#1 START WITH CONTENT
Everything ever built well started with a well crafted plan. Content for your website is like the glue and mortar that builds the site map and determines the structure. Starting with images and dummy content and building out a site is like building a roof before you’ve even laid the foundation. Starting with writing the content first eliminates many unknowns and confusion, while allowing for creative freedom when it’s time to design and build the actual site.
#2: MOBILE/TABLET FRIENDLY
Typically, a site’s breakdown of user traffic is split 50/50 between desktop and mobile. Tablet users account for 5–10% of that traffic. Not only will you deter users if your site is not formatted to work well on mobile devices but you’ll also be strongly penalized by Google. The solution? It isn’t necessarily responsive design. Sometimes, pages need to be reformatted specifically for mobile. It’s important to choose the right approach.
#3: COMPELLING CALL’S TO ACTION
Make visitors want to engage with your business through inviting calls to action by presenting them with interesting content that keeps them informed and attentive along the way. We will create a plan of hierarchy for CTA’s that fit with your web strategy, so your CTA’s will engage visitors in a way that feels exciting, but still true to your brand.
#4: ZERO BUGS
Bugs are the fastest way to deter users, and they can pop out of nowhere, even if you haven’t made any changes to your site. Browser and operating system updates, new phones, server upgrades, hackers—they can all trigger bugs. It’s important to have someone monitoring and fixing bugs as soon as they appear.
#5: EASY NAVIGATION
Users should always be able to find what they’re looking for—or have a way to get it. Nothing frustrates users more than not being able to find what they need, which is why proper navigation is so important to customer engagement and conversions [LINK: UI and UX design]. Give users easy access (and multiple ways to get there) to things like contact information, signup forms, key documents and impactful content.
#6: CROSS BROWSER COMPLIANCE
Most developers only test sites on a single browser, but there are several browsers that are widely used, including Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari and Microsoft Edge. In order to cover all users, your site needs to work on all of them, which requires periodic review to account for browser updates. What may have worked at launch may not work a few months out. (IE 6-9 are all over 11 years old at this point, they don’t count.)
#7: FAST LOAD TIMES
Great websites move at great speeds. People don’t have the patience to put in work to browse, so sites have to be fast in order to retain users. Studies show that every additional second it takes a site to load will cause a loss of roughly 4% of users. In other words, if your site takes 10 additional seconds to load, you’ll lose 40% of users.
#8: GOOD LOOKS
A site has to look great graphically on desktop and mobile devices. If it doesn’t look up to modern standards, people will discount it out of hand without even looking at the content. Enhance your site design (and engage users) with features like video, animations, pop-ups and sliders, but remember: Not only does your site have to look good but it also has to align with your brand.
#9: EFFECTIVE SEO
SEO is always evolving—and it’s a critical tool. SEO assists in moving your site higher up on natural search engines (e.g., Google and Bing). Proper SEO can increase traffic to your site while reducing marketing costs. However, SEO isn’t a one-shot deal. The way search engines score sites changes over time, and there are continually new rules to optimize by. Keeping keywords fresh, site maps up to date and flat links intact are just a few parts of the optimization puzzle.
#10: USE ANALYTICS TOOLS
The proper analytics and user analytics tools will help you stay on top of optimization. At a bare minimum, Google Analytics will monitWeor your site and identify problem areas. Take it a step further with tools like Hotjar, which allows you to watch users as they navigate your site. Programs like Moz and SEMrush will recommend modifications to make to improve your SEO positioning.
#11: A PLAN TO DRIVE TRAFFIC
One of the biggest mistakes is assuming that if you build it, they will come. Just because you create a great website doesn’t mean you’ll instantly have a stampede of visitors. It’s important to have a plan to get people there or else you’ll waste one of your greatest assets. The sooner this plan is in place, the better your site can be tailored to a promotion strategy, which should include a mix of paid ads , social campaigns, emails, videos and traditional marketing and advertising. We can help you leverage your site and create a strategy that will increase your ROI.