Whether you’re a fledgling company or an established brand, you need to create a website that keeps your customers coming back. With hungry competitors looking to poach your site’s visitors, it’s essential that your website position your company as the go-to source for products, services, and information related to your market. A good website design requires a wide range of disciplines: graphic design, copywriting, programming, marketing, and more. But, even before hiring a web design company, there’s a lot of groundwork that you can do to ensure your site firmly establishes your company’s online presence.
Starting a new website can be intimidating. Trust us, we get it! With so many things to think about, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s easy to get lost in the details. It’s easy to delay development while considering the placement of every word, every image, and every element. But, by following a few simple recommendations, it’s even easier to keep yourself – and your project – on track.
1. Focus on the basics
Before building a site, the first thing you should do is secure a domain name. Your domain name is the address that visitors will type into their browser to reach your site. In most cases, you’ll want your company’s name to be reflected in your domain name. However, there are advantages to exploring other options. For example, if you’re a landscaper, you can gain some SEO benefits by choosing a domain like ‘KalamazooLandscaping.com’ or ‘KalamazooLandscaper.com’. No matter what, though, you’ll want to select a short, logical name that doesn’t contain numbers or hyphens.
After you’ve chosen a domain name, you’ll want to identify which level of web hosting you need. The type of hosting that you choose will largely depend on your company’s size. If you’re a small business, a startup, or a niche market, you can likely make due with standard or economy hosting. But, if you’re operating a massive online shop or serving millions of customers across the globe, you’ll likely enjoy the benefits of a premium hosting service.
2. Design a captivating website banner
When you create a website, you’re building a persistent advertising space for your company. As such, you want to make use of that space in the most efficient, most effective way possible. The first thing your site’s visitors see is the banner that welcomes them to your site. Often called a ‘hero image,’ this banner should quickly identify your company, provide a brief statement about who you are, and include an action item that drives visitors deeper into your site.
As your site’s hero image is the key to making positive first impressions, it’s important that the image you choose be visually appealing, representative of your company, and high resolution. Whether you’re focusing on a specific product, featuring a video of your team in action, or using a stock photo to convey your company’s culture, make sure that the image you choose speaks to your company’s core values and goals.
3. Engage visitors with your content
A website is, first and foremost, a way to deliver content. If you think about the last few times you used the Internet, what were you doing? Were you looking for answers to a question? Trying to locate a specific product? Catching up on the news? In all these cases, you were looking for content. A well-built, modern website will focus on making it easy for its visitors to locate the content that they need. From tags and categories to search bars and wikis, structuring your content in a logical way ensures that visitors will always be able to find what they need.
More importantly, though, you should focus on creating useful, authoritative content. If you offer complex services, your customers may have questions about them. These questions present an opportunity to create a website filled with engaging content. You can write blog articles that describe how to use your products and pages that detail the benefits of your services. This content helps to keep visitors on your site, which improves your site’s search engine optimization score and helps to move your site up in search rankings. Even better, informative content positions your company as a trusted expert, someone that customers can turn to.
4. Build a website with a purpose
Intuitive navigation can make a good website great. Before writing a single line of code, think about how your website should be structured. What’s the best way to present your services? Are there opportunities to cross-sell customers by showing them relevant products? If visitors only learn one thing about you from your site, what should they learn? Now is the time to ask these broad questions, as they’ll help you determine how to best present your site to the world.
With so many sites competing for attention online, your goal should be to direct visitors to the information they want as quickly as possible. Ideally, no page should be more than two clicks away. This step, more than any other, benefits from the assistance of an experienced web designer, as their experience can help to sort the information you need to present into manageable, organized chunks. And, ultimately, a well-designed website is, well, designed to be navigated without effort.
5. Make sure your site is frequently updated
After you create a website, the real work begins. You see, modern websites are continually growing and expanding. If you want to improve your site’s ranking on search engines, content additions are crucial. Beyond that, regular updates tell your visitors that your website – and, by extension, your company – is active and successful.
Let’s consider a real world example. Would you rather visit a movie theater with expired concessions, sticky carpet, and movies from twenty years ago? Or would you prefer a theater with fresh food, clean decor, and the latest blockbusters? Your website’s success hinges on its ability to position you as a professional company. If you’re not performing regular updates, your online presence is falling out of date and you risk looking amateurish. So, once your site is live, start planning blog posts, news articles, page additions, FAQ sections, and more. These additions, spaced out over time, will ensure that your site always appears fresh, active, and professional.
Need advice creating a website that works?
At Creative Marketing Group, we have decades of experience delivering top-quality website designs. Headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, we are the area’s go-to provider of engaging, conversion-focused websites. With a team of professionals trained in the various disciplines necessary to create effective sites, we provide everything you need: graphic design, copywriting, marketing, and programming. So, if you’re looking to create a website, don’t hesitate to contact us today.