So, you’ve managed to start your own business and have developed your website, what may have seemed like a mountain to climb has been accomplished! Congratulate yourself on achieving this huge step to moving your business to where it needs to be. However, this is just the start in an on-going pursuit where new goals will arise and need to be met in order to acquire your websites full potential. Evolution is a fact of life, we all change in several ways, technology stands still for nobody and ignoring these changes and trends can leave your business stagnant, stale and outdated.

It makes total sense to develop your ideas on what it is you want your website to be. For instance, you may be a blogging website that is attempting to gain more readers and subscribers to your blog. You may be a fashion retailer and looking to boost your online sales or generate further interest you’re your prospects. When developing your website to accommodate the vision of the business and its newly acquired goals, it makes sense to start at how existing users are currently experiencing your website. We would recommend using a tool that can test the users experience. Something like ‘Userfeel’ or ‘Hotjar’ are good places to start. Tools like these work by installing code on your website that produces a report of heat maps for each page on your website. Using these maps will show how and where people look at the content on your website, even fine details like where they click, manoeuvre, how they scroll, and their overall behaviour which will tell you what they’re really trying to do on each of your pages.

This article will attempt to explain the key factors in determining the basics of what you want as a business to accomplish. By identifying how your users interact with your website, it is then possible to plan and design a website that caters for both your needs. The following ten tips will help guide you through the process.

1. Steer away from Sliders

Sliders were all the rage in web design over the last few years. To the untrained eye they may look nice and pretty, but the major negative here is the bad user experience.

Simply put a good web designer would steer you away from this type of design, as they’re generally not the best way to display your business as a whole. Today everyone is raving about the ‘user experience’, which involves speed, reliability, mobile friendly and a host of other factors that will determine the success of your website. By achieving a sound user experience is one of the first steps in acquiring a loyal fanbase and by boasting a tremendous customer service is something most businesses are aspiring to.

2. Aim to Solve Peoples Problems

More so than not today, your customers aren’t looking for a product or a service, they’re looking for a solution. By adopting this mind set can help you achieve wonders when developing on this idea alone. Identify what problem you are experts at solving. What is it that you’re solving, and how are you doing it?

People coming to your website didn’t come for a casual scroll through your products and services, they came to solve their problem and want to know if you have the answers. By describing your potential customers with problems that you can solve allows you to think outside the box and develop ideas that will be engaging and informative to the customer. Once this relationship has been established, a sense of trust has been acknowledged and further investigations to your help and support will likely unfold.

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3. Space, and more of it

As with most areas in life these days it is fair to say that trends and fashions come and go with the times. Not adhering to any changes in style or fashion can leave you running the risk of your website looking dated, particularly if your design dates back to trends that occurred a decade or so ago.

People today have become more tech savvy, meaning with the evolution of technology comes experience. It is that experience that will likely be the determining factor in whether your visitors return or not. Today websites should be more about usability. Ask yourself What allows a visitor to consume your content and have the journey you want them to have in the best way possible?

Trends today has shown that users don’t want to click, instead the long scrolling pages are the way users like to navigate through websites. Data has shown more and more that users like to have the information accessible to them via scrolling long pages where the information is present. They want to scroll through a journey and find all of the relevant information on one page.

When discussing layout and spacing, it is vital to allow your content with the relevant space needed to breathe so it is at its most effective. By adding space between lines of scrolling information opens up opportunity to draw more focus to the more important factors and information on your site that your trying to push.

4. Provide Fewer Choices create a niche

The old saying you can’t please everyone, rings true to this article. Identify the intent of your business and it goals, envisage yourself as a customer, what do you want your website to do?

You maybe able to find a niche in the market by thinking this way as you may be able to offer a product or service in another way that your competitors haven’t thought of yet. Finding your individual place in the market is an opportunity to establish your connection with your audience. Developing a vague and generic site will move people away from your website as the information won’t be engaging enough to keep them there.

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5. Calls to Action in several places

Varying your calls to action slightly within the framework will allow you to establish actions by the user that supply them with immediate benefits.

Try to not have generic calls to action such as “sign up for updates” these have proven to be in-effective, as your prospect will think why they need updates and what benefit is in it for them. This results in a poor return ratio that is best left alone.

