Here’s our checklist of must-have attributes for business websites.
“Your customers shouldn’t have to work hard to use your website. You don’t want them to feel frustrated,” says Dynamic4 managing director, designer and business consultant Ben Pecotich, who believes an attractive web design is key to delivering a great customer experience.
To create a professional website that not only looks good but is easy-to-navigate you’ll need to consider a range of elements – from inspiring, accurate copy and attention-grabbing imagery through to mobile-optimisation and a secure and up-to-date content management system (CMS).
As the head of Sydney-based digital agency and strategy and design consultancy Dynamic4, Pecotich understands the importance of looking at every element of a site at every stage of the process – from coming up with a strategy to design and development.
And while a slick-looking site can drive online traffic your way, Pecotich is keen to remind SMEs of the following quote.
“As Steve Jobs famously said: ‘Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.’ There’s no separating this.”
We take a look at the key features you need to cover for a killer website, according to Pecotich:
Content management system
Decide on a good CMS that is secure and ensure that you and members of your team have control to make simple updates as and when necessary. Evaluate your requirements before choosing a CMS so you can dodge that overly expensive enterprise-level system, or mistakenly select a blogging tool that fails to meet your needs.
This should be simple and clear, smoothly guiding the visitor through your site to ensure people locate what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently. For example, if you have an eCommerce site, direct customers to the shopping cart in as few steps as possible and enable transactions to be carried out with just a few clicks to potentially increase your conversion rates.
Optimise for mobile, tablet and desktop experiences. The best approach to achieve this will depend on the context, and your goals and budget.
Search engine optimisation
There are basic web development standards that must be followed. Although SEO might seem confusing or technical, a steady effort can improve your online ranking and direct an increasing number of customers to your site or business blog.
Professional hosting and platform management
Keep your site online and running well. This should include hosting in a top-tier data centre, proactive monitoring and support, backups, security updates and code management. Have separate servers for development and live versions, so that unproven changes don’t compromise your current site.
Flexible scaling options
Allow for the ability to add advanced features easily – such as online shopping, bookings and payment systems – when you’re ready to grow your business.
Create original, quality content that people want to read and share. Remember that duplicated content can damage your ranking in search engine results.
Social media and email marketing integration
Make it easy for people to share your great content! Identify the networks most relevant to your company, and the platforms where your target audience interacts, and ensure you maintain a regularly updated presence.