So, you want to launch your own website? Great! It’s a fantastic way to get your business online, build credibility, and have something that you can truly own. Like any project, having a framework to start with really helps get your idea off the ground. So, for maximum success, I’ve put together a list of helpful items to keep an eye on during the planning, launch, and maintenance of your website.
Being able to distil you what you do as an individual or business is a surefire way to capture people’s interest. In other words, getting to the point is best. Aim to explain what you do in as few words as possible but as many as required. It can be a tricky exercise at first, but it will pay off in the long run. And, it will help you write a great “about” section, as well as steer other content on your website. In a previous blog, I covered the concept of “starting with why”. It’s an excellent approach for fine-tuning your messaging and coming up with something easy to understand, that has a purpose too.
It goes without saying that people visiting your website need to find their way around. Clear menu structure and navigation options are just like well-designed signposts – they help you get to where you need to go. Combine this with your clear messaging and you have a winning combination.
When designing your navigation menu, start with a “less is more” approach. You can always add more options later. If your site is still in the planning phase, you’ve probably already thought about what pages you want to send people to. If you’ve already launched your website, checking out what pages people land on could give some insight into what you should prioritise in your menu, and within copy across the site. Check out this best practices guide to website navigation.
When uploading images to your website, be sure to check what resolution they are. If they’re massive, even with a high-speed internet connection, your visitors are going to have to wait for them to load. Keep file sizes lean by resizing images before uploading.
Additionally, if your site uses WordPress or another Content Management System that supports plugins, it’s worth checking what you actually need and disabling what you don’t. We go into a lot more detail on optimizing website performance in this article.
Proper Call to Actions
Give your visitors direction on what to do. This could be adding something to their basket, signing up to a newsletter, or starting a live chat. Using a clear call to action with your polished messaging can boost conversions on your site, and also leave the user satisfied because you helped them find what they want.
Avoid call to action links or buttons that are vague, or even worse, misleading! Instead, focus on words that explain performing an action like “create”, “sign up” or “request more info”. Here are some examples of great call to actions used on some very well-known websites.
Research shows that mobile internet traffic accounts for over half of all the internet traffic globally. So, making sure your website is optimised for mobile is the difference between someone having a great experience on arrival, or an awful one and never coming back!
When optimizing your website for mobile use, think about how the user will interact with your website. They’ll be holding it in their hand rather than viewing it on a big screen, so logos, navigation menus, text and images all need to be size-adjusted to make them easy to view and interact with. Check out this article on optimising your site for mobile.
Keeping your website up to date
Your website is online, the wording is clear, the navigation is slick, and you’ve got killer call to actions across the site. Great! But don’t rest on your laurels too long. It’s important to have a plan to regularly update your site too. Keeping your website fresh, be it new pages, regular blog articles (or even re-visiting old blogs and updating them) means fresh content for your visitors to consume. Most importantly, it’s also new content for Google to index.
Understandably, it can be daunting to come up with new ideas for content, especially if you’ve just put all your best ideas into your website launch. Luckily, there are lots of tools available to keep you on top of researching trends and coming up with new ideas.
You’ve probably noticed that a common thread through all of these tips is user experience; optimising your website so that it’s an easy and enjoyable experience for visitors. So, when you browse the web, or visit your favourite websites, pause for a moment and take stock of what you like and dislike about the experience. You can take these learnings and apply them to your own website to make incremental improvements.
Bonus further reading
Check out these websites for even more helpful tips, how-to-guides, and resources on how to improve your website.
Moz Blog – From blogging to branding, SEO to User Experience. The Moz blog has thousands of articles to help make your website better.
HubSpot Blog – Inbound Marketing pioneers, HubSpot, have written articles on nearly every aspect of digital marketing.
Search Engine Journal – Find out everything you need to know about Search Engine Optimisation for your website.
UX Collective – Learn from some of the best designers out there and take inspiration from web design, product design and beyond.