About to start building your professional website? Congrats!
Building out your site is a big and important step in your business and you want to do it right.
With about 71% of small businesses having a website, you can’t afford to be out of the loop any longer.
Developing a beautiful, easy to use and practical website for your users will not only help grow your brand awareness, but it will help grow your business and increase revenue.
Keep reading for everything you need to know to get started!
Decide on a Brand Strategy
Before you start building your website, the first step is to figure out who you are as a company and what you want to convey to the people who will be visiting your site.
Regardless of what field or profession you’re in, the purpose of a website is to brand yourself, engage with customers or clients and make it simple for them to find you and hire your business.
With that being said, you need to determine the best approach to achieving those goals.
There are a few questions you need to ask and answer for yourself and your company before you begin.
Who Is Your Audience?
Who is interested in your brand, buys your products or uses your service? \
You should generally determine their age range, gender, geographic location, and socioeconomic standing.
Ask yourself who these people are, what they do and how your company fulfills a need they have in the marketplace.
What about Your Competitors?
Who is your biggest competition and what does their website look like?
How are they branding themselves to gain the viewership of clients and customers?
What Are Your Theme Words?
Decide on keywords that describe your company, what you do and what you stand for.
These could appear on your website or just be for your own personal knowledge going forward as you build it out.
These words can be a home base to come back to at any point in the process. As you construct your site, ask yourself; is what we’re doing in keeping with the words we’ve used to identify our brand?
They should align and remain consistent throughout your site.
Select the Right Template
Once you’ve figured out the best way to brand your business and your site, you can move on to the actual construction of the pages.
You need to determine what kind of a template you’d like to use.
The best way to approach this is to do your research. Visit as many other websites as possible. Try to frequent sites that are in the same industry as you.
What does their template look like? How does their site appear and what do you like or dislike about it?
Cherry pick the things you like from various sites to make a list of what you want from your template. This will help guide you to the right one and assist in communicating the correct direction of your web design to anyone helping you build it.
A template you select should be a standard for your industry and one that visitors would expect to see when coming to your site.
The point is to find the right balance of design and originality while still keeping things easy to use and simple for those trying to navigate it. This is not the time to reinvent the wheel.
Since your homepage is the first impression users will have of your site, you want to make sure you nail it.
Don’t overcomplicate the design components of your homepage.
You want to be clear about who you are and what you do. If there’s any confusion about that upon landing on your homepage, you’re going to be in trouble and the purpose of your site is lost right away.
The key to a successful homepage is keeping it clutter-free. This means only having essential, need-to-know information about your company available on it.
The text should be clear, easy to read and simply have your company name and a clarifying word, phrase or photo about what you do.
When it comes to pictures, try to keep it simple as well. The best thing to do is to select one image that best captures the essence and mission of your company and display it front and center.
If you sell a product, display a photo of your product. If one photo isn’t going to cut it for your homepage, you can select a few and have them scroll across the screen when people land on your page.
You do want to avoid having a huge collage of pictures that overwhelm users.
You should also have contact information visible on your homepage so people can get in touch, easily.
Make Content Easy-to-read
Not only is this essential for your homepage, but it’s important to make content easy to read throughout your entire site.
There are a couple of ways to achieve this.
First, consider font, font color, and background. Don’t pick a font that is intricate and hard to read. You also want to avoid selecting font colors or backgrounds that don’t have enough contrast.
If they blend in or the writing is too light, users won’t be able to read it.
Aside from font, size, and color, you want to make your content scannable and easy on the eye as people scroll through.
They want to be able to locate the information they need, quickly, without having to read through chunky paragraphs. If you’re writing something lengthy, allow for a break every 3 sentences. Bigger paragraphs can seem daunting.
You can still have thorough content that offers the same quantity of information to your user, they’ll just be more likely to read it if you make it scannable.
Make It Professional
There are several touches you can give your website that will up the ante and make your site more sophisticated.
You don’t want your site to appear as though you built it using a standard template in the basement of your home. You want people to know you’re a professional company and the best at what you do.
Your site needs to reflect that. An unprofessional or low-quality site will only make users believe your company or business operate in the same fashion.
Here are a few ways to do this.
If your company requires people to book an appointment or schedule time with you, build a place on your site for them to electronically do so. If you sell a product, make it available for purchase and shipping on your site.
Streamlining the process will make users more likely to return to your site and take your business seriously.
Be Mobile Friendly
A fully functioning mobile site is no longer an option since nearly 60% of web searches are now done on a cell phone.
This means, not only do you need to have a mobile site, but it has to work just as well if not better than your website. Pay close attention to this as you build your site and consider it as important.
You should be able to navigate easily on the mobile site. The entire page should be displayed at once. Avoid cutting off corners or the need to scroll to view the whole thing.
Build out an easy to use menu and make your links clear. Be sure to include your contact information and the ability to purchase items or schedule appointments through the mobile site.
Many companies now create apps that users can download to easily access their site on a mobile phone. You can even offer incentives for those who download and use your app. For example, a restaurant can offer a discount or rewards options for users who shop through the app.
This is just another way to increase business and viewership through your online presence.
Keep People Engaged
What good is a professional website if people aren’t going to stay on the page, learn about your business and purchase something from your company?
The hard part is keeping people engaged.
Attention spans are at an all-time low so you need to catch the eye of your user right away and figure out how you can hold their attention long enough to learn about your brand.
A good way to approach this is to think about what value you bring to your audience.
Since you’ve already determined who your target customer is, now it’s time to get into their brain and figure out what kind of content will keep them on your page and have them returning for more.
One of the best ways to do this is to blog. If you can offer valuable, interesting content to users they’ll keep returning to your site for important information and this results in brand awareness and conversions.
You don’t have to write blogs exclusively about your company or product. In fact, you should steer away from this because it will become redundant.
Write about new innovations or news in your industry, helpful tips and advice regarding things in your field or offer guest columnists or Q&A’s with experts.
Build Your Professional Website Today
With the helpful guide above, you’re well on your way to building your professional website.
Keep your template simple, get into the brain of your customers and try to view your site as a user as you build it.
Check out our blog for more helpful tips and contact us with any template and design questions.