You’ve probably heard the adage: ‘’A goal without a plan is just a wish.’’
So, if your goal is to wow people with your website, you’d do good to plot out a proper map for the journey because it doesn’t happen without some sweat, gritting of teeth and tears. We should know – we build a lot of wow websites, and we’ve also seen many of the woeful kind.
As with most things in life, it’s often the small pieces of seemingly unimportant detail that make up the sum of its bigger better parts. To get you started, we’ve compiled this (by no means exhaustive) list of the most important questions to answer en-route to ensuring your website’s healthy credibility (and wow) status:
1. What does it LOOK like?
First impressions last and you better believe that people will judge your website (and ultimately your product or service offering) by its design in as little as one-twentieth of a second.
1.2 Good visual design include elements like:
- Your Logo and Branding
- Font Choice (and consistency)
- The Use of White Space
- A Relevant Theme / Template
- Layout and Colours
- Imagery (not everyone has the budget to hire a professional photographer, but if you are going to use stock photography, make sure it isn’t, well stock standard)
We are not saying don’t advertise. We are saying keep it to the minimum, especially if it is not your main source of income. And PLEASE – stay away from pop-ups (unless your strategy is to annoy).
1.4 Navigation and usability:
Is it easy to find your way from one page to the next (or back from a current page to the previous page you were on)? Is finding what you are looking for on your website fairly easy, or do you need high-level PI skills and an old-school magnifying glass?
2. What is on DISPLAY?
2.1 Contact info:
There is nothing more frustrating than having to hunt for contact details on a website – and people WILL abandon your site if this is the case (read loss of potential income). ALWAYS make contact details visible (social media links, phone numbers, email address and physical location) and easily accessible (make sure to hyperlink important info like email addresses and social media pages and that your ‘contact us’ link is included in the footer of your website).
2.2 Other important info to put on display (to show that you are an authentic brand) include:
- Employee bios (shows credibility and that you value your employees)
- Photography (office and team pics shows your reader that they are dealing with real people at a real company – just make sure it looks professional and the quality is good)
- Prices and fee structures (shows transparency and puts you ahead of competitors who do not display this)
- A list of previous clients you worked with (if possible, mention the number of your clients or completed projects)
- Testimonials and reviews (but make sure they are real and can be proven as such)
- Case studies/your portfolio – this grown-up version of ‘show and tell’ is a great method to prove the benefits of your services
3. What does it SAY?
3.1 Use simple language:
If you are a doctor, use language that you would use when speaking with your patients, as opposed to jargon-filled language that you use around your fellow medical colleagues.
Allow us to illustrate:
At the shoulder, the humerus connects to the frame of the body via the glenoid fossa of the scapula.
At the shoulder, the upper arm connects the frame of the body via the socket of the shoulder bone.
3.2 Say what you mean and mean what you say:
- Include detailed and authentic product and brand information. Do not say you are the #1 provider if that position was not recently awarded to you.
- List sources and back up statements and claims with evidence (also link to external sites referencing your product/service).
- Follow the golden rule of copy: KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid). If you try to sound clever, you will probably achieve the exact opposite effect.
3.3 Spelling and grammar:
It’s not only unprofessional, but bad grammar and inaccurate spelling will also affect your credibility. Typos can and do happen in everyday posts, but seriously consider hiring a professional copywriter or proofreader for your website copy. See some additional tips and tools here.
4. Is it LEGALLY compliant?
Did you know that it is legally required (according to the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, Companies Act, PoPI Act and Consumer Protection Act) for the following information to be displayed on your website?
- Website terms of service: this deals with contractual engagement (e-Commerce/donation platforms, etc.) as well as delivery and returns policies and customer service
Non-compliance may result in penalties. You can read more about this topic here.
5. Does it have good CONTENT?
Useful content that adds value should be the foundation of your marketing plan. If your reader cannot answer the question ‘’what’s in it for me?’’ at the end of reading your content, you’ve probably not achieved what you wanted to.
Regular and fresh blogs/articles:
Are important because it shows activity on your page (Google favours this) and can establish you as a thought leader in your field. It also provides you with the ‘flesh’ you need to populate your social media pages.
6. Does it LINK well?
Building credibility shouldn’t only happen on your own website. If your articles get listed and referenced in other publications (both offline and online) or in guest blogs it will count major points towards your status as a trustworthy brand.
7. How does it PERFORM?
If you can get up and do flick flacks in the time it takes your homepage to load, you can be sure your potential clients will do the same. Here is a (free) tool to use to check on this.
“The best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google.”
It is quite important to factor in good Search Engine Optimisation for ranking well in Google SERPS (search engine results pages). Achieving this requires (amongst other things) good on-page and off-page SEO.
We know that it is a lot to take in and can be quite overwhelming. If you don’t balance all of these elements for building and maintaining a successful website just right, it can quickly become a path strewn with mass destruction.
Luckily none of the above is uncharted territory for Pathfind Media.
Contact us today if you would like assistance with or feedback concerning your current website.
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