Building a website for your business, but finding yourself stuck? It’s no simple task. In a world full of websites, (over 1.8 billion), creating a unique and usable website with relevant content can be daunting to even the most tech-savvy. When generating or re-doing a website, there are a variety of elements to consider ranging from user experience to information hierarchy. If this sounds like a bunch of gibberish, you’re not alone.
How many websites do you visit daily? I can’t keep track on two hands. Nielsen reports that American adults spend over 11 hours a day interacting with media, and a quarter of U.S. adults report being online constantly, but we seldom give thought to the logistics behind the screen. How do websites actually work? When it comes to generating a website for your business, do you know the necessary steps to take? Can you tell an effective site from an ineffective one? Our team has 20+ years of experience designing websites, and we’re here to explain what it takes to build an effective website for your business. We’ll also provide you with examples, so you can see the difference between effective and ineffective web pages for yourself.
1. How are websites created?
As for the actual process of creating websites, this can differ based on who is building the website, their experiences and preferences, the size and complexity of the website, and your budget. Most website development processes can be distilled into three phases: design, development, and deployment.
2. How long does it take to create a website?
This is a pretty common question. Most clients want to know how long the project will take before the project begins. The challenge is that developers often have little information about the project before they are asked this question. Some developers will provide a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess). This isn’t entirely worthless, because the developer is likely an expert and is basing the estimate on their past experience. However, we do not recommend relying on SWAGs and suggest asking for a second estimate after the design process has been completed.
3. What type of content does my website need?
As every organization is different, so too is every website. Your website content depends on your business and your target audience, however, there are a few pages that every website needs such as a home/landing page, an about page, a contact page, and a product/service page.
Besides the type of pages on your website you need, it is important to have clear calls to action throughout your website. Understanding why a visitor has come to a particular page should help you decide on what kind of calls to action will be most successful.
These are just some basic content considerations. There are hundreds of potential content features to be utilized, from blogs to event calendars, to photo galleries. The more information you give about your business and services, the better. However, the material must be appropriate for your audience and organized deliberately to ensure understanding and accessibility.
4. Why does a website’s structure matter?
Designing a user-friendly website structure is perhaps the most important part of website development. This will positively or negatively affect the overall user experience. Internet surfers typically seek a specific answer or product and may get frustrated if they can’t find what they’re looking for quickly. In fact, users will leave your web page within 10 seconds, unless you clearly communicate your value proposition. This is why it is imperative to optimize the user’s experience by making the content or action they are seeking clear and easy to find. A good user experience means that the customer will stay on your site, and possibly return in the future.
5. What is responsive website design?
Responsive website design changes website appearance based on the device being used to view it. According to Statista, more than 50% of all global web traffic comes from cell phones. Since cell phones are sized differently than desktops and tablets, websites must accommodate varying screen dimensions. Responsive website design does this by shuffling elements around. If done incorrectly, this could negatively affect the user experience from one device to the next. Your site must be programmed to respond to each device so that the user experience stays consistent and straightforward across all mediums.
6. How will my website stand out?
Your site will stand out if it’s easy-to-use, eye-catching, and true to your brand. Forbes recommends to “avoid the natural inclination to make your website about you.” Instead, make it about the consumer/client. Knowing your target audience and how to appeal to them is key in designing a stand-out site. What are your visitors looking for, how can you help them, and what type of content do they enjoy most? Provide users with exactly what they want, and surprise them with material that they don’t even know they want.
7. Should my website be updated?
Technology advances rapidly, so staying aware of the newest updates and trends is necessary to keep your website relevant. Changes in industry and consumer behavior also come into play. By analyzing user patterns and data, it becomes apparent when changes should be made. Our agency re-evaluates & tweaks clients’ sites on a regular basis. We also recommend major updates/site makeovers every two or three years at least.
8. How can I tell if my website is effective?
Regular website maintenance is essential. Developers and marketers must work together to consistently evaluate visitors’ interaction with the site. Are users following through with the call to action? This is known as conversion optimization, and it is the primary way to tell if your website is efficient. For the best outcome, work with a full-service digital marketing agency, so you can discuss goals and implement marketing strategies from the start. This way, the website developer will work directly with the marketers who define objectives and tactics for the site.
Your website is a vital communication tool that must convey your brand’s message effectively. If built, monitored, and maintained well, potential consumers will be more likely to engage with your brand. Check out these examples of website makeovers to see what Absolute can do for you.
A before and after image of Anthony & Partners’ website A before and after image of Taco Bus’ website