Need to take your business online? Then read on to discover the basics of successful website planning, design and implementation.
There are more than one billion websites in cyberspace right now. In fact, this figure was reached as long ago as 2014.
The current estimate is 1.4 billion, of which around 17% of websites are still active. This means that the website you are planning to launch, during the next few months, will have around 193,709,502 active opponents all seeking to grab the attention of users, whatever the reason for the site’s existence.
If you’re developing a site for your local tennis club or dog walkers’ association, this information is of relatively little concern. But if you are an existing or fledgling business, with products to sell and customers to attract, then the battle to secure their attention is paramount to the overall success of your company.
In brief, the first two major issues you will face are these: A) Will your website look impressive to those who visit your site? Will it appear professional, easy to follow, and have clear instructions? Will the user be able to navigate their way around your website without feeling confused? And will they be able to find what they are looking for – and quickly? If not, they will lose interest and search elsewhere.
B) The website will not only have to present itself better than any of your nearest rivals, it will also need to be listed above your competitors with regards to search engine results. Your potential clients will need to see your company’s name before they spot those of your rivals.
The race to achieve both A and B is full on, and will last the lifetime of your website. If you fail to keep your eye on the ball, as well as your rivals, you’re fall from grace can be sudden, swift and difficult to halt. Maintaining IT expertise, presentational skills and business nous never stops. It’s full on from day one and on-going.
One company which specialises in creating made-to-measure websites is Squarespace, so why not check them out. They provide easy-to-edit website templates, which require no coding. They also offer modern, relevant marketing features to assist your business when it goes online.
You can take advantage of their free trial, which means there are no credit card details to input at the start. And their powerful marketing and analytics tools will measure your success at attracting visitors, while helping to drive traffic to your website.
Here are a few tips from Squarespace to help you along the way when building a website
1 – Identify your target market:
Try to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience, better known as ‘potential clients’. What will they want? A website selling fashion accessories will need to be different from one which sells garden furniture. This will even affect website design, layout and colour schemes. And before building a website, ask yourself ‘what is the purpose of it?’ as well as ‘what are you hoping to achieve?’ Both are simple questions, but it’s the first port of call before building a site. You will need a purpose and a vision.
2 – Search engine optimisation (SEO):
We’ve already touched on this but it remains just as important as website design or the products you are attempting to sell. Having a technology guru who knows all about SEO is a must if you want to attract customers.
3 – Website performance and speed:
There’s nothing worse than clicking on a link, or a picture-icon, and then having to wait to be transported to your chosen destination. Some websites have great content but are desperately slow to access. A fast response time will keep users happy, alert and motivated, increasing the likelihood that they will visit your site again – time after time. A fast-responding website will also enjoy a higher ranking in search results.
4 – Presentation of text:
Keep in mind that typography is important. Font type and size do make a difference to the quality of a website and will affect the way readers respond to it.
5 – Security:
All websites are potential victims of both hackers and those who wish to unleash ‘software viruses.’ Websites will always be at risk of such online attacks and successful businesses are often the most vulnerable.
6 – Design and layout:
Last, but certainly not least, good design is a vital cog in attracting visitors to your website. The design needs to appeal to your potential customers, and there must be a clear route for navigating from page to page. Are all your sections easily accessible and logically sign-posted? Simple and clean is the best way to showcase that all-important website content.
This article comes courtesy of Squarespace. This 18-year-old company are market leaders in anything and everything connected with websites and online technology. They create a platform that enables millions to build a brand, share their stories and transact easily with their customers – plus much, much more.