Making your website work

Making your website work

Whether you choose to use one of the website platforms or get a company to build your website for you, remember these top tips.

Making your website work
    <h3>1. Branding</h3> <p>Keep your branding consistent. Make sure every page of your website looks, sounds and feels the same. Always consider the colours, design, font, tone of voice, imagery and videos you use. Ensure they’re all consistent and complement your brand. Your website or online store might be the only place your customers interact with your business.</p> <h3>2. Content</h3> <ul> <li>Make it engaging – quality photos, videos, images</li> <li>Make it scannable – regular sub-headings and short paragraphs</li> <li>Make it relevant – include interesting content for the customer: how-to guides, project-planning templates</li> <li>Keep it up to date – review information regularly to ensure it is accurate: your contact details, prices, opening times etc.</li> </ul> <h3>3. Functionality</h3> <p>Start with the foundations before adding advanced features like subscriptions, bookings and memberships. If you’re offering something new, you might want to test how receptive your customers are before you activate more features. For stores, that might mean competitive discounts and free or fast delivery. For restaurants, making it easy for customers to explore the menu, place an order and pay in one session. For services, the opportunity to book and pay at any time without making a call.</p> <p>If you’re selling online, make sure you have a smooth supply and distribution process in place before you go live. If you’re offering next-day delivery, test it before you launch, especially if working with a third-party distributor. Set up an automated email process that covers order confirmation, invoice and receipt, shipping notifications and feedback requests.</p> <h3>4. Navigation</h3> <p>The less time it takes customers to find what they’re looking for, the better. Avoid overloading your customers with buttons to click or pages to open. Ideally, a customer should be able to complete a purchase in 4-6 clicks.</p> <h3>5. Performance and optimisation</h3> <p>Most customers will decide within moments whether they want to browse and purchase on a website, which is why speed and performance are so important. Many website platforms automatically adjust the size of images to ensure fast loading, which is especially important for people on mobile phones. But if not, keep the images small.</p> <h3>6. Make it mobile friendly</h3> <p>On average, 8 out of 10 consumers will stop engaging with a site if its content doesn’t display properly on their device. A mobile-friendly and responsive website design that adapts depending on how people are accessing the site is standard these days. So, for SMEs, transactional websites optimised for mobile devices are a must.</p> <h3>7. Include calls to action</h3> <p>To convert a visitor into a customer, you need to point them in the right direction. Perhaps it’s a button that says ‘buy now’, ‘make an appointment’ or 'contact us'.</p> <h3>8. Make it searchable</h3> <p>Customers expect to be able to visit a store and search for specific things like ‘blue women’s shoes’. Showing the most relevant products will greatly increase the likelihood that they’ll make it to the checkout. Customers are increasingly being directed to websites through Google searches, so make sure you have an optimised website with the right keywords embedded into it so that you make it onto the results. And if you want to ensure your website’s position near the top of the search rankings, then it might pay to invest in some search engine marketing.</p> <h3>9. Maintenance</h3> <p>Between birth and death, there’s maintenance. The job isn’t over once you’ve built your website. You also need to look after it.</p> <p>Check your security setting and reports regularly to stay ahead of new threats.</p> <p>Set a schedule (weekly or monthly) for checking products are up to date, prices are correct, and links are still active.</p> <p>Ensure your security and payment subscriptions and certificates are up to date.</p> <h3>10. Test. Test. Test.</h3> <p>If your website is your new store front, you have to make sure it’s not broken. So take time to pore over your site analytics and reporting. You might find that a particular page isn’t performing well, only to discover that a button is inactive. With any website, constant tweaks and improvements are the key to success.</p>