Your website is the focal point and foundation for your business’ online presence. Is it communicating what is needed to attract and retain customers? While redesigning a client’s website recently, we had the opportunity to evaluate some of the most important elements of website design, messaging and lead generation.
Our client, My Home Vineyard, is a vineyard management and consulting company. They can handle everything from preparing a plot of land, to planting a vineyard, maintaining and harvesting the vineyard, and even wine production. They also assist their customers through consulting services when customers want to do more of the work themselves.
When we started working with our client we noticed their website had a wealth of knowledge regarding vineyard care. Years of research, examples and projects were published with images and graphs. But how the information was presented needed some restructuring. Additionally, the overall design needed to be updated to incorporate the latest design trends.
Here are the seven key elements of website development and marketing messaging we identified through the process. Utilize this list to make sure your website is in tip-top shape for establishing a strong online presence, thus growing your business. If your website doesn’t stack up to any one of these items, it’s time to consider an update or complete redesign of your website.
1. Large and Compelling Imagery
Online consumers today require compelling imagery. Current websites often display full screen images and videos to envelop the consumer in the concepts the company wants to communicate. Through imagery, you can create a sense of excitement and interest with website viewers that mere text on a page can’t always do on its own.
As you’re evaluating your website check to see what images are visible. What is the quality of the images? Make sure they’re formatted correctly and not pixelated so as to capture audiences most effectively.
2. Clear and Concise Value Statement
How many websites have you visited where you couldn’t tell right away what they provided? This is a big problem. There are only a few seconds available to capture the attention of consumers before they move on to the next best thing. If they can’t tell immediately what your website has to offer, they will leave it looking for the answers to their questions.
We’re not talking about having several paragraphs right off the bat talking about the nitty-gritty of your business. Quite the opposite. Readers want to quickly scan to get the gist of the value your company brings before they decide to dive in further. A quick explanation of who you are and what you do should be the first thing visitors see.
3. Strong Site Structure
Once readers have decided to stick around and learn more about your company, they need to be able to easily find their way around. Your top level menu pages should reflect what most people are looking for when they visit your website. Underneath those main menu pages should be a clear pathway for learning more about each specific subject.
Think of your website like a tree. Your home page is the very top of the tree and everything branches out underneath it. Map out your website to make sure the concepts are orderly. And think about opportunities for internal linking between pages to assist readers with learning about related topics, along with helping your search engine optimization efforts.
4. White Space
Your website shouldn’t be so crammed with content that there is hardly any “white space” or space on the screen where there isn’t any content at all. Readers’ eyes will get tired if everywhere they look there is something else to see. White space enables them to breathe, so to speak, and focus on what’s most important – the elements emphasized in the midst of the white space. That space creates a nice frame for focusing on your primary information.
It can be hard for some marketers and business owners to cut down on the content present on their existing website. It may seem like everything is essential to their readers. But the reality is, it’s not, and the more content you have, the more likely the most important content will get lost in the mix.
Remember that your readers have limited time and they are searching for anything to make their lives easier. Callout quotes, bullet points, numbered lists, and other emphasized content helps them speed up their search for information and gather what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
5. Meaningful Content
You’ve heard the term “content marketing” a million times before. It’s a hot topic in the marketing world. But that’s because it’s important and effective. Your website should have relevant content that your visitors can consume in order to inform their purchasing decisions. Your industry will impact what kind of content you have and how it’s displayed, but whatever it looks like for your business, make sure it’s available and of the highest quality.
For example, if you have a B2B technology services company, white papers would be a great form of content to include on your website. You want to present substantial background information on your services, how they work, and how customers have benefited from them. Your customers are savvy business people who are navigating how to spend their money wisely.
If you have a B2C retail company then your content will look differently. A blog highlighting the latest fashion trends, events with online influencers, and a look book displaying your wears would be valuable for visitors to see how your products will benefit them.
6. Ways to Connect
It might seem obvious, but website visitors are coming to your website to learn more about your company and will probably want to know how to contact you at some point. Maybe they will need to reach out to a sales person. Or maybe they want to follow your company on social media. Make sure your contact information is easy to find – not more than a click away from the home page. And ideally there are social media icons on every page of your website so that visitors can share and connect with you immediately.
7. Mobile Optimized
Mobile optimization is essential in today’s online environment. Visitors are viewing websites through mobile websites in ever increasing numbers. And search engines are prioritizing websites that are optimized for mobile. No matter how you look at it, your website needs to be not only viewable but effective at communicating to visitors through mobile. If they are having to expand their screen to read tiny text, or are fixing pop-ups taking over their screens, then you’ll lose customers in a big way.
Hopefully these seven items give you the information you need to make sure your website is in shape. Reaching consumers online will only become more important. If you find that your current website doesn’t stack up to the above seven items, don’t worry too much. Just start taking action. Do your business a favor and determine what needs to be done to get your website up to the highest quality.