In order to remain competitive and grow your customer base, your website needs to be more than just an online presence. It should offer visitors a rewarding browsing experience while at the same time being utilized as an effective marketing tool.
Businesses invested marketing dollars most heavily in their own websites in 2014 and 2015. To up your game and ensure your own website is on a level playing field, consider these five important factors when designing your website, or redesigning an outdated site.
1. Keep Your Branding Consistent
Your website is essentially acting as a silent salesman for your business, so strong branding as part of your digital design and marketing plan is critical. A number of elements must work together in unison to present visitors with an aesthetically pleasing design while also working to instill brand awareness.
- Web address—an easy-to-remember and relevant web address (if not your company name) is always a good first step. You can use this domain name generator to get ideas.
- Logo—keep the logo in the same spot on each page if possible, and always have it link to the home page.
- Colors—Use company colors for the design of the pages to reinforce branding.
- Overall design—Page layouts should be consistent, not disjointed
2. Make It Easy to Find Information
Don’t make consumers search through multiple links and pages to find what they might be looking for; 2-3 clicks are the recommended maximum. Navigation buttons should be located in the same spot on each page and a link to contact information should also be readily available on each page.
3. Make Sure You Incorporate SEO
It cannot be stressed enough—no matter how nice your website looks, without search engine optimization (SEO), the site probably won’t be found. Search engine marketing is the most popular and widely used digital design and marketing technique, with search marketing budgets continuing to rise each year.
Use relevant short and long-tail keywords in the following elements of your website:
- Image titles and descriptions
- Web page titles and descriptions
Keep keywords on each page consistent in all elements of the page, and aim for keywords that are not too general. For example, instead of using “development”, use “Development Services, Ashburn, VA”.
4. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
According to Marketing Land, over 50 percent of online traffic comes from mobile devices. So it makes sense to have a mobile-friendly website. A consumer who visits a site on their mobile device that isn’t displaying properly or taking too long to load because of bad coding aren’t likely to return.
Google tracks your bounce rate, and a high level can negatively affect your search ranking. In fact, 38% of visitors will leave a site if they deem it unattractive.
5. Integrate Your Website with Social Media
Include links to your social media pages, profiles and blogs, and vice versa on social media platforms. Consumers today also love interaction with the companies they do business with, and social media marketing helps to instill brand awareness and drives more traffic to your site.
In addition to website design (or redesign), you might also consider utilizing professional graphic design, email marketing services and blog and content creation services to really give yourself an edge over your competitors.