The 3 Cardinal Rules to a Successful Website
With Canadians visiting an average of 3,238 unique websites a month, having a web presence that supports your business and puts your best foot forward is essential. Your website is your 24 hour-a-day billboard that (unlike your staff) works relentlessly for you.
Some businesses don't believe in having a website, while others see it as a one-time investment worth no more than the initial development. Some even acknowledge the importance of having a website, but fail to realize what it takes to make it work and convert.
Here are our 3 cardinal rules to guide your success in building a successful website, which will quickly become your hardest working asset.
The first cardinal rule of web design is so much more than just colours. It's about having a web presence that's modern, clean, and draws people in. If it's intriguing and visually pleasant, visitors are more likely to linger and look around. Websites today are built responsive to make sure it behaves optimally in any viewing scenario. Having a website that's modern is all about keeping up with web standard - websites should have a banner image for visual focus, a menu across the top, and the logo in the top left hand corner.
Your website's colour scheme and fonts should always compliment your brand identity. Be weary of creating a dark website with white font as people tend to steer away from those sites. Books are dark lettering typed on light paper after all. Use dark colours instead as anchors around a clean canvas to showcase your copy.
Colours have much more impact on our psychology than we give credit for, so be aware of the emotions your palette evokes. Red, for example, can be powerful, energetic, bold, and passionate, while blue is calming and inspired.
Fonts should be clean and legible, so even though you may really like a cursive font, stick to a clean, web standard body font that's easy to read and keep the cursive for banner images to test out their potency.
Lastly, make sure your images are clear and your messaging stands out. You only have a few seconds to grab a visitor's attention, so make the most of it by using your slogans or offerings prominently. If your visitor can't make out what you do quickly, they'll find a competitor who does.
We know that once a user lands on your site, you only have a few seconds to keep them there. So besides the grand design elements you've established with the first cardinal rule, content is your greatest ally to keep them engaged.
The Internet is predominantly image and word based, so establishing good content is as important as good design. Make sure your content answers visitors questions, is engaging, exciting and well segmented into bite sized pieces. Users won't read more than 200 words, so while blogs are great tools for SEO and the odd information junkies like us, make sure that the featured text sections are to the point. Keep long winded stories for your news and blog sections, while making sure your services call out their benefits clearly and quickly.
Sometimes you have the right words, but need to implement cardinal rule number 3 to pull it all together...
Having a beautiful site that doesn't function is like having a bowl of plastic fruit - it's great to look at, but what does it do?
When we think of how your website functions, we're really considering three things:
Your menu structure is your first line of service to a visitor who's intrigued enough by your design and initial communication to want to learn more. Make sure your menu is always visible and offers clear options. That way, your visitors know where they're going and how to find what they're looking for.
An important element of good navigation is knowing your flow and purpose. These might sound like abstract concepts but think of each as an important part of a whole.
Your purpose is what your slogan is about, what your product or service is about, and what you aim to achieve every day for your customers. Your purpose is to make their lives easier, so organize your navigation to showcase your purpose. Likewise, your flow should reflect your purpose and keep in mind what journey you want visitors to take. Ask yourself questions like:
- What are visitors looking to find/learn?
- What's most important to visitors?
- Why would they choose our business?
- What actions do I want them to perform?
Making sure you know your customer's journey can help them find what they're looking for and help you convert easier in the process. Remember, your website's flow should offer ways for your visitors to get in touch with you, so make sure there's always a call to action present to keep the flow moving.
Think of your website like a book - your design is your hard cover, beautifully put together and sturdy to grab the attention of passers-by. Your book has content which is the captivating story of your business and how they can solve reader's problems. This content is organized into a functional flow with chapters, sub-headings and an appendix to make it easy for readers to quickly navigate to the section and build their knowledge of your brand with each passing chapter.
A good publisher will keep those items in mind while discussing your work with you. Make sure you know and apply these critical elements too for a successful web presence.
Bloomtools designs and builds unique one-of-a-kind websites for your unique one-of-a-kind business. Our team of experts can help you not just design the perfect website, but the structure and content to make it successful by applying these 3 cardinal rules. Contact us today and let us help get you ready for a successful new year!
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