Launching a new website is an exciting step in the process of elevating your business. While you are probably eager to launch it as quickly as possible, it’s important to make sure your site meets a handful of criteria before presenting it to your potential customers.
Make sure your site:
- Clearly defines who you are and what you offer
- Gives users a way to contact you
- Is organized and guides users
- Is secured with an SSL certificate
- Has valuable keywords, meta descriptions, and content for SEO
- Is visually appealing for your target consumers
Define Your Brand
As you go throughout the website creation process, your design will likely become increasingly complex. While this isn’t an issue, your main information may get lost in the shuffle. If you want to attract and retain new clients, it’s important to clearly define your brand name and your main offerings.
Your top navigation and hero section of the homepage are perfect initial areas to cover this core info. Your navigation should display your logo, brand name, and main pages organized in a way that connects with your potential customers. In your hero, you should use language that defines your purpose and attracts further action.
Of course, branding shouldn’t only be confined to these areas. Other notable places to showcase your branding include the footer, multimedia shown on pages, and even the stylistic choices you make.
Give a Way to Communicate
Your site is the ideal connection between yourself and your consumers. By providing a link and form to get in touch with you or your contact information for users to reach you, you can facilitate that communication. Whether you are directly selling a product, pushing customers to your sales team, or building a subscription list, your pages should provide adequate ways to take action. Depending on what you hope to gain, you may need to adjust your forms or gear them to specific pages, but at the minimum, you should try to collect email addresses to continue the conversation away from your site.
Many modern brands are utilizing chatbots to expedite this communication onsite and give consumers a sense that they are a top priority. If you have the team to manage this communication or are using an automated bot like HubSpot or Drift, great. However, if you have a chatbot that is not responding quickly or optimized to guide users correctly, your potential clients may be deterred from communicating in other forms as well. Regardless of how you communicate, make sure you are doing it efficiently and in a way that makes your customers feel valued.
Guide Your User
Whenever someone visits your site, they should be given some guidance. Of course, they are usually looking for specific information; however, you can impact their journey with links, call-to-actions, and an optimized navigation menu.
Internal links should connect the reader with related content that provides additional value and furthers them along their buyer’s journey. While you shouldn’t add a link to every word you type, connecting pages to existing content will increase your SEO ranking and encourage consumers to stay on your site longer.
You can include call-to-action buttons to ensure they are taking the next steps you desire, whether that is contacting you directly or providing their information for a subscription. An enticing call-to-action can encourage readers to view specific pages, connect with sales, or even purchase products directly.
Finally, it’s important that your navigation menus are organized and allow users to explore without getting frustrated. Additionally, you can add a sticky navigation that always provides access to your library of pages. If your potential customers are unable to find what they are looking for, they will seek out a competitor that gives them exactly what they want.
Secure Your Site
If you’ve ever been greeted by “This Site is Not Secure” or “Your Connection Is Not Private,” you understand the desire to click away as quickly as possible. The good news is there is a simple solution for removing that message and ensuring your consumers feel comfortable using your site. Installing an SSL certificate will guarantee your users that their information is protected, and it can even improve search engine ranking.
There are additional measures you can take to safeguard private data. With any webpage, you need to adhere to local cookie policies and laws. If you are collecting form submissions, using a form validation, whether it’s a checkbox or choosing which images have a stoplight, can ensure your clients that their accounts will be protected. And finally if you are creating an ecommerce shop, encrypting and removing credit card information will deter hackers from trying to steal customer data after someone makes a purchase.
Understand Your Keywords and Content
Knowing what search terms are leading people to your site can reveal the keyword and content opportunities available to you. When creating blog posts or new pages, you will want to use and target the keywords that potential clients are searching for. Especially if you are an unknown brand, your best bet to get in front of users is utilizing proper SEO terms to improve search ranking and drive traffic. This doesn’t mean stuffing pages with keywords. It is important to incorporate key target words naturally within the text of your pages.
Your content should display your expertise and answer the questions your customers are asking.
Before you create content, you should utilize the data you have available. If you are creating from scratch, you can see what pages competitors are ranking for. If you are re-doing your own site, you can look at past data to see what search terms are driving people to your site. By understanding what questions they are asking and what they are searching for, you can curate content that directly answers them and improves your ranking on Google.
Beyond creating pages and posts that show your understanding of your industry, it’s also important to include explanatory alt titles and meta descriptions. Both of these elements can help Google crawl your pages as well as improve your site’s ADA compliance practices. By perfecting alt titles and meta descriptions, both web crawlers and users will get a better understanding of your business, which will improve user experience as well as increase your exposure through search engines.
Make Sure Your Site Is Visually-Appealing
Though it may seem obvious, designing for your targeted consumer is the best way to encourage your users to stay on your site longer. For example, if you are running a direct-to-consumer ecommerce shop, it doesn’t make sense to bury your products below introductory material. On the other hand, if you are designing to drive newsletter subscriptions, you will want to display your expertise and writing style.
Order of content is only one element that needs to be taken into consideration. The colors and images that you choose can also help retain readers. By choosing consistent colors and engaging images, you are increasing your chances of having more pages viewed within your site.
If your website is not captivating, you will lose potential customers who are drawn to sites that are more likely to catch their eye.
Your website is the bridge between your consumers and your offerings, and you’ll want to have it up as soon as possible. Still, you need to prepare before launching it. By refining the user experience, securing the site, and optimizing it for search engines, you are giving yourself the best chance to succeed.