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How to create a compelling website that converts

So you’ve got your product and you’re ready to tell the world, right? 

How do you plan on sharing your product with the public? You’ll need a place where you can showcase your product and where potential customers can learn additional details about your offering, including learning more about you and your business. 

This is where a website comes into play. Think of your website as a virtual version of a store. In fact, think about your favorite physical stores to shop at. 

You tend to choose them because they’re easy to find and drive to. You might return to that store because of its friendly service and employees. Maybe the store is designed for you to find what you need yourself with intuitive organization and clearly marked signs and areas (think Target or the grocery store). Or maybe the store is designed to give you a tour by moving you through a physical space (think Ikea or even Bed, Bath, and Beyond). 

The store has the items you need and is clean, simple, and bright with a checkout area that can’t be missed and never has long lines. 

These are exactly the principles to include in your website: Design, content, and the technical logistics that hold them together.

Website Principle #1: Design

Website design refers to the usability of the website for potential leads and customers (called User Experience Design or UX) as well as the visual aesthetics of the website (called User Interface Design or UI). 

In other words, UX is basically about making your site as easy to use as possible, while UI is about making your site as visually appealing as possible. 

For our purposes, there are three basic areas to focus on when designing a website: 

  1. clear organization  
  2. intuitive navigation 
  3. visual aesthetics

Clear Organization

You want your website to be organized in a logical way, so that potential customers and leads can find what they need on the site. This means you put like-things with like-things, in a similar way to how Target puts toothpaste with toothbrushes and puts both of these product types in an area where customers will also find body wash, make-up, and other related, body-care products. 

On your website, this practice will be similar to organizing your blog posts on a single page.  You might further organize those blog posts with categories and tags, so that users can filter the blog posts to find just the topics they’re interested in. 

This is an example of incorporating clear, simple organization on your site and keeping the user’s experience in mind as you do so. 

Intuitive Navigation

Not only do you want your site organized, you also want the navigation to be intuitive and logical. Consider again the way your local Target is set up: As you move through the aisles, you’ll likely find that you can guess what will (or definitely will not) be in the next aisle. 

For example, suppose you’re in the greeting card aisle at the store. You know that you’re likely to find gift wrap, stationery, and office supplies nearby, while intuitively knowing you’re not likely to find food, gardening, or cleaning supplies in this area. 

This is because they’ve used user experience and intuitive navigation to determine where to place products in relation to each other.  

Additionally, you won’t find the checkout area in the middle or the back of the store. You intuitively expect to checkout on the way to your car and that is exactly where the store designers have chosen to place the checkout area.  

On your website, this will mean placing your navigation menu in a logical and visible location – like at the top of the site. Keep your navigation menus simple, rather than cluttered – just a few main pages that can be splintered off into more specific pages.

For example, you will probably want to limit your pages in that main navigation bar to the 4 or 5 main topics your visitors will be interested in – including pages like Home, About, Blog, Shop/Products/Services, and Contact. 

Then, organize the content in each main page with drop-down menus. For example, you might create a page titled “Shop” with a drop-down menu for “Products” and “Services” or an “About” page with a drop-down menu for “Mission,” “Meet the Team,” and “Portfolio.”  

Visual Aesthetics

Layout, whitespace, images, colors, and fonts are all pieces that make up the visual aesthetic of your website.  

For most sites, the general principle to keep in mind when it comes to visual design is less is more. 

Layout often intersects with user design: What content should visitors see first when entering your site? But beyond ordering content, your layout and whitespace can work together to help organize content so that it is easy to see and read without feeling cluttered. 

Images help to break up blocks of texts and often catch a reader’s eye, getting them to pause. Images can help create a tone and mood for your site and can subtly incorporate brand colors and showcase products and brand ambassadors. 

Using consistent colors and fonts can help you create a branded site, making your brand more recognizable and memorable. In addition, the right fonts (along with thoughtful layouts and use of whitespace) help to make the content on your site more readable, increasing the likelihood visitors will stick around.

Website Principle #2: Content

There are some common pieces of information you’ll find on just about any website. These include contact information, an about page, information about products and services, and links to social media sites and other social proof. 

In addition to the information above, you’ll also want to have long-form content (written blog, video, podcast, etc) because no matter how attractive or easy to use your site is, the number one thing people come to your site for is content. 

No matter what kind of content you’re creating, there are a few areas to pay special attention to. 

First, create fresh, original, engaging, and useful content. Let’s be honest: the internet is cluttered with junk-writing and fluff. Weak, boring, or unoriginal writing will be more likely to harm your brand impression and engagement than help. 

Your content should do more than just offer a sales pitch. It should offer genuine, valuable information that serves your audiences. 

You’ll want to write your content and copy in a way that is on brand and speaks to the language of your audience. We expect a different tone and voice from a surf company than we do from a law consulting group – determine the tone and voice that fits your brand and target audience and stay consistent. 

Website Principle #3: Logistics

In addition to the design and content pieces, a successful website also needs to have the back-end logistics sorted as well. 

Why? Because no matter how attractive or navigable your site is, no one is going to sit around for 10 minutes for each page to load. In addition, Google and other search engines look at many of the logistics aspects to determine if and where to show your site in the search results. 

This means that having a weak back end to your site might actually prevent potential leads from finding you and your website. 

So what logistics should you be watching for? 

Speed and security for starters. Make sure your site loads relatively quickly for viewers. More than 2 seconds and many users will be hitting that back button. Similarly, ensure your site has an SSL security certificate, which communicates to both uses and Google that your website is using an encrypted connection. 

Second, check your site is optimized for mobile users. 53% of users access websites from their mobile device, so you’ll want to make sure the design and navigation elements we discussed in the beginning of this article remain intact when viewing from a mobile device. 

Lastly, you’ll want to pay attention to search engine optimization (SEO) through keyword research and link building. 

Using keyword research helps you determine which words to use in your content and website copy in order to ensure that Google and other search engines “know” your site is relevant for a particular search. 

Link building, sometimes called backlinking, is when outside websites link back to your website. Not only are these backlinks helpful in driving traffic to your site from other, external sites, they also establish your site’s credibility by telling Google and other search engines that your site is reputable and trusted among other sites. 

Conclusion

As the online home for your business, you want to create an attractive website that accurately represents your brand. These three core principles of web design, content creation, and backend logistics will help you build a successful website. 

Not sure how to begin creating your website? Be sure to read our blog on website builders versus CMS platforms to find the right fit for your business. 

Already have a website that needs a few touchups? You can schedule a free consultation with our team to see how we can help you optimize your website for additional business growth.


Email us at info@starfox.media or give us a call at 760-385-3117. Or fill out our contact form for more information.

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