Thanks to platforms such as Wix and Squarespace, virtually anyone can build a professional-looking website. In just a few clicks, you can select your preference from hundreds of templates, and without any complex coding, you’ve got yourself your very own slice of the internet – job done – or is it?
What many of these platforms fail to mention is that a snazzy template and some pretty pictures will only get you so far. A website that converts also needs to harness the power of words to effectively convey its message to its reader, while gently leading them onto additional material to help them progress through their customer journey. A one-page website may be sufficient for some smaller businesses, but most companies find that to truly convert their audience, they need multiple pages, each designed to provide the reader with precisely the content they need at their current stage of the customer journey.
So what do you really need to do in order to build a website that converts?
- Understand your target market
Before you even open an account with Squarespace or enlist the services of a website designer, you need to have a solid understanding of your target market. Who are they? How old are they? What kind of language do they use? What makes them tick and what turns them off? The more data that you can gather on your target market, the easier it will be for you to design a website that fulfils their needs. Building a website without this knowledge will usually result in an expensive and time-consuming redesign later down the line.
- Plan your site map
There’s nothing more frustrating than a website that leads you around in circles. Think about what you want your customers to see first when they land on your website and then consider the questions that this may lead them to ask. From here, you can then design a site map that will enable them to explore and find answers to their questions, building reassurance in your product and brand and ultimately leading them to the end of the customer journey. Depending on your business, your site map could be simple or quite complex. If you’re struggling to create a site map that feels intuitive, then it is always best to enlist the help of a professional earlier, rather than later.
- Think about your copy
You may have a beautiful design, exquisite imagery and a site map that flows intuitively, but if the words you use fail to match up to the same standard then your website will fall flat. A lot of businesses do not pay proper attention to their website copy. Spelling errors, poorly constructed sentences and a disregard for the importance of keywords can put off prospective customers and make it more difficult for your website to rank naturally in search results. If you can’t afford a content writer or SEO specialist, then make use of free tools such as Yoast and Grammarly which can help you to get up and running cheaply.
- Have a marketing strategy in place
Whether you have funds to play with or not, it is essential to have at least an idea about where your website sits in your marketing strategy so that you can design it accordingly. Will you be creating a lot of blog content to support an inbound marketing strategy? Will you be collecting information from your leads in return for downloading white-papers or e-books? Do you plan on running paid-advertisements which could require their own landing pages? Where your website sits in your overall marketing strategy could change how you design it.
- Test it
And finally, don’t forget to test your website! Having worked on your own website for some time you can easily become blind to issues with your content, copy and sitemap which can easily be picked up by a UX test. Platforms such as Userzoom can help you to test and make modifications to the user experience of your website so that you aren’t losing customers by treating them like guinea pigs.
Anyone can build a website, but very few people know how to build one that will convert. Hopefully, these five tips will help you to be one of the few who do.