As you’re lining up the most important assets you need to have prepped for a website launch, try not to forget that all of them revolve around the website. The social media profiles you’ve aimed at the audience, the content you prepared for the launch, the ads you’ve taken out on social media and in search engines, all the hype you’ve built — it all needs to lead somewhere. Ideally, it should lead to a very good website.
What makes a website good is a tough question that can have many different answers. A better question might be what makes a website worth visiting. After all, these activities and assets are designed to bring people to the website, and they can only be as good as the pay-off.
Always Give People What You Promised
The very first step in making a website people will want to visit and stay for a while is taking account of the things you said to get them to your website. Landing pages, social media posts, and ads contain statements that should nudge people towards visiting your website.
If people get to your website only to find that it fails to deliver on what it promises, they won’t stick around, and they won’t come back. It might seem that getting repeat visits shouldn’t be the focus of pre-launch strategizing, but that’s not true. You should try to convert every single visitor from that first wave.
Plus, making sure that the website and the business deliver on the promises is an extremely beneficial business practice. You want to build trust with your customers. Being consistent and dependable are the two traits you should serve as your guiding stars.
Build the Website with People in Mind
Websites and the copy and content they host get scanned by search engines. There are certain techniques that let designers make websites more appealing to search engines, which is one of the things search engine marketing is all about. But no matter how important search engines might be — and they are very important for the performance of your website — you should always remember that you have a human audience you need to cater to.
What are the things you need to pay attention to? The usual culprits for high bounce rates. Slow loading times, because people don’t like to wait while websites load. Unnecessary and intrusive offers and ads, because they will cause people to leave and never come back. Content that doesn’t match what they expected, because — again — people expect websites to deliver their promises.
It doesn’t end there. A website should give its users a good experience, or at the very least, an experience that’s tolerable considering the purpose of the website. So if you make people jump through some hurdles, at least make sure it’s worth it. Arguably the most important things are to make your website easily navigable and viewable on mobile devices.
The worst thing you can do when building an attractive and useful website is thinking that you’ve done it. If at any point you start believing that your website is finished and finalized, think again. Websites are in a state of constant flux — at least the good ones are.
Businesses spend plenty of resources on monitoring their website performance. It’s a necessary step in analyzing the result of everything you’ve invested into the website so far. But it’s also a requirement if you want to understand what your website needs to be tomorrow, and how it needs to change.
Tracking and analysis will only get you so far. To make sure that the changes you make are the ones that will have the most meaningful impact, you need to adopt strict testing policies. Nothing goes live before it goes a couple rounds of A/B testing at least, if not specific testing.
Finally, remember that your audience is your biggest ally in making a website that’s good for them. Through their actions and their words, they will let you know what’s the best direction for your website. You only need to listen and take the information they provide you seriously.