Do you want a website with surprisingly great results?
A great website is no accident. It is systematically created.
Do you want a great website?
Use the following checklist to design a great website:
#1 – Goals
What do you want your website to do for your business? If you can’t answer this question, you should go on to the next step. Most websites underperform because they are built without goals.
If you don’t define the purpose of your website, there is no point in building it.
Here are some common website goals:
- Credibility – Most websites don’t sell an actual product. Most business websites are about building credibility. After a prospect looks at your website, will they want to hire your business?
- Leads – Do you want your website to generate more leads? Do you want more prospects?
- Commerce – Most business websites don’t do commerce. If you want to sell products, you need an e-commerce site. If you want to charge for your services, using your website, you will need an e-commerce website. If you want to take credit cards on your website, you need an e-commerce site.
- Educate – Some of the most popular websites have a ton of valuable content. Visitors flock to these sites to learn about a topic. Teaching is also a great way to drive free traffic to your website.
- Customer Service – Do you want to improve your customer service? A website is a great tool for that. Your customer could create support tickets using your site. You could also have a knowledge base, to reduce support phone calls.
#2 – What matters most?
If you are like most businesses, you have multiple goals for your website. Time and money are always limited. The goal is to focus on the most important goals.
Is lead generation the most important goal for your website? Is it customer service? Whatever is the most important goal is what you should focus on the most.
Your website cannot be everything to all people. Prioritize.
#3 – Domain name
The domain name you select for your website will have a long-term effect on your business. The right domain name can help your website and the wrong domain will hurt it.
Consider the following criteria before you select a domain name:
- The number of characters. It helps to keep your domain name short. Shorter names are easier to remember. There is no rule on the number of characters, but try to stay under 12.
- Try to find a .com domain name. If you buy a .net, .biz, or any other domain extension, you are settling for a less than perfect domain name. If you don’t own the .com domain, somebody else does. There is no point buying yourdreambusinessdomain.net if someone else owns yourdreambusinessdomain.com. The .com domain is the most credible business domain. Don’t settle for another domain extension.
- Make sure your domain name is easy to spell.
- Avoid numbers. You might register 1webdesigner.com. Such a domain is confusing. People could type onewebdesigner.com or 1webdesigner.com. If you really want such a domain, make sure that you own both versions.
- Avoid domains with hyphens. They are confusing.
- Before you register your domain name, make sure it is not the registered trademark of another business.
#4 – Navigation
Navigation should simplify the user experience. Don’t create too many menu items within your navigation. Only include the most important sections of our website. An overly complex site navigation will hurt your website conversions.
The best navigation is horizontal. Place the website navigation top of the fold. It also helps to have a secondary navigation in the bottom of your web page.
#5 – Pages
Make a list of web pages you want to include within your website. Not all websites have the same number of pages. Your business is unique. The types of pages and the number of pages depends on your business goals.
At the very least you need to following web pages:
- Homepage – Your homepage should have a little bit of everything. Your homepage should include your logo, phone number, address, unique selling proposition, a summary of services you offer, a couple of testimonials.
- About page – The About page is your chance to share the story of your business. What makes your business unique? Who is working at your company? Who are the key team members? What is the history of your business? It is important to show some photos of your team.
- Services – What services do you offer? Who are your customers?
- FAQ – You should constantly update this page. What are the questions prospects and customers ask about your business or your services?
- Testimonials – Share the feedback about your business.
- Contact page – You should include your physical address, phone and fax numbers, Google Map, driving directions, and contact form.
#6 – Features
What website features are important to you? Do you want to grow your email subscriber list? Then, you need to have an email subscription feature.
Do you want to accept credit cards? You need to have an SSL certificate installed. You also need to have a payment gateway.
#7 – Differentiate
How are you going to differentiate your website from your competitors? Study the websites of your competition. See what you can do better.
#8 – To hire of self-design
Unless you are a web designer, you should really hire a professional. Even if you are a hands-on person, you should hire a professional web designer.
Your website is the first impression people get of your business. Don’t create a homemade impression about your website.
#9 – Hosting
You should carefully select a web host for your website. The cheapest is not the best. Before you select a host, search online. See what others’ say about the business. There are so many hosting companies to choose from. Select one that is reputable.
Consider the following as you search for a website host:
- How many years has the hosting company has been in business?
- What kind of reviews do they get? Ignore websites that specialize in web hosting reviews. They are in the business of pushing you to one of their selected hosting companies.
- Call their support number. How long does it take to get through? Do they have a 24/7 toll-free support line? Is the support staff knowledgeable?
- Do you have to pay for a year in advance to get a good deal?
- Is there a risk-free trial period? Make sure you read the fine print.
- What is the cost? Just because a hosting service is only $10 per month, it doesn’t mean that it is the best option for your business. In hosting, you get what you pay for.
#10 – Images
What images will you use on your website? It is best if you have your own photos and images. If you don’t have your own images, you can always buy stock photos. Stock photos are OK, but they are not the best.
Take your own photos to be used on your website. It will take a little more time. It might cost a little more to hire a photographer. In the end, you will end up with your own images. Your own images will tell a better story than stock photos.
#11 – Plan content
Content is what differentiates great websites from most. The best websites plan what content to create.
Here are the different types of content you should consider:
- Blog posts
- Press releases
- White papers
#12 – Create content
If you don’t plan it, it won’t happen. The best way to make sure you create content is to have an editorial calendar. Select publish dates. Then, stick to your schedule.
#13 – SEO
Select your target keywords. Then, optimize each page for one of your keywords. It is important to optimize each page of a unique keyword phrase. There are two main parts to SEO, onsite and offsite.
#14 – Promote content
Even the best content needs to be promoted. You have to get the word out about your content. Post your content on social media. Email your subscribers. Forward it to influencers.
#15 – Social media
Connect your social network account to your website. Also, make sure that your content is easily shareable. Include social sharing buttons on each page of your website.
#16 – Analytics
Use an analytics program to know what is happening with your website. Google Analytics (GA) is a great free tool to use for this purpose.
Website analytics will help you understand the following and more:
- Website visitors.
- What sites refer visitors to your website?
- How much time visitors spend on your website?
- What keywords did people use to find your website?
- What are the most popular pages?
#17 – Budget
How much money can you spend on creating your website? You should have an exact dollar amount in mind before you contact your web designer.
#18 – Call to Action
No website is complete without a call to action. Great websites have a call to action to close a sale, generate leads, encourage sharing, or to promote an event. Your website must have a call to action to tell the visitor what to do next.
photo credit: Makerist Mediathek