The sole purpose of your website is to move your business forward. So it makes sense that your website design should match your marketing message. Follow these steps to make sure that your site is benefitting your business.
Audit Your Website
Take inventory of your website to assess where your site needs improvements. Evaluate both the content and technical aspects of your website.
Create an audit checklist that will help you assess the quality of your marketing content, search engine optimization, usability, lead generations and conversions, optimized URLs, public and XML site maps – to name a few technical components that often require updates. There are many tools such as Google’s Webmaster Tools or Xenu’s Link Sleuth to assist you.
Convey your Marketing Message
Your website must reflect your marketing message. Make sure users can reach your objective on your home page or at most, within one click on your navigation menu.
You may be selling a product, soliciting a donation, selling a membership or encouraging a visit to your brick and mortar store. Direct users to desired products, information and special offers. Users should be able to quickly access a contact-us form, coupon or downloadable brochures.
Clean up your Design
Adhere to a simple and clear design. Color combinations of a light background with dark text make your site content easy to read. The layout must be user friendly, with content organized in a manner that encourages users to view your pages – and learn more about your business. Ultimately, every page should be connected to your call to action or sales page.
Incorporate brand consistency on your website. Colors you use in your offline promotional materials should be featured prominently on your website pages. Make sure all pages have uniform margins and templates and ensure all links are functional.
Review Your Navigation
Visitors need to navigate your website quickly and effectively. The most common navigation styles are horizontal and vertical. Some websites use both. Menu and tab styles each have their appeal and drawback, depending on the depth of the information on your website.
Brainstorm your website’s information architecture. Revisit the features your website offers and reorganize what is most important, reshuffling your information hierarchy if necessary.
Keep your menus simple and steer clear of any industry jargon. The information architecture should take into account features, user needs, sitemap, testing and wireframes. Use the same navigation model in all your pages to prevent users from getting lost or thinking they’ve linked to another website.
If you have an e-commerce site, use SSL logos and credit card trust logos. If you are advocating a cause, use professional association, membership or accreditation logos.
Building trust also means allowing your customers to know you. Include an “About Us” page and tell your story, keeping it focused on your business and marketing message. Provide contact information such as a telephone number, email address and mailing address. Include customer testimonials, social media links and a blog. If you have a blog, keep it updated or nix it.
Aligning your marketing message with your Web design is an ongoing process. Update your website frequently, giving visitors a reason to return. You’re website should be dynamic and ever-changing, just like your business.