The Designer's Guide to a Successful Business Website

Every web site has a purpose. And when designing web sites that are meant to generate business and income for a company, it’s especially important to do it well. Today’s post will teach you all about how to design a successful business web site. If you have more to add, I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments.

Purpose

Before you even create a website, you need to think of what your purpose is. You need to figure out why your business exists and how you can help the visitor with your product/service.

  • Research your target audience – Before you start any project with your business, you should always research information about your target audience such as their ages, their demographics, their interests, their abilities and etc. With that information, you can come up with your purpose.
  • Create an Elevator Pitch – Once you know your website’s purpose, you need to come up with an elevator pitch for your visitors. An elevator pitch should only be 1-3 sentences that sum up your business in simplest terms. An elevator pitch is important because it helps define the purpose of your website, so you can create the website according to that purpose.

Content

The phrase “content is king” doesn’t lie. The content on your website can solely determine whether or not your business succeeds or fails. Planning out your content before you create the website can increase your chances of success.

  • Write your content according to your target market – With the information you learned about your target audience, write for them. If your writing can interact with them the same way they interact with others, you will get their attention to your business.
  • Your content needs to be informative – Your product/service is the most important aspect of your website, so you need to sell it. Describe your product/service in the most informative and simplest form or your visitors will have no clue what your product/service is and leave your website.
  • Make sure your content is unique and fresh – Each business market has several different competitors, so you need to make sure your content is unique and updated regularly. If your content is not updated regularly and not unique, visitors are more likely to go towards your competitor because their content is more appealing and fresh.

Loading Time

Internet users are very picky and impatient. If your website is taking too long to load, they will not wait around for it. To keep your visitors at your website you need to make sure your website is fast loading.

  • Optimize your images –Images are the number one reason why sites load slowly. If your site has a large amount of images, you should always optimize them. Check out Yahoo’s Smush.it to “smush” your images and reduce the amount of time it takes to load your website.
  • Optimize your website’s code – A website’s code is also a reason websites are slow. You may have too much going on in your CSS and HTML. Fix up your code and learn about the principles of clean code.
  • Do you really need it? - Look around your website. Do you see an unnecessary javascript code or an unnecessary HTML code? If so, you should remove it immediately. If it is not going to benefit your visitors and your website, then you should remove the code.

Navigation

Navigation is a very key part of a website. For a user to fully immerse themselves in your website, you need to make sure your navigation is easy to use.

  • Help them get to where they want to go – The whole point of a navigation scheme is to help your users get to the important parts of a website. You need to make sure the links to your pages are short and to the point. If you want to direct them to your services, the best way to word it would be “Services”.
  • Tell them what’s available on your website - The navigation scheme is a great way to promote what’s available on your website. Make sure you take advantage of your scheme to give important information to your users.
  • Make it easy for them to reach you – The deal-breaker for most visitors wanting to purchase your product/services is making it easy for them to reach you. You must always have a way for the user to contact you or you will see a lack of purchases/sales.

Usability

Usability is an easy to concept to understand, but very hard to apply. Usability involves making sure the average visitor can understand and navigate through your website.

  • Remember users have short attention spans – You have to keep in mind that users have short attention spans, so you need to grab their attention with images and bold or italicized words. Use those sparingly though because it can backfire and the visitor may be too distracted from the main content.
  • Use Call to Action buttons – One of the main tips of usability is to use call to action buttons. Call to action buttons are guides for the visitor to direct them to where they want to go. Always make sure to create buttons that are appealing and interesting so they can grab the viewer’s attention. If you don’t know where to start, here are examples of call to action buttons.

Design

Lastly, the design is an important factor a successful website. If the design lacks personality, creativity and professionalism, then the visitor will not be attracted to your website because it’s not unique.

  • Use your personality to your advantage – The best way to stand out from your competitor is to put personality into the website. Whether it’s a personality of the company or of you, it is a great way to stand out.
  • Keep it Simple Stupid! – The design should not confuse the visitor from the main point of your website. If your design has elements that confuse or distract the visitor, then they will leave.
  • Add a hint of creativity – It never hurts to add a hint of creativity with your business. Like adding your personality, it is another great way to make your business unique and to stand out from your competitors.

Your turn to talk…

What have I left off this list that I should have included? When you’ve been designing business websites, what other things do you include to make sure the site is a success? Share your added tips by leaving a comment on this post!

Comments

  1. Great article Nicole. These points are blueprint for any web designer whether old in this business or just trying to get a breakthrough. Purpose and usability of site area two major cornerstones of any website and after comes everything. I’d these simple yet effective points are taken care of by every designer it will sure help him to create some amazing web sites and user experience.

    UX design in itself is a separate field nowadays and every medium to large firm have separate department that start making the bare bones of the site before it gets the actual shape. Theses rules are strictly followed up there thus showing the importance of points you raised :)

    Once

  2. Great article! I would add Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to this list. Page names, titles, keywords, metadata all need to be in place to make your business website a success. Even the way you organise your pages can be crucial.

    When thinking about content, try focusing different pages on different key phrases. That way you stand a better chance of competing on Google for a wider variety of search terms.

  3. Great article, however I still think that among all, content rates the highest. Without proper content, there’s no way better way to focus on any target group without losing disinterested readers. This guarantees, what some of us would call, qualified leads visiting your website.

  4. This is such a great article, I am so putting this out on my social sites for people to find!
    Keep up the great Work!!

  5. This is such a great article, I am so putting this out on my social sites for people to find!
    Keep up the great Work!!

    I agree though (seo) would be a good add.

  6. Hi Nicole, nice article, thanks.

    One added tool:
    http://www.host-tracker.com for testing site loading speed across servers around the world. It gives you an averge speed. Nice.

    Kenn
    Web Designers: 8 Mistakes that Stop You from Getting Clients at

  7. Nice article and good collection. Although most of the points are known by all, Very few actually give emphasis on those. I would just like to add one point, In today’s design, we should also lay emphasis on SEO friendliness of the design by having proper validated markups, proper use of tags and proper organization/structuring of the content for easy search engine accessibility.

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