In most cases, you can’t have a successful business without a successful website. Even the small local brick-and-mortar businesses that previously depended only on walk-ins are now becoming Internet savvy and chasing the coveted local-searching customers.
So a website is a necessity. But if you want your business to be successful, it will need a good website. And building one from scratch can be very hard unless you know how to incorporate all the elements a website needs to be successful.
Get Your Bearings
Every great website begins with a careful definition of goals and audience. These are the most important things you will need to know before you start building the website.
You must know what you want from your website. There’s no rule that says you can’t build a website just for the sake of building it, but business websites usually have to perform a certain function. You can use it as a hub for your online marketing. You can use it as an online store. You can use it as an online proof of existence. Each of these choices will require different visuals, functionalities, and structural organizations on your website. So make a list of the primary goals, and then write down whatever else you’d like your website to be able to do.
Even though you’re building a website for your business, you’re really building it because you want other people to see it. If you want the website to appeal to those people and give them what they need, you should determine who those people are. Know your audience, and know what you need to offer them.
Create a Home Page
It doesn’t take much time for people to figure out whether they like your website or not. Usually, all of that is done within 10 seconds. You need to make sure that your website as a whole, and specifically your home page, is digestible in such a small amount of time.
Your home page is your elevator pitch. It needs to quickly tell the visitors where they are, what they can get, how to move around the website, and what you want them to do. All of that in 10 seconds might sound like a lot, but in reality, good web design practices will make all the important information pop out so that it can be consumed quickly.
This advice can also be useful when you’re creating landing pages. One of the most important elements of a home page or a landing page is the call-to-action, the thing you use to tell the visitors what you want them to do. It has to be visible, and it has to be as clear as possible. If you want them to buy something now, use “buy now” as copy for the call-to-action.
Take Care of Design and the Back-End
There are two aspects of your website. There’s the front end, and there’s the backend. If you want a successful website, you’ll need both of them to be good.
The front end is everything your website visitors will see and interact with on the website. From visual elements to the menus, the front end is what makes your website appealing and functional.
The backend is the server, an application, and a database. If you want your website to be accessible and running smoothly, you’ll need to make sure the backend is well thought-out. In some cases, you can work on the front and the back end simultaneously. WordPress is a framework that lets you do both, for example.
Populate Your Website with High-Quality Content
Content is your number one tool for driving user engagement, and it’s invaluable for increasing conversion rates and making sure your website gets enough organic results. But content can do all of that only if it’s high-quality content.
The fact of the matter is that every sentence you have on your website can be optimized to achieve maximum effectiveness, whether it’s the standard type of content — articles and blog posts, or specialized types of content, such as the “about us” page and product descriptions. It’s important to remember that content itself can be used for different goals, and it should be created with those goals in mind. Different types of content are better for increasing traffic, reach, and conversion rates. The “about us” page is great for humanizing your business, but it can also be very helpful for local search optimization. Product descriptions are great for SEO and also work as a sales pitch.
Finally, the most important thing for a successful website is testing, monitoring, and improvement. Every new update or feature you plan to launch on your website should be tested before it goes live. It should be then monitored once it goes live, and improved when you gather enough data. Building a successful business website can be a hit-and-miss process, but if you embrace testing, monitoring, and improvement, you’ll be more likely to hit than miss.