What Makes a Good Website? The Ultimate Guide

by | Feb 13, 2017 | Site Optimization |

Are you thinking about what makes a good website? Or you planning to have a website for your business?

Do you feel that your website didn’t convert visitors into costumers?

Then, this article will surely help you on how to properly layout and what are the essential information you need to put into your dream website.

Quick Summary:

A. Ensure you have the fundamentals down for your small business website

B. Branding/Marketing Essentials

C. A Professional Website

Getting your company on the Internet can be very prosperous for the purposes of targeting potential customers. Most people, however, find it hard to get started. This article will explore the easy ways you can create an interactive and impressionable website.

You need a website if you’re an owner of a small business. If you don’t have a clue about what components are required for a small business website, consider employing a web designer and/or a programmer to put the website online on your behalf. Ensure you talk about the objectives of your website with programmers and designers.

What objectives do you want your website to reach? You probably want to increase traffic. You want customers to see how you differ from your competitors right away. You want more sales, orders, inquiries, and referrals. If a potential customer doesn’t convert, you want to at least obtain their email address so you can advertise to them down the road.

You’re more than likely interested in your figures, too. You what to know what customers are paying for, and how much time they spend on your site. Your employees are trained to sell your products more effectively so you can concentrate on sales and figures.

Is your web designer aware of how you want your services or products sold and how to increase traffic? Probably not. A web designer’s expertise is exactly what their job title implies. Sales details are your expertise, not theirs.

Studies suggest that the Internet is the initial place most customers go to for details on local businesses. As such, your potential customers are looking you up online from mobile devices and their laptops. This solidifies the need to have an online presence for your business.

If you don’t have a website or need one improved, ensure you apply the following recommendations to help you obtain the website your company requires.

Most owners of small businesses require assistance with their websites. They didn’t go to school to learn how to make websites, they learned how to run companies. Even a basic website is capable of increasing traffic for a company. You simply need to understand what is important.

A. Ensure You Have the Fundamentals Down for Your Small Business Website

1. Post your phone number visibly at the top of every single page

This is the most essential detail a website can provide. However, based on a recent SCORE study, 27% of small businesses fail to list their phone numbers on their websites. Ensure you’re not part of that percentage. That way, customers won’t get frustrated trying to find it.

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2. Use professional email address

Refrain from using a free email address like the ones Yahoo or Google provide, and instead, opt for a business website address, such as “yourname@yourcompanyname.com”.

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3. Put business hours in the footer of your website

Your hours of operation are vital. Think about placing your hours in your website. Although you can put it in any part of you site, it is usually added in the footer section. Update those hours if they change during holidays.

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4. Post a mailing and street address if they are different from one another

An address is just as important as the phone number and should also be placed in your website’s header and footer.

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5. Add location maps where customers can find you

It will be much easier for people to find you if you give them directions. They’ll be more inclined to visit you if they can visualize where you are.

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6. Photos of the front of your establishment

Once again, a visual is very powerful when trying to allure customers your way. A picture of your place of business tells customers that you’re legitimate. Posting the entrance of your business is also beneficial for marketing purposes. If the front of your company is attractive, people will be more inclined to spend their hard-earned money on your products or services.

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7. Add links to your social media accounts

Research indicates that as much as 76% of customers expect to find a Facebook page for the business they’re interested in. As such, it’s worthwhile to create a Facebook page for your company. Try to keep the URL of your Facebook page as close to the name of your business as possible.

According to a Hubspot report, 70% of consumers between the ages of 45 and 60 believe a brand should be listed on social media. 95% of millennials anticipate seeing a Facebook page. Such figures might be lower for locally-based companies, but only by a little.

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8. Must have Contact Us page

If a customer can’t reach you by phone or through your website’s contact form, they won’t waste any time going to your competition instead.

You can prevent this from happening. Ensure your website’s contact form contains enough fields to fill out so that when a customer’s inquiry is received, you’ll know exactly what they’re looking for.

Be sure that any contact form inquiries are received right away. Emails should not be delivered to an address that is infrequently checked.

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9. Must have About Us

This is usually a website’s second-most visited page. Refrain from just entering a few lines about your business. Explain the company’s history, as well some of the following:

Write a few paragraphs about the people who work for your company. Add the motivation behind the launch of the organization. People like to conduct business with people they feel they can relate to on some level. Trust and likeability are big factors here. Ensure people can read about things that give them reasons to trust you.

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10. Add images of the company owner

Pictures like these can generally be seen on the About Us page, but it doesn’t hurt to add it to the navigation column also.

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11. Post images of your staff

Show their names and what their specialties are. Posting imagery of your employees tells potential customers that you’re someone that can be trusted and engaged with.

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12. Add a short rundown about your business

How long you’ve been in business? Where you’re located? Who is your target market? These answers should be in your About Us page’s first paragraph. The second paragraph should discuss what motivated you to launch the company.

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13. Post a few pictures of your work

A picture truly is worth a thousand words, especially when it comes to company websites. Before and after imagery are particularly captivating, regardless of whether you’re a landscaper, mechanic, contractor, or barber. Giving potential customers something to visualize will encourage them to conduct business with you. People want to see what they’re buying before handing over their money.

