As you work to grow your business online, one of the first elements you’ll need is a high-quality website. A website does several things for your business:
- Educates users about your business
- Displays your product or service
- Details cost of service or product
- Enables users to make a purchase
In an ever-changing digital economy, every business needs to have a website, and a good website at that. Think of a website as the front door to growing your business and the foundation for all digital marketing strategies. Everything leads back to your site, where you can convert visitors into customers.
To do so, you’ll need to keep User Experience at the forefront of your mind.
From the first second a consumer enters your site, they should be able to tell what your company does and the value of the service or product you’re offering. If they aren’t able to see that quickly, they’ll bounce.
Websites are all about the user. Keeping that in mind will help you build a website that is user-friendly and better equipped to convert leads into customers.
As you look at your website, look at it from the point of view of the user and see if you can answer these questions:
- *What can you do for me?
- Does your site have a list of pages available at the top of the home page? Are these “menu tabs” clear?
- Is your site’s content clear and does it make sense?
- Are there links on the site leading them away from your website without any way to return?
- Do the links on your site work?
- Is your content high-quality and informative or is it thin and repetitive?
- Are the images on your site clear and relative to your service, or are they blurry and dated?
- Do you have a clear way for customers to contact you?
You can answer these questions and more by addressing some of the key aspects of User Experience: Design, Technical, Usability, Content and Utility.
The design of your website communicates a lot to consumers who visit your site. According to a 2012 Mobile User Survey Keynote, “94% of people cited Web Design as the reason they mistrusted or rejected a website.”
Website design reflects upon your company. It represents:
- Who you are
- What services or products you have to offer, and their quality
- Level of your professionalism
- If you are trustworthy or not
Take the below websites as examples. One of these is a poor website and the other a good website.
Website B is professional, up-to-date and communicates clearly what the company does and what action users should take: Request a Quote. In contrast, Website A is unorganized, chaotic and unprofessional. It is not clear what the company does or what it wants its users to do.
Page Speed: How Fast Should Your Website Be?
A normal website should load in 2-3 seconds so viewers can quickly access information. If it’s slower than that, people are ready to leave.
As you can tell by the recommended page speed loading time, people online move fast. That’s why it’s so important to have a fast page speed for your website.
Think about this scenario. Have you ever searched for a question in Google or Bing that you wanted a quick answer to, only to find that the website you clicked on wouldn’t load? That frustration isn’t only common to you; it’s common for other users, too.
Make sure your page speed for your website is up to par. Google’s developer tool will give your website a score. Aim for a score of 60/100 for Mobile and 75/100 for Desktop. If you find that your score is lower and needs attention, this tool will list out what needs improvement. Pretty handy, right? Some of these corrections may include:
- Optimizing images
- Enabling compression
- Reducing server response time
- And more…
What to Know About Website Code
Keep your website code clean and up-to-date so it doesn’t break and browsers can read the page.
For more information on coding, check out these 12 principles for keeping your code clean.
Why Should Your Website Be Secure?
Websites need to be secure, especially in this day and age. Hackers look for ways to infiltrate company websites. Make sure your website is secure and remain diligent in keeping it that way.
Neglected websites are at the highest risk of getting hacked, so even if you have a website you haven’t attended to in a while, get rid of it or secure it.
The hosting provider and content management system (CMS) you use can also contribute to the security of your site. Do your research before choosing a provider.
How Do I Secure My Website?
Here are a few ways you can keep your website secure from hackers:
- Keep software up-to-date
- Check data being submitted
- Keep error messages simple
- Validate your server and online forms
- Use complex passwords that cannot be guessed
- Don’t allows users to upload files to your site
- Test your site using website security tools
Does My Website Answer Users’ Questions?
As you look over your site, is it easy for users to find the answers to their questions? Can you navigate your site with ease?
Does My Website Need to Be Mobile-Friendly?
Being mobile-friendly refers to how well your website translates from a computer-sized screen to a mobile phone screen. Every website needs to be mobile-friendly.
As cell phones and smartphones become commonplace, businesses need to meet customers where they are: on their phones. Google values mobile-friendliness. It is a factor of their guidelines. They will rank websites that are mobile-friendly above those that aren’t in the search engines.
Last year alone, just over 50% of people making purchases online used their phone to do so. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ll lose out on this 50% – a number that will continue to increase.
A few questions to ask yourself as you look at your website via a mobile device:
- Can your site be easily accessed by users on a mobile device?
- Are the pictures on the screen cut off?
- Is the call-to-action still clear?
- How long does it take the site to load?
- Mobile and Desktop have different page speeds. You’ll want to make sure your website is optimized for both devices.
Make sure your content is clear and communicates what you want it to to the user. Nothing comes across more poorly than confusing and incoherent text on a website.
Watch the language you use. If your site is too casual, readers may not take you seriously. On the other hand, if your site is too stiff, users may get bored and find your company unrelatable.
The utility of a website refers to how well a site supports the usability through functioning links, tabs, forms that work, etc. Make sure your site does all of the following and is well-maintained.
If your company already has a website, the next step is website optimization. Check your website for the features listed above. You’ll also want to pay attention to Google’s guidelines, which change over time.
Google’s guidelines are a set of rules for websites to follow for better user experience (i.e. mobile friendliness, fast page speed, etc.) Following these guidelines will keep you in Google’s good graces (allowing you to rank higher in the SERPs) and help your website stand out among the billions of sites you’ll find online.
Next, we’ll talk about how to optimize your website for the search engines, otherwise known as: Search Engine Optimization.