11 Things You Need for a Cool Website Design
Websites are essential for all types of businesses and industries, B2B included. We can tell you a hundred reasons why, but the main reason for a website is to connect with your customers. It is very important for inbound marketing and as crucial as owning a mobile phone or even a smartphone. Having a good website design is similar to having a friendly online face for your business.
We made this checklist to help you do a quick check-up on your website if it looks and performs well. The items listed are in the order of what you need first and the steps to get it done.
- Buy a Domain Name
Before you can even build a website, you need to buy a domain name. The domain name has to be similar to your brand name for easier recognition. There are many domain registrars online, such as GoDaddy and Yeah Host with some affordable options. You can opt for either a .com domain or a .com.my, .my, .net and so on. The easiest for your audience to remember would be .com, .my or .com.my (or if you’re in Singapore, then .com.sg or just .sg) to look professional. If you’re a non-profit, .org would be your best bet.But hang on. Can’t you just use a free blog site? You can publish your company information and product photos on the blog without paying a cent.
Some solopreneurs and startups do use free blog sites. It’s a great place to start if you’re starting from scratch and learning on your own. But to be perceived as a professional business, and for a great start to building your brand, investing in your domain name is the first step. Which sounds better; yourbrand.wordpress.com or yourbrand.com?
- Sign Up for a Website Platform
To create a website, you need someone to make the space for you to create and design it, acting as the host. Some popular website host and content management system (CMS) include WordPress, Weebly and other web hosting platforms. Sites like Weebly even act as a registrar where you can get a domain name so it’s all in one convenient package.Choose the platform best suited to your nature of the business. Different hosts have different specialties, usage, pricing and customer support. For example, WordPress is very flexible and is supported by thousands of plugins. Weebly and Shopify are great for e-commerce brands who need an online store.
Once you’ve signed up, you can use their templates and services to start designing your own website. Platforms make it easy because you don’t need to learn to code to create a basic website.
It is no longer an option for your website to be mobile-friendly. It is now a must that your website can be accessed through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. A research by Google in 2012 reveals that 94% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone and 90% take action as a result, such as making a purchase or contacting the business. Without a mobile site for your business, you would be losing these opportunities to your competitors.At home, 85% of Malaysians now own at least one smartphone. From this population, 76% of them actively access websites from mobile phones, according to a recent survey by Hootsuite and We Are Social. As they can surf the web through thousands of apps and browsers, it only makes sense that websites have to be accessible and compatible with mobile platforms.
Make sure your website is mobile responsive so that it displays well. Mobile responsiveness resizes your webpage optimally so that readers can comfortably navigate and read your web page with ease regardless of the size of their mobile devices, which can vary greatly. A professional web designer can set the website so that it adapts to the user’s browser and ensure the pictures, fonts and buttons are aligned and legible.
- Make the Templates Work for You
One website platform can house many templates and designs you can choose from for your business whether it’s an e-commerce, food and beverages, manufacturing or services. You can choose colours and fonts best fitted to your design and branding.
Here’s an example of a website design for restaurants. Restaurants and catering services would usually have a menu attached, address, review links, promotions if any and most importantly, pictures of the food and ambience that reflect the brand.
This is an example of a website design for a B2B manufacturing business. This type of business can appeal to visitors with a clean professional look, a list of products and services with adequate descriptions, value propositions, and project references, aside from other basic information like contact details.
Here’s an example of a website design for an e-commerce or an online store. Payment channels are a must, and so are enticing promotions, shipping options and a sufficient customer support channel.
- High-quality feature images
We are very visual creatures and react better to content with pictures. Low-resolution or badly-cropped pictures are a huge turn-off for your web visitors. There are options for stock photos online which you can subscribe at a price or you can shoot them yourself.
On an Asos webpage, they use a variety of models to showcase their product range and diversity. The chosen models look casual, relaxed and relatable, possibly what this Asos collection wants to portray.
Having images that relate to your visitors gets their attention and invites them to further browse your website.
- Headline & Subheadline
On the very first page of your website, it is important to state who you are and what you do. Do it in a summary of just one sentence, before explaining further at your subheadline. Remember, the visitor’s attention span is painfully short. A brief, visible headline will implant an idea about your brand in their goldfish memories.
On our homepage, we summarise our business objective through 5 words in one brief sentence. As visitors scroll downwards, they would learn more about how we do what we do.
- Benefits & Unique Selling Proposition
When visitors first see your homepage, tell them straight up what they can expect from you. What are the benefits of your business? How is your business different than other brands?
Huge fonts with catchy phrases are sure ways to grab your visitors’ attention. Here, we tell visitors more about what we offer.
- Clear calls to action
These are big striking buttons that ask your visitors to do an intended action, whether it’s signing up, explore more, start shopping or pay now. An effective page can have two Call-To-Action (CTA) buttons; a primary one at the top of the page and a secondary one at the bottom as visitors scroll. This reinforces the ask for visitors to click on the button after they have read through all your persuasive information. Inserting CTAs in your website design can greatly help your conversion rate.
A CTA in one of our pages calls for visitors to download our comprehensive brand strategy playbook.
A website is useless if visitors find it difficult to navigate around. A Menu and a Home button are imperative for any website. The Menu button would have a list of all the pages on the website, making it easy and efficient for visitors to navigate, serving as a map. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure that the fonts in all your pages are legible.
- Contact details
Be sure to leave a way for visitors to reach you since that is one of the main reasons for your website. Phone numbers are a must, but so are emails and office addresses. Additionally, you can insert links to any social media sites your brand have or a map location of your premises. You can also put up a contact form so visitors can drop inquiries directly. And if your company operation allows it, you can install a chatbot that answers customers’ questions instantly. Do make sure that you have assigned a person or a team to manage your chatbot though, because nothing puts off a visitor more than asking a question and not getting a reply!
- Project references & past clients
It would be helpful for your prospects to see if there are any testimonials or references from past clients. This could be quotes and testimonials from them or better yet, case studies, with lots of photos. Cleanly-edited and professional-looking photographs are a great persuasion tool that shows proof of your experience while giving your prospects a better picture of how you can help them.
Do you have everything checked?
Whether you are using a website builder or buying a template from a CMS, your website has to be updated every year or so, to ensure that it is up-to-date with the latest technology and compatible with new devices. An old website is not only full of bugs and incompatible with new browsers and hardware but also looks bad for your brand, because it shows a lack of commitment and work. If you don’t care about your virtual shop, why should visitors care to come in?
So, these are 11 basic things you can consider when designing and building a website. There are at times the need to hire a professional to custom-design a website. Design agencies can help put a more refined touch to your website design and improve the user experience of your site. The resulting website would not only help your visitors but also improve your brand image and perception. Now, do you have all 11 items checked?