Your website probably sucks. I know, "that's so mean; how could you?" you're right; I don't know you or your website, so how could I say such a thing? Well, here's why, most websites suck. I rarely come across excellent websites, which doesn't mean they don't exist, but that (subjective thought here) 1 of 50 sites are incredible. So what do I mean by excellent, and how can you build a fantastic website for yourself?
In this article, I'll discuss some strategies to help you and your team get on the right foot to create a fantastic website that aligns with your goals, fits the company brand, and is structurally sound to flow fluidly on all devices and screen sizes.
What a buzzword, right? I almost hate it. But lack of clarity with the strategy of a website is the primary reason why a website sucks. Every week I have calls with potential new clients who have websites, and after twenty minutes of reviewing them together, I will often need clarification on what the company does. After twenty minutes, I often ask the client, "so what do you do?" What they say vs. what copy is on their website is entirely different. Another painful observation is that websites often lack straightforward customer journeys. From the view of a business owner, their website makes perfect sense, and you know where everything is (probably because you put it there). Still, someone who's never seen your site before needs clarification and has no idea what your product is, what features it has, what pricing it is, and how to contact you. Now you might have some of those things, but I'm simply listing out many of the misses I see every day on clients who openly admit that their website is lackluster. Here are a few things to consider to get aligned on strategy:
- Start with your "Why" - why does your website need to exist, and what is the only thing it needs to do?
- 12-Month Goal - Start at the end and work backward. Find out how many unique visitors came to your website the previous year and then up it a little. What was your bounce rate the last year? Your goal should be to reduce the bounce rate. How many more subscribers do you want? How many more things do you want to sell? The point is to write these goals down and force your website to align with them.
- Remove unnecessary information that isn't essential - this is a hard one. Business owners who built their websites are most susceptible to overloading their visitors with too much detail about their company/product, which causes visitors to flee (increased bounce rate) and are often confused (lack of clarity) about what the site does.
If you need help with your strategy, our team can help by asking questions from an outsider's perspective; this can help bring clarity and peace to your goals, which can impact the development of the website.
The design of a website is crucially important. Interestingly, this point is that you will get conflicting opinions on what good design is. Good design leads people to action, but great design leads people to transformation. Bad design is random and leads no one. Everything is designed. Design is how a visitor sees the first 3-seconds of your site, their next scroll, the words and images they see, and how much it causes them to think. Design is how easy it is for a visitor to take action and how it causes them to feel. Design is emotional. People are emotional. You need to know that no matter who is on your site, they are feeling an emotion, and that emotion can be either good for you or bad (there is no neutral). This means that how you design your website is essential. However, the funny thing about design is that it can almost be anything you want it to be, as long as it's consistent throughout the entire website.
- Ensure the web style guide matches your companies brand guide
- Buttons, fonts, and weight should be consistent, and only a few styles should be needed.
- The brand's primary color doesn't need to be the site's primary color. Use your primary brand color as an accent throughout the website, as it draws the eyes quicker to action.
When our team does a site redesign, we often begin by eliminating things and starting simply rather than adding complexity. Rarely does a site need to be complicated.
Look, I have a paragraph or two to amaze you on this last point, so I'm not going into a bunch of crazy detail about how to develop an excellent website. However, I'll share some reasons why good development matters and how it impacts everything else on your site. First, your website is like a house; you want your home to be solid, and to build a solid house, builders follow building codes, use the suitable material for the right thing and ensure they do it properly. Haphazardly building a home leads to functional failure and safety concerns. Like a home, a haphazardly built website, which disregards proper HTML/CSS standards, leads to horrible user experience, erroneous inconsistencies throughout the site, and head-hitting-the-table frustration around troubleshooting errors. Consider the following:
- Don't buy website templates
- Use the Client-First style system to organize classes
- Build a live style guide on your website
- Don't make up random classes on the fly to solve problems
One thing I love about our team is that we use the Client First style system. This system has been a lifesaver regarding consistency in the site's development. It allows us to create more and troubleshoot less. We have to constantly work not to rush and take our time when developing, which will be why we can take pride in our site and ensure it's built the right way the first time.
Custom websites take work to build right. With Webflow, it can be enticing to try and DIY a site with little-to-no experience; however, this approach can be detrimental to most businesses and cause a greater impact on the bottom line than intended.
If you started a website and resonate with some of the pain listed above and would like to chat with me, feel free to reach out so we can nail down what's going on and come up with a plan to get your site back on track to be working for you, rather than against you.