I hear a lot of business owners and potential clients tell me they have a website, but as far as they are concerned it has yet to pay for itself. I have only one piece of advice for these people.
Decide what you want your website to do and really focus on achieving that one thing.
Some examples are getting potential customers to call, getting people to spend more time in a forum or learning about your products. It has to be something simple, achievable and measurable. Forget all the features and technologies you wanted to add to that new website (that never gets launched) pick one thing and drop the rest.
Here are my five simple suggestions to help focus your efforts and get that new site live and producing results.
1. Make your homepage work for you.
Your homepage is the personification of your online goals. Want people to call you? Tell them to call, and why they should. Want people to download your latest whitepaper? Give them the link, front and centre, above the fold. Want people to share your site on social media? Put your shareable content at the top and ask them to share.
Starting to see a trend? Your homepage will probably be the most visited page on your site and therefore the best chance you will get at converting new visitors into customers or repeat visitors. Clarify your goal and remove anything from the homepage that doesn’t support or inform that goal.
2. Install and Monitor Analytics from Day 1.
If you want your website to pay for itself you have to match up the income to the expense. How many visitors are you getting? Where are they coming from? How did they find you? How many pages did they read, or how much time did they spend with your content? These Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are essential in focusing your online goals and determining success.
I have never worked on a website that was “complete”. All websites are undergoing a continuous modification and updating process. Analytics gives you the insight you need to see what content is the most popular and where you need to improve. Remember, your site exists first and foremost to accomplish your core goal – start measuring and testing your KPIs against that goal.
3. Make site navigation obvious.
People are used to seeing certain topic headings on a website. Home, Services/Products, About Us, Contact etc. These basic headers can of course be subdivided into multiple pages, and some businesses require additional topic headings like News and Product Support, but overall the trick is to match your content to new user’s expectations.
Once you have your basic site structure treat each heading as a separate landing page. Ask yourself, what do I want people to do when they come to this page? Remove most, if not all links and content except for the info or call to action relating to your goal.
4. Keep it simple and organized.
Very few sites enjoy the type of stickyness that a site like Facebook enjoys. (avg. 40mins/day/user) Odds are, visitors to your site will spend less than 3mins surfing and reading your content. To achieve your Goal, you want to make sure that each user understands exactly what it is you want them to do.
If you’re building your own site, a good rule of thumb is to look at the design you’ve chosen and then ask yourself, “What can I remove to make this easier to use?” It could be an entire block of text or simply a background color or border. Once you start de-cluttering, you’ll be able to see if items should be shifted to other places in the layout, different pages or removed entirely. Keep revising until you have a site that’s clean, well organized and easy to navigate.
5. Be multiple device ready.
A simple design that works on touch screens as well as on the desktop is paramount. You want your site to be exposed to as many people, in as many situations as possible.
As an added bonus, mobile sites can often be more accessible to those with visual impairments, or who may have difficulties using a mouse, but find touch displays easier to manipulate.
All websites designed by Aabstract are based on an open source back-end, ensuring continuous improvement, security and testing from a massive user base of developers. We test every website we produce across all browsers and devices.
It comes down to knowing what you want to achieve, (your core website goal) and removing all extraneous or irrelevant information/graphics/”brand messaging” that doesn’t directly support your goal. Once you have this core goal defined and supported you must measure, test, refine and re-focus on a continuous basis.