With billions of users on the internet each day and over 2 trillion Google searches generated daily, we can’t deny that we live in a digital world. Continued advancement in technology has placed mind-boggling amounts of information right at our fingertips and simultaneously created a need for functional, easily accessible, and user-friendly forms of online branding aka, websites. Without a website, your brand will miss a huge opportunity to connect and engage with an ever-growing online audience. But its not just about how your website looks – it’s about steps you need to take to ensure your site shows up amongst the hundreds of billions of other sites that are published.
A website is often a consumer’s first impression of your brand. This is why aesthetically pleasing and functional layouts are a must. A great website considers its target audience first and anticipates their needs before a layout is created. This allows for customized, eye-catching graphics and a site that seamlessly connects viewers from page to page on both their desktop computers and mobile devices. This process usually begins with a “wireframe”, or blueprint, of the site being created before any online design steps are taken. Aesthetically speaking, your site should reinforce your brand’s image across all other platforms that viewers might see, whether its social media, traditional media, or your website. A coherent story and visual representation create a sense of trust and professionalism that is likely to score you points with your users.
A great website drives traffic by standing out amongst the crowd. With this in mind, businesses should consider a website refresh every 5 to 6 years to prevent an outdated or outmoded appearance. Brands should also opt for custom made layouts that are functional and accessible but still incorporate their specific needs. This alone differentiates your business and shows originality, as pre-designed “templates” can easily blend into a crowd of competitors.
A quick review of your own website can help you identify if its time to refresh. Is it slow to load? Does it feel dated? Does it navigate easily? Do your competitor’s sites contain advanced features that yours is missing? Be sure to watch trends on websites outside of your industry too. It’s an ever-changing world, and your website is too important to get left behind.
THE 15 SECOND RULE
Key site aspects like “call to actions”, contact information, and the purpose of the site should be upfront and center. This not only enhances the user experience but keeps them connected and engaged on your site. If a visitor has to spend too much time looking for relevant information or an answer to the question that prompted their visit, they’ll leave. On average, a user will spend roughly 15 seconds on a page before getting distracted. If your site doesn’t grab their attention within that timeframe, your site isn’t doing its job.
IT’S MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE
A well designed and functional web layout requires craft and skill, not only from a design perspective but also when considering SEO tactics. Things like keyword density, backlinking, and indexing your site are all items that should be understood and implemented across your site. If your site isn’t ranking on Google, your customers (or potential customers) aren’t seeing it. And what’s the use in that?
It’s possible to monitor and drive traffic towards your website with a variety of tools. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics and Google analytics offer a variety of opportunities for businesses and organizations to get their name out there. These tools often require a great deal of attention, skill, and know-how to reach desired business goals.
Brands should be equally, if not more focused, on the SEO and searchability aspect of their site as an aesthetically pleasing design. And while a complete site rebuild may seem like a massive undertaking, there are many platforms and tools that can be used to make the process smoother. Don’t neglect your website – it’s like a digital billboard for your brand!