Website Design

The 5 golden rules of website design

Websites need to be well planned and researched. It’s true that you can start your online business presence with a simple website of only 5 to 10 pages, but you still need to understand your audience; and that’s why you must have a business plan and marketing goals laid out.

Whether your business is about trading in products or services, establishing an online business presence with a website or eCommerce store it is essential part of your business plan. Website design needs to represent the products, services, brand and what your company brings to your industry. Additionally, it must be the online address for your clients to find and research your business.  There’s virtually no other way around it in today’s marketplace, as all your marketing campaigns tend to lead back to your website.

Here are 5 common mistakes to avoid so you can be assured you have a fully functional site that’s prepared to handle all your business goals online. 

  1. No Business Plan and Marketing Strategy

Many business owners erroneously assume they just need a cheap website with some great images. The “build it and they will come” mentality.  Meaning they assume by simply having a business web presence, visitors will find their site with no real effort required.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Business owners think they can merely purchase a domain name and will immediately see hordes of traffic flocking to their site.  Sorry, but that’s not how it works. This is not the complete solution.

It’s a tough situation when you’re depending on your website to be a source of income.  Before investing a lot of cash and time into a website, take a step back and then construct both a business plan and marketing strategy.

When we talk about your company plan, we’re not meaning a lengthy document that covers every single scenario.  Instead, a small business plan should answer the following questions.

  • What products or services are you selling?
  • Know your bread and butter product or service
  • Can you value add?
  • What’s your niche market and who will be the target audience?
  • How are you helping solve your clients’ problems?
  • Are you offering solutions to those problems?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • Can you capitalize on the flaws of your competition?
  • What will your online presence contain?
  • Online Business Card details

As for the marketing plan, be sure you have set up the following items. These will help you in generating website traffic and converting traffic into clients.

An eCommerce analytics/tracking system, such as Google Analytics. If you are preparing your own business plan and marketing goals, it’s imperative you understand the difference between SEO and SEM, as well as realising the importance of social media platforms.

Review and research online affiliate marketing programs and consider selling through recognised, third party platforms. Establishing a business plan and marketing strategy may seem daunting and challenging in the beginning, but both will guide you in creating your own successful website design.

Digital media has replaced paper media in this new frontier and it’s a growing field. There is plenty of information out there on web advertising and marketing strategies to help you.  Review these existing plans to help you understand what works and what doesn’t.  Just bear in mind that there may be a few areas – such as search engine optimisation and PPC – which might require outside help.

  1. Don’t underestimate the Work Involved

As the owner, know your limitations and get professional help before you spend countless hours trying to do everything on your own. If you believe creating a website is a fantastic means of making fast and easy money, you will be disappointed. It’s not a get rich quick scheme and there is more work involved than simply taking an order and shipping a product.  It’s a process that demands your entire attention and will require learning from mistakes. For instance, which methods work or are no longer working in your endeavours to drive traffic to your site.

Even if you outsource some of your online marketing, you still have to maintain a watchful eye.  In a nutshell, be prepared to spend time improving your website marketing.

  1. Choosing the incorrect Host and web Platforms will kill your opportunities

In all honesty you will find a number of free web hosting companies – such as Blogger and Weebly. So why pay for a host when the free options are quick, easy to prepare and, well, free?  Well, there can be a lot of issues with free hosts.  For starters, most people are not going to take your business seriously if you don’t have your own domain name (yoursite.com).  Additionally, the ability to link with some social networking platforms and other platforms will not be available to you.

The biggest disadvantage, however, is that you don’t own the actual website or its content if you don’t own your own domain name.  Alternatively, you can own a quality website from just $399 and have it professionally hosted for as little as $10 a month. This really is just a small investment for a business website that will create a great first impression; unlike having a cheap website hosted on a free platform that will likely kill your business before it even gets started.

When seeking out a website platform for an eCommerce site, look for well-known systems that have established a good reputation, are well maintained with the latest updates.  Examples include the following: Magento and WooCommerce.  Web platforms must have a Content Management System (CMS), like WordPress or Joomla.

  1. All I need is a Blog and traffic will come

Most of us are aware of WordPress. It’s one of the most widely used blogging platforms around.  However, it’s sometimes not the most effective option to build a website.  I personally use WordPress for building many websites and websites with blogs, but not for all of them.  This isn’t knocking WordPress in any way. It’s an extraordinary CMS, but some websites need to be organised in a way that most WordPress sites and themes just don’t offer.  WordPress sites are far more suited to blogging than for commercial websites, corporate websites or eCommerce stores. You are far better off getting a purpose-built site that really does what you need it to do.

  1. Lack of Balance Between Design and Message

Of course the layout of your site needs to be visually attractive, however it’s not everything.  On top of owning a website that is easy on the eyes, it needs to effectively communicate the message you want to get across; such as your business objectives and providing quality content for your visitors.  Having a great looking website is one thing, but it needs to be backed up with content and clear calls to action. You never want your website’s design to distract your visitors from the message you are trying to convey

These are not the only things to consider when creating your website, but they are a good starting point to set you off on the right track. Avoid making the above mistakes and you will give your business website every chance of being a success!

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