Call to action buttons these days tend to be ones that are proven to have an immediate benefit. The word ‘Free’ is always encouraged as your showing your clients a way in that will lead to them getting the information they desire and at no cost. “Get a free quote” or “Get a free report/ scan on your business” are offers that can have real value for prospects with no commitment or obligation, why wouldn’t you?

Aim for around four different calls to action. Be aware that prospects come in many forms, for example they maybe just looking to get in touch with you over a matter or a query so a “call us today” call to action is right here. It is also imperative to have calls to action that allow people to look deeper into your information, navigate through your website, allowing an opportunity to learn and develop on their initial query.

6. Develop Landing Pages

Landing pages are an essential part of marketing and are a great way to promote and receive valuable customer information. Build an individual landing page for each of your promotions or other vital components such as, locations, products and services, this will help drive people to matters that have a specific need or intent.

It is important to note that the people who are greeted immediately with relevant, detailed information which answers or contributes to their initial query are far more likely to trust you and endeavour to find out more.

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7. Create Links and Hub Pages

The phrase ‘Content is King’ has become well known throughout web designers, business owners and bloggers over the years for good reason. The build- up of valuable content on your website will do wonders for your ranking, SEO, generic rankings etc. however most information which is normally distributed through a blog will be posted, and over time forgotten about.

This content as valuable as it is, has become a file stored in the depths of your archives and left dormant. However, linking new content to a more in depth look at a subject matter is a great way of making older content work for you. Developing on this idea and creating Hub Pages is a great way in developing value for your audience and target market. Here they can find all relevant information in one place, in turn does wonders for your Google rankings, and boosting your websites SEO.

8. Mobile Friendly? Mobile First!

These days more and more people are browsing from their mobile devices, in fact a whopping 80-90 percent of views on a business site are viewed via mobile devices. Checking your analytics will tell you the information you need to know, and if your website is currently not mobile friendly, then it is definitely time to tighten the slack and harness your sites true potential.

Should most of your traffic be originating from a mobile device, (which it is) then it would make sense to make sure that your website is equipped to be as mobile friendly as possible. Try to think how a consumer maybe visiting your site, unlikely these days to be on a lap-top or large PC device. Instead it is likely to be portrait style on a mobile device whilst waiting in a que, or using public transport etc. Think like your consumers, and your objectives become very clear.

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9. Assess Loading Speed for Pages

One of the major changes we are witnessing in today’s world of evolution for websites is undoubtedly the speed. One of the crucial factors that Google themselves have taken extremely seriously as this is a significant factor in how they assess their ranking system. Slow-loading sites should be a thing of the past, but they aren’t. This can be irritating for your users and create a bad first impression. Try some websites, see how you feel about a site not loading within 4-5 seconds. We may hate to admit it, but it is safe to say we have become more inpatient, and as a result expect more.

There are tools out there like Google analytics that will provide information on how your site loads on both mobile and desktop devices. It should be easy to see if your site is not making the mark, go out and try your site yourself – this can be a valuable tool when out and about to see how your existing site performs.

Problems maybe technical and easily fixed by a professional but depending on the site and how often it is updated, this can lead to more issues causing issues with speed. Check out our blog posts on websites speed and what it is that you can do to help with this issue.

10. Address Security Concerns with SSL

Security, it’s in the headlines constantly when discussing the internet, our homes, our cars, ourselves. It has always been of paramount importance and this trend is likely to increase in the future. Should your URL not have HTTPS in front of it then you’re immediately eroding trust in your business. These days there are certificates that are issued by certified bodies that are able to verify your website as a trusted site and ensures that your website and its data you collect and obtain are being properly encrypted and are protected from potential hackers or security threats.

These days all websites should have an SSL certificate, if you’re collecting sensitive information from visitors, like their contact information or credit card numbers this is particularly important.

Google has taken measures to ensure that people using its Chrome browser whether the site they’re visiting is secure or not. Not to mention that your overall rankings will be affected just on the fact that you have this certificate or not, besides the point try visiting a website that now says in bold red letter ‘Website Not Secure’…..would you still enter?

Elms Creative like several web hosting platforms are now including SSL certificates with their hosting services. To find out how to obtain your SSL certificate please let us know or refer to our blog post on the importance of SSL certificates for your website.

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