Website Design for Your Business Home
Your website is your business home on the Internet. Your website design should showcase your business and welcome visitors to stop and visit. Just as your office is a place to welcome customers and prospects, your website will welcome visitors and invite them to stay for a while. The web design should be attractive but more importantly, it must be functional. Exploring your website must be easy and intuitive so that visitors can find answers to the questions that brought them to your site.
Your site must be easy to navigate. You want to attract visitors through attractive web design and then make sure that they can easily find what they came looking for. First-time visitors will want to learn something about your company, products and services on the home page. After this introduction, they should be able to easily find more detail. Returning visitors should be able to navigate directly to the details.
Your Website is Built on Pillar Pages
On the home page of this website, there are three boxes with images identifying our services: Content Creation, Website Design and Social Media Pages. These are the three pillars of the website and the business. Notice that the boxes are above the fold (meaning you don’t have to scroll down to see them on a desktop computer). They describe just what we do. Your business may have more depending on your business lines. Clicking inside these boxes will take you to a pillar page that describes that service. At the end of the pillar page are links to blog posts that provide more interesting details about the service.
The pillar pages should include graphics or images that reinforce the page’s content. A page that has nothing but text can be overwhelming to a casual visitor. The image will add visual and aesthetic appeal to the page and help maintain visitor interest and attention. It also communicates and explains ideas visually while creating a visual structure for the viewer.
Start Collecting Email Addresses Immediately
The pillar pages and the blog post pages should contain a contact form for those visitors who like your work and want to join your email list. This contact form and the collection process should be developed prior to your taking your website live if you are doing a new website design or as one of the first steps in implementing a website redesign. For your reader, the benefit of joining the list is that they will be notified immediately upon release of a new post. They will not miss any of your valuable content. For you, the benefit is that you have a list of people that you can use for email marketing.
For example, you may later decide to write an e-book that relates to your business. You can offer the e-book for sale to your email list or as a gift to show your appreciation for their loyalty. Over time you may see dips in your visitor attendance or a social media page may go out of fashion. With an email list, you still have a direct path to those that appreciate your work. You have complete control of your list. Trust me, it makes sense to begin building your list as soon as possible. Forbes magazine reports that “email marketing offers one of the best returns on the investment of your time”. Read the Forbes article.
Be sure to read the following blog posts for more information:
Use Landing Pages to Request Email Addresses
A contact form may ask for reader information directly or you may link to a landing page that asks for reader information. A new visitor may be reluctant to give his name and email address. The landing page gives you an opportunity to review the benefits of joining your email list and further convince him to join. Landing pages will take advantage of graphics and color to stimulate the reader and to further convince him to sign up.
A Minimally Viable Website Design
Historically designers included everything in a website design that businesses could think of. Websites could take 4 – 6 months to build and cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. Since there was no way of knowing what a visitor might be seeking, the thinking was that everything should be included.
More recently, Google and other search engine companies have developed excellent analysis software. This software reports on how many visitors reach your website, what pages they visit, the amount of time they spend and tons of other information including demographics.
These reports have led to a strategy of building a minimally viable website. During web design and analysis, we still list all of the things that a visitor might be seeking on our site. But we quickly create a priority list and initially deliver just the highest priority functions; enough functionality to create a minimally viable website. And then we monitor the reports as visitors start to arrive. Over time we may add the functions that weren’t a part of the initial design if visitors are looking for it.
This approach does four things:
- It holds down the initial cost of website design.
- It gets the website online more quickly.
- Initially, the unnecessary functions are not added which reduces cost and website bloat.
- Later, justified, additional functionality is added to meet visitor demand and keeps the website fresh and growing.