5 Guiding Principles of an Exceptional Website
With all the do-it-yourself templates, “I know a guy” connections and easily accessible services out there like Upwork or Fiverr, your company’s first website was likely a high priority upon launch. Even if the budget was largely held up by a shoestring and the final product was a less than exceptional website.
Now the business has scaled up, the customer base has grown, and your organization is ready to take it to the next level. But, with increasing online sales, inquiries and integrations that command attention, perhaps you’re finding that a high-quality, custom website (or a great refresh) needs to top that priority list again to get you there.
What are the essential elements to be mindful of in your web project? We’ve outlined five non-negotiables to keep as guiding principles for anyone with “Great Website” on the list of 2020 to-do’s.
1. First Impressions & Stunning Designs
There’s good reason Myspace floundered into the social networking ether while Facebook thrived. Many of us remember feeling bombarded by music, pixelated versions of animals and other random things drifting down the page, complete with flashing neon backgrounds customized to each user’s individual profile. Myspace visitors knew neither what to expect, nor where to look.
Facebook breathed fresh, clean life into social networking with static profile design and a limited color palette. In essence, the first impression wasn’t overwhelming and made people want to stay to peruse and enjoy all that Facebook had to offer.
Whether you’re contemplating a refresh or starting from scratch, team up with a designer. Someone who is trained and has experience translating great ideas into beautiful design will make the project exponentially more effective. A stellar designer will set you on your way to achieving Facebook status rather than becoming a Myspace fizzle.
2. Substance & Credibility
Photos and design will grab eyes and interest, but the right words will turn a skeptic into a loyal brand fan. Note, this does not mean you need a lot of words. Often the most effective and successful copywriters urge fewer, more thoughtful words, as specificity of language triggers an inherent awareness that those few words are precious.
This isn’t some modern marketing voodoo; the “if I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter” quote is famously attributed to Blaise Pascal, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Henry David Thoreau, and John Locke (to name a few) and the sentiment still rings true.
Wherever it started and whoever adapted it along the way, the point is this: more words doesn’t equal more quality. Clear, concise, actionable content creates the greatest credibility of all.
3. Trust & Brand Consistency
Your website is not only ground zero for your business it’s also the foundation of your external brand identity. Brand identity is essentially trust. It’s all about walking the walk here; ensuring your brand shows up as the same brand over and over, the brand that’s on your website is the brand on your social media and answering customer service calls and messages, and so on.
Brand consistency throughout each of these contact points creates trust (and loyalty) and they are all unified through, you guessed it, your website.
4. Mobile-Friendly & UX-Driven
Smartphones are tiny computers that we carry in our pockets and handbags at all times. Many businesses are seeing a stark increase in the number of customers who interact almost exclusively with their website on a mobile device. Thus, championing a great cross-platform user experience is a must.
Translation: make double sure that when someone is looking at the mobile version of your website, it looks as great as the desktop version.
5. Online Reviews & SEO
Window shopping isn’t like it used to be; strolling up one street then down another, gazing in windows, maybe wandering through some racks and taking another lap around the mall while you mull over your potential purchase.
Today, our thumbs get all the exercise. For many online shoppers, even passively considering the purchase of something as trivial as a $2 kitchen gadget means first reading what a handful of internet strangers have to say about it.
Ranking well in SEO is a highly nuanced and often guarded topic. However, with a Google My Business account and a few rave reviews, you’ll be well on your way to organic traffic dreams and sitting pretty on the first page.