Website design involves far more than slick graphics, beautiful images and fancy functionality. Yes, they impress visitors, but do they make your website work for you? Does your design complement your content marketing strategy and achieve the results you need?
Content marketing such as social media, videos, eBooks, blogs and articles promotes your business without directly selling your services. It’s cost-effective, creates interest, woos your audience and entices them to visit your website. Content marketing works hard, often over a considerable period of time, to engage your target audience. For it to be effective, your website must play its part by providing a final piece of the marketing puzzle that converts visitors into customers.
How to make your website work for you?
Effective website design is achieved through focusing on key fundamentals.
Once a visitor arrives at your website, they need to know where to go to find what they need. This sounds simple, but if navigation is unclear, they will get frustrated and leave. Think of how shops are merchandised in product groups. Busy shoppers go straight to the section of products they need, get what they want and go straight to the till. Your website visitors are no different. They need the same straightforward experience.
Navigation tools such as drop down boxes and navigation menus provide clarity and an easy, positive experience for mooching around your website.
Visually appealing layout
Visitors to your website are typically time-poor and have a short attention span. They need to be filled with confidence within seconds that they will find what they’re looking for, otherwise they will click away.
To generate immediate interest and confidence, pay careful attention to the layout of your website. Make sure it is easy to navigate and not text heavy. Images, videos and graphics, for example, break up the monotony of blocks of text and draw attention to key features of your business.
Subheadings within the layout enable visitors to scan your web pages to find what they need. If you expect them to read every word, they won’t – get over it! Help them out with clear headings that direct them to what they want to know. If they can’t find it quickly, they will look for it elsewhere.
Colours on your website can have a major impact on engagement. If the colours of your background and your copy clash, your visitors may be overwhelmed. Likewise, there needs to be clear differentiation between the two so that the copy stands out sufficiently. Don’t use every colour in your pallet simply because you can – stand back from the crayons and use visually appealing tones that reflect your business message.
Waffles on your website will put visitors off. It negatively affects the engagement of your audience. Don’t fill space for the sake of it, as if filling an awkward silence. Just say what needs to be said to allow your visitor to find what they need more quickly.
Avoid using pretentious wording. Instead, use plain language, it is far easier to understand and avoids ambiguity and confusion.
Tone of voice
The tone of voice of your copy should be consistent and authentic to your brand. Decide if your business model requires a corporate tone of voice or something more relaxed. Whatever you choose, the tone of voice for your content marketing and your website copy should be the same, otherwise it confuses visitors.
Use a style guide for brand consistency
Using a style guide across your content marketing and website creates consistency and authenticity for your brand message. A style guide includes elements such as fonts, logos, tones, colours, terminology and layout. It should be based on the impression you want your business to create and your target market. If the style of your website is different to your content marketing, you weaken your brand.
Be credible and professional
A tidy website with accurate spelling and grammar creates a professional image which is essential when you are being compared to your competitors. It’s all about demonstrating what matters to you as a business. If you don’t pay attention to the accuracy of your content, potential customers will think you are equally unconcerned about the quality of your work.