Regardless of the type of business, a website is an invaluable asset. It is often the first point of contact that potential customers have. It is how that potential customer determines whether or not a business, product or service can meet their needs, answer their questions or solve their problems.
Effective websites should provide information about the business, and should be informative and engaging. When a visitor lands on a site, he or she should get an immediate feel for what the business has to offer, and should feel compelled to stay on the site because it provides value.
What Are The Elements Of Effective Websites?
There are numerous elements that make a successful site, some more obvious than others. The following is a basic list of qualities that a business site should have:
Ease Of Navigation
A good-looking site with catchy graphics is great, but how easy is it to navigate? Visitors to a site should be able to find what they are looking for quickly and easily, without having to hit the back button every couple of minutes. Pertinent information should be clear and easy to find. To find out if a site has this quality, it is important to view the site as though it is your first time visiting it, or hire someone to evaluate the site for you.
Accurate, Up-To-Date Contact Information
It is surprising how many sites fail to do this. There should be contact information on every page of a site. It should be easy to find and current.
A Solid, Compelling Call-To-Action
A good call-to-action (CTA) makes site visitors want to take action. That action may include signing up to an email list, downloading content or clicking a link to get more information. Different types of CTA work better for some pages than others. This is an area where split-testing can be helpful. Test out a couple of CTA's to find out which one works best.
Fast Loading Time
A flashy page may capture attention, but that attention is quickly lost if the page takes too long to load. Effective websites don't lose visitors because of slow site speed. There are numerous ways to speed loading times. There are tools that can help determine if a page has a good loading time. If it doesn't, some work on the site needs to be done.
Informative Content Using A Variety Of Media
The saying "content is king" has become popular for a reason. Websites that provide a steady flow of good content get more visitors, capture more leads and generate more sales. The best sites incorporate a variety of content on their site. Good graphic images, video, slideshows, infographics and articles appeal to a wide audience and add value to a site.
Social Media Integration
Effective websites harness the power of social media to help boost traffic and engagement. There are a number of ways to do this, but one must is social sharing buttons. This makes it easy for visitors to share content with their networks.
Businesses should constantly monitor the progress of their site, and should periodically "clean house" to ensure that the site is staying current, relevant and that there are no problems. The marketing world changes rapidly, and that means that websites should be consistently evolving as well.
Following these guidelines will help businesses get the most out of their site, and ultimately increase leads and sales, as well as brand trust and recognition. It takes some work, but the return on investment makes it worthwhile.
Looking for more inspiration, download our free guide, The Ultimate Guide to a Killer Website.