If you’re considering a new website then you may as well do it right and better than your last website.
I know you’re busy so let’s cover these key elements that should be in just about every website (there are always exceptions). In this case we’re going to assume anything new will be of great design, clear writing, mobile and SEO friendly and all the common standards for today’s website creation.
But what are the variables within a good design that can make your website perform at its best?
#1 CLEAR HEADLINE – TITLE
It’s surprising how many websites focus on the company and not the service and benefit. Your company name should not be the headline. The headline should be the primary service you offer. You can blend your name into the headline if you wish but the customer wants to know what you do and how you do it. If they decided they want it, they’re smart enough to figure out who you are and how to get in touch with you.
#2 STRONG SUB HEADLINE- TAGLINE
Next, you’ll want to take advantage of the 3-4 seconds you have to convince the customer to stay on your website by quickly presenting a benefit or point of difference of your business. If you focus on a specialty, let customers know immediately. If you’re faster than most-say it. If your cheapest-say it. There has to be something that sets you apart from everyone else in your category. (if you can’t think of something then spend some time thinking this through).
#3 HOME PAGE CALL TO ACTION
The reason most people/organizations do a website in the first place is to inform and get visitors to do something. So think: what do I want my customers to do when they visit my website? Call you?-then make phone numbers prominent. Email you?-consider putting a contact form on your home page. Begin a sales process?- then why not offer a free download in exchange for an email address so you can start marketing to them!
What you want to avoid is having someone come to your website and leave without presenting them with next steps.
#4 UNIQUE SUPPORTIVE IMAGES
Try and be as original with your images as you can. In these days of cheap stock photos everyone has access to some nice pictures, but if you can present a unique image that represents your service or benefit it will set your website apart and make it more memorable. Consider taking your own picture of your business, office, people or the equipment. A good web designer can fix up mediocre images and make them look good and the originality will differentiate you from competitors and create a more personal feel.
#5 UP-FRONT PRODUCT SERVICE LIST
You’ll no doubt have a products or services page on your website, but with 85% of your website visitors leaving without going to a secondary page, why would you risk not telling visitors what you do when you have the chance. A services summary on the home page provides an invitation for visitors to click through to exactly what they’re interested in.
#6 PROOF OF SUCCESS
Once a client decides they have interest in your products or services then the next step is to provide assurance. This can be done in a few ways. If you work in an area where you make products/services/functions then you can show samples of your best work. If you work in an intangible area such as consulting or accounting then testimonials make for a great proof of past success. Having some of this on your home page ensures that visitors understand you are a proven business they can count on.
#7 SPECIAL OFFER
This is slightly different than a call to action in that you are already discounting your service before ever presenting pricing. However if you’re in a category where pricing is familiar with people and you want to create an incentive to choose your business over a competitor then a special deal is a great option. The key here is to update this on a regular basis so the discount isn’t simply a regular part of business.
#8 BUSINESS RELATED CONTENT
“Content” is the current hot term in webology for bringing traffic to your website. Search engines find it and report back to people interested in those topics. However content has a much more important role, which is, presenting your expertise on a topic. While you may not want to give away your company secrets you can write articles about how you solved problems, what trends you see in business and other company related topics. Good – original – content lets website visitors understand that you know what you’re talking about and provides a taste of your expertise before they spend buy from you.
While there are certainly dozens of additional features that could be included on any website there always need to be a starting point and these 8 elements for a new website are some of the points that are often missed in canned and prefabricated designs that may look good but won’t work as hard as they could.
For great website development work consider General Marketing Service as your partner.