Every business owner knows they need a website. You simply can’t grow a company in 2021 without an online presence.
But in the rush to get on Google, most entrepreneurs settle for a mediocre website. They wing the project and rush to go live without any real strategy.
And that’s a major mistake because a bad website can actually hurt your business.
Your website is the front door. It determines a prospect’s first impression of your company. Does it invite people in or send them running to your competitor across the street? And what about leads? Can your website reel in interested buyers? Or does it fail to close deals? Your website is a huge part of your business.
That’s why every savvy entrepreneur knows they need a good website.
But what makes a good website?
In this article, we lay out ten things you need for a website that converts. Cross off each one to make sure your site can do the job.
Clarity must always come first.
There are a million things you can put on your website — videos, testimonials, company bios, case studies, etc.
Many of these things are good. But do they make sense?
A good website always tells a clear story. Prospects should be able to browse your site and in ten seconds tell you what you do and how they can buy.
If anything gets in the way of clarity, move it or get rid of it. Don’t bog your site down with unnecessary images or so much copy each page looks like a microbiology textbook.
Instead, use headlines and white space to keep your pages scannable. And only include what helps you tell your story.
2.Call to Action
What purpose does your website serve? Is it just something nice to look at? Or is it motivating people to do business with you?
We really hope it is option #2.
And if you want people to do business with you, you have to ask them. That means a clear call to action. Think “buy now” or “schedule a consultation”. Choose something that makes sense for your business. But no matter what, highlight an obvious next step for your prospects.
Many entrepreneurs worry about sounding pushy here. They don’t want to come off like a sleazy used car salesman. And so they never ask for the sale.
But while these business owners think they’re being considerate, their prospects are just confused.
If someone loses interest because they can’t figure out how to hire you, your website has really let you down.
To make sure you don’t miss a sale, put your call to action in the top right of your header and feature it throughout the blocks on each webpage.
3.Most Important Information Above the Fold
There’s a time and place for long scroll pages. But no matter how long your page is, you always want to have the most important information “above the fold.”
“Above the fold” is a nod to newspapers. The biggest, most important news always had to come above the page fold. That way a paper would catch a consumer’s attention as they walked past the newsstand.
With websites “above the fold” means you have the most important information front and center before someone scrolls. That means answering 3 questions: what do you do? how does it benefit me? and what do I do to get it?
Answer those questions and a prospect will have everything they need to take the next step. You’ll have gotten their attention so that they’re ready to keep reading or take action right away.
The first block on your homepage should include your company name, a tagline that tells what you do, an aspirational image and a big call to action button.
Your homepage should be the most important page on your website. But it should never be the only page.
Your website should include other pages that each tell their part of the larger story. Consider an about us page, a services/product page and a landing page for a lead magnet.
Then, make sure it’s easy to get to these pages. Are they listed clearly in a header/and or footer? Are they linked throughout the page?
Make it easy for prospects to find the information they want. (Aim for three clicks or less.) No one is going to waste time in a maze of subpages. Use clear navigation or they’ll navigate right over to Facebook or YouTube instead of scrolling your site.
5.Lightning Fast Loading Speeds
When someone clicks on a webpage it should load quickly.
If content takes too long to appear, people will quickly lose trust. Your company will appear unprofessional or even sketchy. Longer loading speeds keep people from doing business with you.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights will analyze your page to tell you how well it loads and what you can do to improve its time.
To cut down on page load time, properly size images and leave out videos or complicated plugins.
Next on our list of what makes a good website: reviews and testimonials. Don’t leave them out because they are major trust builders.
Testimonials are a great use of social proof. Prospects get to hear from “real people” just like them and they begin picturing their own transformation.
That way you can avoid the dreaded “humble-brag” and quickly position your business as reliable.
Did you know that in 2020, 68.1% of all website visits came from mobile devices?
That number is increasing every year. The majority of people will view your website from their smartphone. How does it look?
Your page may look great on a laptop, but shift over to a smaller screen and suddenly everything is out of place. The text bleeds off the edges and the images have awful margins.
So when you design a website, make sure everything is easy to read and navigate on a smartphone.
If you want long-term success, consider designing your website to be mobile-first. That means you begin designing for a smartphone first and then customize for desktop layouts.
Like most entrepreneurs, you’ve probably brainstormed a lot of ideas for your website. Perhaps there are five different fonts you love. Or a couple of color palettes that make you say wow.
You might be tempted to include all of them. But you must resist.
Too many design elements get in the way of clarity. Your brain has to burn extra calories just to take in your site.
Instead, you want every page and block to be clearly part of the same brand. That means the same color palette, the same fonts and the same types of images.
This will make your website easier to scan. Plus it’ll help everything seem like a nice cohesive whole, adding to the narrative you want to present instead of taking away from it.
9.Social Media Integration
Does your company have a social media presence? Most do.
In 2020, an estimated 90% of people with access to the internet use social media. So if your company isn’t on Facebook or Instagram, you’re missing opportunities to connect with ideal clients.
But any social media presence isn’t enough. You want to fully integrate yours with your website.
Don’t think of the two as separate entities. Instead, they should be part of the same story.
Use similar branding and craft similar content. And then link the two together.
Consider linking your Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn in your footer. Feature your Instagram feed as part of your about us page or use social-based testimonials if you have them.
Nobody reads these policies, right? Wrong.
Legally you have to have these pages, so make sure to have a professional look them over. That way you’ll be covered should anything bad happen.
But these pages are not just for the legal team. They tell users that you care about them. They’re an easy way to be transparent and helpful. So make sure these pages aren’t just a bunch of legalese. Keep them easy to read and helpful.
That way you can feel protected and your clients will feel cared for.