Six Tips To Designing An Effective Website
Building an effective website in 2022 is much easier than it was just ten years ago. You don’t necessarily need to hire multiple contractors to launch a successful website, and you certainly don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars either. Thanks to improved technology and the many all-in-one web solutions that now exist, you can launch a website 100% on your own, in-house, for a relatively low cost.
As with any endeavor, you will need to have baseline knowledge and willingness to dedicate your own time and resources to achieve the desired outcome. RMI’s had a hand in many web projects before and has learned a thing or two about preparing for a successful web launch.
When it comes to designing a website for your business, there are some key factors to keep in mind when planning a successful development and design strategy.
1. Clearly identify the purpose of your website.
Outline your main goals for a website, who your target audience is, and clear objectives for how your site will provide solutions to achieving those goals.
Maybe you own a small working ranch and offer on-site activities and overnight lodging to travelers and you’re interested in increasing bookings throughout the year (goal). You’ve been able to identify that most people who book with you tend to be out of state couples and families (target audience). Now, you want to make it easier for people to: find you online, learn more about you, answer frequently asked questions, get updates on booking discounts and deals, and make it easier to book a stay online (objectives).
2. Select the right management tools.
Now it’s time to select a domain name, web host and content management system. There are many solutions out there when it comes to purchasing and managing the ‘behind-the-scenes’ aspects of your website, but it’s important to make sure these solutions fit your needs and are scalable for future growth.
Select a domain name provider that makes it easy to manage your own domain and then choose a domain name that is short, simple and easily identifiable with your brand name.
Some domain name providers also offer web hosting and CMS platforms (example: GoDaddy); these can be great all-in-one solutions, but make sure these systems offer add-on packages and opportunity for expansion, for example, if you need more storage space.
3. Source, create or invest in the right content.
Conduct an audit of all the content you already have (branding, images, videos, copy, etc.) and keep what aligns with your target audience, web goals and objectives. You’ll want to identify any gaps in the content, and outline what you still need. Keep in mind, the content should engage your target audience! From there, focus on a design style that aligns with your brand (theme, fonts, color scheme, etc.).
Maybe you already have a brand logo and color scheme you want to keep, but need to write all new copy for your website. You may also want to invest in a photographer to capture professional photos at the ranch that represent more of your target audience (couples and families). And you know you want your site to look modern, clean and relaxing, so you decide on a cool color palette and thin font variations to complement your existing branding and new photos.
4. Incorporate site functionality.
It’s great to have a place where people can find information, but it’s lost in the wind if the information is hard to find or access. Today, most web visitors are accessing websites on their mobile devices, so it’s imperative to ensure your site is responsive to the various devices being used (desktop, tablet and mobile) and that layout is easy to navigate across all devices.
Users tend to rely on search engines such as Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo to input keywords to find what they are looking for (example: “ranch stay near me”). To make sure your business is top of mind and showing up on the first page of a search made by your target audience, it’s important to spend time optimizing your website for search engines (SEO).
5. Include third-party integration.
You may already have third-party platforms you’re using for your business and it may make sense to integrate these into your new website. Common platforms that should be considered for inclusion on your website are your social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), email marketing services (MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.) and analytics tracking (Google Analytics). Integrating these into your website ensures you’re making the most of your online presence through cross-promotion of your brand. This helps increase consumer awareness and conversions (bookings!) even further.
6. Establish a site security and maintenance plan.
Setting internal protocols for site security may include regularly updating your password, limiting administrative site access, conducting frequent site backups, and selecting a web hosting provider that offers 24/7 support. You’ll also want to protect your website from cyberattacks and assure webpage visitors that their connection is secure.
Don’t forget to make a plan for refreshing and updating information found on your website. Not only will this help ensure your website remains relevant and engaging to your target audience, but your website’s performance will continue to improve if the information is kept up to date and accurate.
Let’s get started!
Web design can get complicated, and you may not know where to start on your own. If you want help getting a website started for your business, send us a quick message! RMI can assist you in developing a solid plan that meets your overall goals, while also creating a beautiful, impactful and effective site.