogs and tutorials. This ensures that qualified leads will find your website when searching for the type of service or product you offer. Aside from the most obvious keywords, make sure to use some common and not-so-common variations.
Finally, take the time to learn the basics of on-page optimization and the purpose of things like meta titles and descriptions. You can always hire someone to take care of SEO for you, but having some basic knowledge is always a good idea.
5. If You’re Not on Social Media, You Don’t Exist
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms are more relevant than ever. Every company that matters uses these websites to build an engaged online community.
One way to utilize social media is by sharing links to your blog, where you would post relevant articles about your industry and niche, as well as upcoming events, new developments, and product updates. Social networks can also serve as the perfect forum for your customers to interact with you and each other.
Sharing knowledge and information through social media helps build your brand and position the organization as an industry leader.
Make sure to include a “share” button to your blog posts and product pages so that your visitors can share your content and your products with their friends and associates quickly and easily.
Your website is the most effective, most powerful weapon in your arsenal when it comes to your online presence. You will use it to generate qualified leads and convert them into loyal returning customers.
Sure, having a successful website takes time and resources, but the ROI is massive, both in terms of sales and brand recognition.
Knowing the five secrets we talked about in this post will help you build a website that performs at full capacity and works for you instead of against you.