Every business needs a website.
“Duh!” you might think to yourself. And you’d be right, of course. It’s a point so obvious it hardly merits further elaboration.
But let’s take that a step further. If you really want to succeed in today’s business world, it’s nowhere near good enough to just “have a website.” It had better be a good website!
Your site is the backbone of your entire digital marketing strategy. If it stinks, you’ve got a big problem!
Everyone understands the need to be online. But understanding what makes a website good is a different story altogether.
Slapping a new coat of paint over a bare-bones homepage? Not good enough. Cookie cutter templates that everybody and their aunt uses? Not good enough either.
So what are the components of a great website? Here are some of the absolute essentials.
Your Branding Is Consistent
“Brand” is more than just a buzzword. It’s more than even just recognizable visual identity for your company or practice. Your brand tells your customers how to think and feel about you. It highlights your personality and best features. It compels them to act.
Why are we so picky about colors, graphics, logos, and spacing? The tone of voice in your content? Because it makes a difference. Consistent branding doesn’t just make you more recognizable. It makes you more approachable and trustworthy in the eyes of your customers. It attracts new customers and grows revenue.
Oh, and there’s also the flipside, of course. Ignore good branding at your own peril. Because bad branding sends a signal straight to your potential customers: this company isn’t professional and worth your time.
Is that analysis unfair? Almost certainly. But in the absence of information, people will make these kinds of snap judgements.
Remember, they don’t know you. They don’t know your people. All they know is your website. If they don’t find your brand compelling, your odds of converting them into paying customers are going to sink like a 45-pound weight plate in a lake.
When you look at your website, do you think, “Yes! This is me! This is who I am! I am proud of this!” If the answer is no, you absolutely need a redesign.
Your Design Is Responsive
Quick quiz for you today: if you had to guess, what percentage of global website traffic is conducted on mobile devices?
Got a guess?
A little more than half. And that’s probably an underestimate for your target demographics.
The websites of the past were built around the desktop computer, but if you’re anything like us, you really only use those for work these days. If you’re searching the web on your own time, you’re probably using your phone.
If your website isn’t responsive, half your inbound traffic is going to get a shoddy experience. They’re going to take one look at your website, squished to fit on a tiny screen, and then make a hard pass.
If your website is going to compete in the marketplace, it needs to look good and feel good no matter what device your customer is using. That’s responsive design.
If you’re building for desktop and then testing the mobile experience as an afterthought, you are doing it backwards.
Your Site Is Built for User Behavior and Conversions
What do you want your website to do?
“Drive search engine traffic so that people who need my product or service can find me online!” you might say. Okay, that’s a good start.
And why do you want that?
“To grow my revenue and make more money!” Yup, that checks out too.
But do you see the disconnect here?
To play off a joke from an old episode of South Park, we’ve got a real “underpants gnome” scenario here:
You’re missing the middle step!
Getting eyeballs on your site is only halfway there. It’s what they do on your website that allows you to effectively generate and follow up on leads, track them all the way through the sales funnel, and convert them into paying customers!
Was your website built with user behavior in mind? Do they answer the three most critical questions a user is going to be asking, per MECLABS Institute:
Where the heck am I?
What can I do here?
Why should I do it?
But beyond that, does it have a clearly defined mechanism for generating leads and gathering contact information from your visitors? Is it optimized for conversion?
You Have a Good Content Management System (CMS)
The best websites are constantly evolving.
It’s not just updating customers when provided services change or items shift in and out of stock. If you want to scale Mt. Google and stay at the top of the rankings, you’re going to need to keep your website up-to-the-minute relevant. That means adding fresh content regularly (via blogging) and refreshing old content frequently as search trends change.
But if it’s cumbersome to update your website, or you have to call your nephew Steve to recode everything, let’s be honest – you ain’t gonna do it.
That’s why it’s so critical to have a great CMS. That way, anyone in your organization you delegate access to can post new blogs, fix mistakes, and make updates on the fly. You don’t even have to be a computer expert to do it.
Sites that sit stagnant wither and die. Don’t let that be you!
On the other hand, a site optimized for today’s customers, how they search, and how they interact online can radically transform your business and turn you into a revenue-generating machine.
Keep these items in mind as you plot your next redesign. Because the truth is, if all you’re going to do is just slap on a fresh coat of paint, you’ll have wasted a lot of time and money. If you need help building a website that actually works, we’ll be glad to help you out.