There’s a well-known saying that rings true for everyone, but marketers in particular: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
It’s a sentiment that also applies to your website. If a prospective customer visits your site and finds it confusing, misleading, unhelpful, or visually unattractive, there’s a good chance they won’t come back for a second look.
In this post, we discuss five traits of a successful business website—one that not only looks good, but offers a great user experience, serves up value, and positions your brand in a positive light.
Successful Business Websites Are…
1. Professionally Designed
Consider the impression you want to make when a customer visits your home page. Is it visually appealing, with rich images, a consistent look and feel, and a clear brand voice? Is it obvious what your business is about and what a visitor can expect to find deeper in your site? Design your website with your user experience in mind.
Considering your user experience includes thinking about the end game. Do you want them to learn absolutely everything about your business and every individual solution? Or is it more important to leave them with a feeling that you understand their needs, speak their language, and come across as a great business that’s easy to work with?
Function is more important than polish, but looks are important, too. Ever come across a website that seems like it hasn’t been updated since 2003? To ensure that your website has a modern feel and doesn’t look cluttered (which can make it difficult to navigate), it’s important to find a balance of content and whitespace.
Resist the temptation to fill every space on your website with a slogan, ad, or logo. All copy—headlines, page content, photo captions, menu items—should be professionally written. Grammatical or spelling mistakes can cause a visitor to shake their head and click off your website. In addition, it’s vital that text content is succinct and unambiguous. No one wants to read a novel on a website, and you should never leave your visitors wondering what they just read.
Having an optimized website can be the difference between being found by customers searching for solutions you provide, and losing them to competitors. If you built your website with SEO best practices in mind, know that Google is constantly making changes to ensure that users are given the most relevant results—so what worked before might not be working today. Approach SEO not as a set-and-forget endeavor, but something to keep tabs on consistently.
Part of optimizing your website is building an effective keyword strategy to drive traffic to your website and boost your search rankings among your target audience. Incorporate strategic keywords throughout your site—from on-page content to image tags and more. Track how your keywords are performing and make adjustments if necessary.
For more on getting started with SEO, check out our previous blog post here.
You have only seconds to capture a visitor’s attention when they land on your website. How fast does your content load? A slow load time is a major reason customers abandon websites, which is why load time is also a ranking factor for Google.
In addition to fast, your site should also be well organized and easy to navigate. No one is going to read every word of your website, so it should be scannable and simple for users to quickly identify what they’re looking for. It’s also important to monitor your website to ensure that your content is up to date—no broken links, outdated content, or wrong information.
Optimizing your website for mobile is really a continuation of the convenience factor. Today, people just expect to be able to use their mobile devices for any search, just as they would a desktop or laptop. In fact, a recent report argues that U.S. mobile search is roughly 58 percent of overall search query volume.
It’s important to consider how the needs of the user change when using a mobile device. It’s not enough for your website to load on any screen—your content should be responsive. In other words, all content should adjust to any screen seamlessly, without the user needing to scroll side to side.
5. Engaging and Built for Conversion
Gone are the days of websites as digital brochures. Visitors expect to find information about your business, but they also expect helpful resources, rich images, videos, and downloadable content. Does your website sell your products, or does it tell your brand story?
Your website needs to do more than keep visitors engaged for one visit. It should be designed for conversion, including clear call-to-action (CTA) buttons and mechanisms to collect information (e.g. forms on content or offers). With these elements, you’re able to capture lead intelligence so you can serve up even more helpful, relevant content and offers in the future, further showing your expertise and nurturing an authentic relationship.
Simply having a website for your business is no longer enough. It should look good, be easy to use, and help bring in customers. Follow SEO best practices to make sure you get found online, and know that a clean design and engaging, convenient user experience are essential to make a positive impression. And by building in conversion opportunities, your website can be an even more powerful tool for business.