The 3 Ingredients for a Killer Website

Maybe you've been putting off getting a website for some time now. Or maybe you have an old, outdated site that you just really haven't had the time or energy to fix. You may be thinking that it doesn't matter; your ads and word of mouth will keep bringing in those clients and things are going well. But with the age of the Internet upon us that notion couldn't be further from the truth.

There is so much opportunity emerging around technology and the Internet. If you're not utilizing either to your advantage, then you're missing out on clients and revenue. For most, the web is the first place they go to get information, now that it is easier and quicker for people to get online. In many ways, your website is the first point of contact that people have with your business, so it's important to make a good first impression. 

One thing to keep in mind - potential customers have grown up on the web. They don't use a phone book to search for a company, they use the referral websites like Yelp, or Yellow Pages. They don't go to the library for their research papers, they go to Google. The Internet is second nature to them. So it only makes sense that when they want to find out about a business, they reach for their computers, mobile devices and tablets first. People's experience online can now be more intuitive and convenient than physically visiting a store, so it's important to make sure that your website is a good reflection of your business. 

While the web may be scary at first, it has a major benefit - the Internet opens a whole new world of customers you haven't been able to reach or have never thought about reaching. The Internet spans across cities, states, countries and the world. There's a lot of people looking for the exact services you provide. With access to the web, your website has the ability to reach them. Because of this, it is critical to not only have a website, but to make sure it's functioning and professional. There are several key factors as to why a good website is important to get views on your site and turn those clicks into clients. 

Looks Matter: 

You know the saying don't judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, this does not apply to the Internet. People will judge your business based on how your website looks. More often than not, it doesn't matter if you have a really good business; when customers see a site from the 90s, with glittery words and dancing bananas, they're going to click away. Your website should be a reflection of your company. It should be professional, clean and aesthetically pleasing. Think of your website as a resume. It's the first impression people get of you; you want that impression to count. 

According to Ben Shepard, director of creative services at 360 PSG, the need for eye-pleasing, attention-getting websites is important and dictated by technology, more than fashion. CSS (cascading style sheets) revolutionized the way websites were built and opened a new world for designers, who were no longer constrained to the limitations of early HTML. Additionally, the biggest factors affecting website design are their responsiveness on smartphones and tablets.

"With mobile media time now surpassing desktop, modern designs have to accommodate vastly different devices and consider users with very different priorities depending on which device they are on," - Ben Shepard

It's important to stay up-to-date on website trends, as they tend to have a shelf life of about two to three years. An average person can look at a site and without necessarily knowing why, they would simply feel that it was outdated. It's that very reason why having a cleanly designed website is so vital - it needs to look good on whatever type of device is in use. 

"It's the mingling of digital mediums, where your website moves from a 27" monitor to the 5" screen on your phone to the 1" screen on your watch that is now guiding aesthetically pleasing design," - Ben Shepard 

Think of Your Users First:

People want information. They want it quickly and they wanted it five minutes ago. They don't want to play detective and search for clues on your site. They want to click on a tab and know exactly what they're getting themselves into.

A successful website isn't a maze; allowing users to find the information they desire effectively will increase their overall experience. If information is missing or hidden, they're going to click away. 

According to Jason Ortiz, director of programming at 360 PSG, a visitor is looking to learn about you, find a product, discover specific information, or complete an action, like making a purchase or contacting your company. Because of this, it's important customers do this quickly and easily.

"Site navigation should be simple, organized and intuitive," Ortiz said. "All to often we see sites that are setup with 'company-centric' navigation - with zero consideration or thought on what a visitor's goal might be. Nothing is more frustrating, and more likely to make someone leave your site, than for them to not be able to find what what they are looking for within 1 to 2 clicks."

The current state of the web essentially levels the playing field for all businesses, regardless of size, Ortiz said. What determines whether or not a client chooses to do business with you can be something as simple as how frustrated they get with your site; people have come to expect simplicity and consistency above all. 

"If your site's content is confusing or uses uncommon layouts, navigation or functionality this should be reviewed by a web professional and corrected immediately," he said. "If not though rest assured, clients will still find what they are looking for - just on a competitor's site"

Content is King: 

Your words matter, especially on the web. Not only is this how users get their information, but the tone of your content gives a feel for your company. Are you serious? Professional? Lighthearted? Funny? Any way you want your readers to perceive your company can be expressed with the written word. That's why it is so important to have good, error-free content. 

People can easily spot a spelling or grammar mistake so make sure you've double and triple everything. Having bad grammar, misspelled words or inconsistent information will make visitors not take you seriously. Also, your information needs to be solid. Customers will read through the fluff and get annoyed if you're feeding them the same information, just phrased differently. 

Not only is having content absolutely necessary, but it will help you rank on search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will help your organic reach tremendously. Using content to your advantage will not only improve your visibility online but keep people on your site longer - a big win for everybody.

No matter what your business plan looks like, having a put together website is extremely vital; it's absolutely necessary in this day and age. It's one of the best ways to convince customers to do business with you and can allow you to stand out from your competition. 

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