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14. Add a page exclusive to the services or products you provide

Feature a short description for every service or product you offer. If applicable, add pricing.

The biggest reason people have for visiting your website is to see your services page, as they want to know if you can help them. If they can’t get an answer quickly and easily, they’ll move onto your competition. Explain specifically what you can do and how you do it. In a way, what you write here is your real sales copy.

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15. Must have Frequently Asked Questions section or page

Customers will always have questions about the things they buy. Common questions you receive should be noted and answered in a clear, simple way on a Frequently Asked Questions page on your website. The questions you’ll get generally involve ingredients or materials used to produce whatever you specialize in. Other popular questions involve shipping fees, sizes, return policies, cancellation policies, and company history.

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16. Add icons, logos, or links to professional associations you’re a part of

Perhaps it’s the American Personal Organizers Association or the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re a part of any relevant group, list those associations, credentials, and certifications you have. Post the logos of these groups to your site and link to their official websites.

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17. Add trust symbols specially to your checkout pages

Trust symbols are pictures that establish you as a legitimate company. Approximately 32% of conversion rates increase because of these badges. There are a pair of trust symbols: one are SSL seals that verify an encrypted connection between the visitor’s browser and your website. The other symbols indicate a lack of encryption. While it’s not vital to know precisely how trust symbols operate, know that they are essential for a business to establish credibility.

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B. Branding/Marketing Essentials

18. Your logo should always have a professional look

Invest in a logo if you haven’t already. Contact us if you want a professional logo designed for you immediately.

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19. Must have consistent and professional branding

Save the emoji for your Facebook account. Your logo should always have a look that is consistent with your brand. Select colors for your website that correspond with the ones on your logo. Use a single font across the site. Ensure images or graphics match one another for a professional appearance.

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20. Must have costumer reviews and testimonials

Marketing comes with a game-changing flaw: individuals seldom believe what they tell themselves. They do, however, believe what they are told. If you have any testimonials – even if it’s just one – throw it up on your website. Doing so will stimulate further testimonials and influence others to spend their money on you.

By adding these important elements to your site, your business is bound to boom. The work you put into the site will pay off. You’ll have sufficient details to convert visitors into customers.

This might be the best approach to get the traffic you’re looking for. Testimonials from customers are vital. If you have multiple people saying positives about your business, create a whole page on your website dedicated to customer reviews.

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21. Add Call To Action that encourage visitors to do something specific

A “call-to-action” references words on your site that encourage visitors to do something specific. Easy to understand CTAs stimulate visitors to move forward with their purchase or enrollment. Examples of CTAs include:

  • Contact us now
  • Learn More (link to download an eBook, a brochure, catalog, product guide, etc.)
  • Get an Estimate
  • Free Estimate or Free Consultation
  • Book an Appointment
  • Buy Immediately
  • Ask for a Sales Call
  • Request a Demonstration
  • Like Us on Facebook, Follow Us on Twitter, Connect on LinkedIn
  • Subscribe (for email tips, a newsletter, or special offers)
  • Enroll (for a prize or drawing)
  • Visit Us (link to map)

Place your CTA in the navigation column or header area to draw the visitor’s eye.

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22. Add some type of discount, coupon, or incentive

Your website must be influential enough to break a visitor’s pattern of inactivity. An aesthetically pleasing website that provides what they require will warrant them to get in touch with you, visit your store, and ideally, make a purchase from you.

A free cup of coffee or a printable coupon can do wonders for a business. Perhaps you can offer a free consultation of some sort. Complementary eBooks are sought after in several niches, but they’re not particularly useful for local businesses.

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23. Add subscription form and start building an email contact list

One of the most efficient strategies you can use is email marketing. Our own research tells us that approximately 45% of small businesses utilize emails as part of their marketing methods. If you’re not implementing this approach yet, it’s worthwhile for you to start building an email contact list.

You can use a free MailChimp account to start growing your list. It is simple to add an opt-in form to a website. A skilled web developer or designer can get this done for you in 60 minutes or less.

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24. Setup basic SEO for all pages of your site

Each page on your site should contain unique title tags.

Title tags are parts of HTML coding that your website is made of. HTML title tags show up on the initial row of details on search engine result pages, like so:

There should be a unique title tag on each page of your website. Title tags should consist of phrases and words that people would use in a search engine to find what you’re offering.

Write meta description tags to stimulate action on search engine result pages.

Meta description tags are similar to title tags, except they produce descriptions in search engine results. Much like sales copy, they are written to instigate a click from visitors.

