Website Design Checklist: Does Your Site Have What it Takes?
Designing a new website can be a time- and money-intensive process, so naturally, when you do decide to redesign your site, you want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth and creating a beautiful and functional site that helps drive business growth. If you’re designing a new website, here is a comprehensive website design checklist to help you see if your site has what it takes to attract visitors, convert leads, and foster growth.
✔️ Calls to Action (CTAs)
No website is going to convert visitors into leads without calls to action (CTAs). If you want your website visitors to do something, like enter their contact information into a form or to give you a call or to request a quote, you need to ask them to do that, and you need to make it an easy process.
CTAs are generally clickable buttons with text prompting a specific action, and they should appear in intuitive places on your site, like the top right corner, across your banner image on the homepage, or after useful blog content.
✔️ Landing Pages
A landing page is a page a website visitor lands on when they visit your site from a specific place or link. Landing pages are useful for directing visitors to content or actions that are relevant to them and that you want them to see, based on their behaviors and interests.
If you don’t have landing pages, your PPC ads are not going to get great results. If you just direct people who click on your ad to your homepage, they aren’t going to know what to do next, and they’re probably not going to do what you want them to do, which is likely to give you their contact information or get in touch with your company. A landing page limits visitors’ options and presents them with exactly the content and calls to action that are relevant to them and are therefore more likely to convert.
✔️ Great Images
So much of what we respond to is image-based (insert cliche about how 1 picture = 1000 words), that a site needs great images to compete. Gone are the days of irrelevant stock photos of people in business suits and pixelated images from a digital camera that someone in HR took at the company picnic. High quality, professional images of your facilities, products, processes, or people are going to be attractive to website visitors.
This is especially true if you’re in a B2C industry where they way your products or the results of your services look matter. For example, custom home builders need to have images of the gorgeous homes they build, because that’s what their website visitors want to see. These kinds of images are also perfect for social sharing across a variety of platforms, from Facebook to Instagram to Pinterest.
It’s 2019. Your site needs to be mobile-responsive. More than 60 percent of all searches happen on mobile devices, and more than 77 percent of adults in the world own a smartphone. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on a ton of traffic.
Mobile-responsive design isn’t difficult to accomplish, either. Selecting a template for your design that is mobile-responsive will ensure that your content is readable on the tiniest of phone screens and the biggest tablet and that nothing is cut off or hidden to the far right where no one will scroll.
✔️ Fast Load Times
If your site takes too long to load, your design isn’t effective. According to HubSpot, most mobile users expect a website to load in less than four seconds. Not only that, but a one-second delay in page loading means a reduction in page views by 11 percent and a seven percent reduction in conversions. That’s a big deal.
A good website without a blog is like a new car with no gas—it’s not going anywhere, and you’re not going to get to show it off. Why? Because content is one of the main ways to drive organic traffic from search engines to your website.
In order to do that, search engines need to crawl your content and find keywords in your content. Search engines rank sites with more unique instances of a keyword and more regularly updated content higher, meaning those sites are more likely to be seen by searchers in the search results for that term and are more likely to get clicked on.
Besides that, a blog is an important way of marketing to your clients and establishing brand awareness and authority. Your blog content shouldn’t just be company updates (though you can include some company updates if you want!). It should address the specific problems, challenges, and stages in the buyer’s journey that your ideal clients are experiencing.
If you can provide content that answers their questions about your industry, product, or service, you’re more likely to show up in their searches, and when they do read your content, they’re more likely to find it useful and even convert.
Your website should also be SEO-friendly. SEO (search engine optimization) is another critical factor in getting ranked by search engines and appearing in organic search results for your desired search terms. A good website is going to be SEO-friendly by incorporating keyword-targeted content, relevant, keyword-optimized image alt tags, and on-page SEO including site tiles, social media sharing buttons, title tags, etc.
✔️ Reliable CMS (Content Management System)
A custom web design that was hard-coded by a web designer or someone in IT is a bad idea for a lot of reasons. It’s difficult to maintain custom code, it requires a lot of skill and time to produce, and if the developer leaves the company on bad terms, your site could go with them.
That’s why every website should operate on a reliable CMS (content management system), such as WordPress or Joomla. (We use WordPress.) A CMS allows for multi-user access, a user-friendly interface for making changes and updates, design templates that are optimized for mobile, and a content publishing platform that is easy to use.
Did your site come up a little short after reading that checklist? We’d love to help. As an inbound marketing and growth agency, beautiful, functional websites are what we do every day. Let’s chat.