Thinking of DIYing your next site? Hiring out? Either way, you want these 5 tips for building a site that will actually work for your company, and not against it.
1: Know what you want your website to DO for you or your business.
All the fancy design tricks and savvy programming in the world won’t make your website successful if there isn’t a clear reason your site exists. This means you need to know what action you want your visitors to take. Do you want them to come into your store? Sign up to be on your email list? Buy tickets to your show?
Build your website around getting people do one primary thing, and you’re more likely to get something out of your web design investment.
2: Wait on taking photos until after you have your sitemap.
All too often, new businesses, non-profits, and artists want to jump right into the photography portion of their first web design, just to get the ball rolling. But this is a bad idea.
You really want your photos to tell a story that will guide visitors through your website to your Call to Action, or CTA (the thing you’re hoping they do before they leave your site). If you don’t know the structure of your site yet, the chances of your photos telling that story the right way will be, well, slim.
Also, if you take photos before you know what your site will look like, sometimes your images won’t be oriented the way you need them to be (as in, portrait, landscape, or square). You may have to schedule a second shoot to get the shots you missed because you didn’t know you needed them.
3: Don’t focus too much on your homepage.
Believe it or not, most visitors to your site won’t land on your homepage first. The ones that do won’t be there for long.
A homepage is sort-of like the cover of a book; it’s nice if it’s pretty and tempts people to keep reading, but what really matters is the story inside.
When designing your homepage, a good formula to use is this: Open with a telling image or slideshow. Under this or overlaid on top of it, include your company tagline. Then link to your best/most popular content below that (a maximum of three links is good). Keep people from having to scroll more than once if you can avoid it. Include your contact info in the footer.
Then put most of your energy into the pages where people can take action.
5: Give the people what they want.
It’s all too easy to focus on the things that are important to you as organizer, business owner, and creative, rather than on the things your audience cares about. Think about what it’s like to be in the consumer’s shoes and let this help guide what content you share—the angle from which you tell your personal journey, the pages you create, the questions you answer, how much detail you go into (people don’t like to read for long when looking at a screen—especially if they’re doing it from their phones!), whether or not your audience gets to come with you behind the scenes and how much so if they do.
Was this helpful? Leave your questions and comments below, or come participate in the conversation over on Instagram, @alexisthegreek!