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25. Create social media accounts for your business

It doesn’t matter if your customers are companies or individuals, directing them to your social media accounts is an ideal approach to make your services or products more popular. Social media can also raise traffic for your website. You should be mindful of which social networks your target market is most active on. Here’s a synopsis of the most used social networks:

  • Facebook – the most popular social network has plenty of ways to target customers, including paid ads.
  • Twitter – perfect for sending news, helping with customer service, and posting updates.
  • LinkedIn – acts as the biggest social network for professionals and businesses and is great for establishing partnerships, relationships, and hiring.
  • YouTube – the most popular video-watching website is a great place to post footage of your expertise, offer suggestions, and share instructional videos about your products or services.
  • Google+ – a social network growing in popularity, Google+ is a smart approach to influencing shares since it’s connected to the biggest search engine out there.
  • Pinterest – mostly used by females, this social network is heavy on imagery. It’s great for those in retail and other industries that are dependent on visuals.
  • Instagram – you can display products or services your business offers by creatively modifying the videos and pictures you post. Great for companies in the retail, hospitality, and entertainment industries.
  • SnapChat – the newest social media site of this group lets users share videos and pictures that disappear 24 hours after being posted.

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C. A Professional Website

26. Your domain or website address must be simple to spell and memorable

Select a proper URL (aka website address or domain) that is short and easy to understand – preferably the name of your business. If your company name is rather lengthy, doesn’t articulate what your business does, or doesn’t contain any relevant keywords, you might want to instead add a short keyword to your domain that describes what you do.

Here are some other URL suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Add your location to the URL if the domain name you wanted has already been taken.
  • If possible, opt for a .com extension rather than .org or .net.
  • Refrain from using numbers or hyphens.
  • Choose a domain that is easy to remember and type. The shorter, the better.
  • Ensure the domain you want isn’t copyrighted.
  • Register the domain for multiple years using a trusted domain name provider.

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27. Never use free or cheap web hosting for your company website

Stay away from WordPress sites, hosts that integrate ads into your content, or slow-loading sites being shared with thousands of others on a server.

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28. No more than 3 seconds to load your pages

We’re all been conditioned to be impatient. People don’t like waiting for websites to load. If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, the user will likely move onto another one.

How to you ensure your site loads fast? Always choose a web host with proven speeds. Keep all image files on your website small. Seek the advice of a website designer or developer for other tweaks you can make.

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29. Mobile-friendly design

A majority of your website’s traffic will originate from tablets and smartphones. As such, it is of paramount importance that your website looks nice and operates properly on mobile devices. In doing so, you’ll have a leg up over the competition – according to research conducted by SCORE, 93.3% of small business websites are not optimized for mobile devices.

A mobile-friendly layout might be as simple as having a responsive website, which is a template that automatically adapts to the screen it’s being displayed on. On smaller screens, the fonts will be large enough to read for people with impaired eyesight.

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30. Have have easy and simple navigation

Navigation buttons or tabs must be shown in the same spot on every single page of your site. You need to position your navigation links across the left side or top of a page. Also, keep the following in mind:

  • Clickable elements should remain consistent, particularly with regards to font size and relevant elements of style.
  • Limit your main navigation links to no more than eight tabs (strive for five)
  • A footer and header should be every page and feature important information and links.

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31. Add breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs on websites are akin to a compass when you’re in the woods. It’s good to have a trail you can follow when outdoors, and when you’re surfing a website, it’s good to know how you arrived at a specific page.

If your website confuses someone, they’ll just close the tab and move onto another website. By leaving breadcrumbs for your visitors, you’ll show them where they are, and how to get back to where they were.

Breadcrumbs are not the same thing as a menu. The breadcrumbs are an extension of website navigation, not the primary one.

The biggest reason to add breadcrumbs to your website is that they help with SEO of e-commerce and regular sites. They are a crucial aspect of your web design strategy.

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32. Your website should be updated regularly

Your website is baron without content. Most people in business believe that any kind of content is suitable as long as it looks good and fills up space. Sadly, this is just not true. Your website must be comprised of helpful content that converts visitors into customers, plain and simple. If you hire a writer to produce content for you, ensure they understand your brand, products, or services, and what you specialize in (and even what you don’t). The pages on your website must be simple to read, too. Each page should be regularly updated and new content should be added on a regular basis. The content should never be swiped or copied – use Copyscape to ensure that the content you pay for is original. It is important to ensure that the amount of pages are at least 500 words long. Google prefers pages with lengthy content to crawl, and the more you have on your site, the more authority you’ll have in the eyes of search engines.

Pictures are also a must for all websites. Visuals go hand in hand with things we read, and websites are no different. Ensure that the pictures you use are not large or your site will have a slower loading time. Consider using Infographics, which breaks down words into colorful images, allowing people to absorb content faster. If you have statistics and facts to share, you might be able to produce a helpful and shareable Infographic.

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33. Must have a blog page

All websites must have a blog page. Blog pages are a source of traffic to your site. They can convert visitors into leads, establish you as an authority of your specialty, and provide results that last long-term. Your blog should be updated regularly and your posts should be consistent. Search engines love blogs that receive regular content and updates. Ensure you add eye-catching titles, a few subtitles, no more than three links, and a CTA of some sort. Quality meta tags and relevant categories can also be beneficial. Ensure comments are disabled if you don’t intend to monitor them daily and respond to them when required. Invest in your blog and it will pay dividends. If you lack the time to develop a quality blog, consider using freelancers to produce content on your behalf.

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