6 Factors that Contribute to Effective Websites
There is a huge difference between having a website that's just floating out there in the world wide web and creating an effective website that serves your marketing strategy. While there are countless variables that can go into building a website, we've boiled it down to a six key factors you should focus on to help you achieve your marketing goals:
- Have a defined purpose for your website
- Use clear communication
- Attract your target audience with visuals
- Make it user-friendly and easy to navigate
- Ensure your website is mobile responsive
- Optimize according to your marketing strategy
How does your current website match up? Are you planning to invest in a new website or an overhaul? Let the team here at Footbridge Media guide you through the development process so that the next six factors we discuss are easily incorporated right from the start.
The first step toward making an effective website is understanding why you want one in the first place. What is the purpose of your website? For casual internet users, sometimes it's just to make a mark on the internet – a way to say, "Hey! I'm here! I exist!" in the great void of constantly growing information and data transfers that make up the internet as we know it today. For others it can be a way to reach out and be a part of this massive network of networks.
For contractors involved in our program here at Footbridge Media, the website is the cornerstone of their marketing strategy. It's purpose is to give your business a presence online and a central hub for communicating with your potential clients. It's the virtual version of your company.
The next step, now that you've defined the purpose of your website, is to focus on communicating with your target audience. Clear communication is the key to engaging your potential clients – and, for optimization purposes, search engines like Google. You want verbiage on your website that is optimized for your marketing goals (Google likes that) and easy to read and navigate (so potential clients turn into customers). Some key tips for effective communication on your website include:
- An easy to use and find contact form
- Phone numbers that are readily spotted
- Content that's easy to read and organized with appropriate headings
Does it make sense to have an online coupon randomly placed on an unrelated service page? Maybe at some point in the thinking process it made sense to someone; but your potential clients are going to be look at the "specials" page for all online promotions. So try to keep the overall layout of your website in mind, and refrain for sticking things all "willy nilly" in hopes it makes sense to the reader. Organized content = clearer communication.
Visuals – Images, Colors, & Fonts
In other words, no Comic Sans. Seriously.
We're all about getting creative with the overall design of a website, but keep in mind the the user-friendliness of your website should be considered above all else. If you use a cool font that's hard to read, guess what? Your potential clients aren't going to stick around long enough to fill out your contact form. Why should they if they can't clearly read what you're offering at a glance?
Likewise, choose a color theme that's pleasing to the eye. You don't want to turn away visitors because the neon bright colors you wanted for the banner, background, and hyperlinks are too eye-straining to stare at for more than a few seconds. We discuss this extensively in our When Preferences Become Marketing Faux Pas post.
Another must-have visual trait of effective websites is images – clean, crisp images that aren't pixelated, blurry, or otherwise unattractive. Images that are relevant to your content and industry.
Keep in mind, however, that a website of only or mostly images isn't going to be that effective. It's all about finding the proper balance. Too many images and your website won't load quick enough, therefore damaging your site's overall ranking. Likewise, users will likely get tired of waiting for a page to load and skip your website entirely to go to a less "annoying" one. Need more tips regarding images for your website? Be sure to check out our article on better marketing with photo galleries.
One of the biggest ways to ensure you have an effective website is to make it easy to navigate. The term user-friendly is the key here. If your clients can't easily find your contact form, how can you expect them to send you a request for service?
It seems like everyone has a smartphone nowadays. Which means more and more of your potential clients are going to be viewing your website from their phones. So guess what? Your website needs to be mobile responsive. If your website is difficult to navigate from a smartphone's screen, you could be turning away potential clients – this is especially important for contractors that offer emergency services.
Having a mobile friendly website is also a great way to be that much closer to converting a "click" to a "call." Your target audience is already on their phone looking at your website. If they like what they see, having your phone number clickable for a direct call from their smartphone screen just makes it all that much easier.
During our website building process we confirm with our clients where and what they want to optimize for. This is critical to creating a website that effectively achieves your marketing goals. You could have the best website for flooring installation, but if all you really offer is wood floor staining, it isn't going to do you much good. So let our team help you iron our your optimization strategy from the start for a more effective use of your website in the long term.
Need help with your website? Contact us today! We specialize in building and optimizing websites for contractors, after all, so we're here to help you through the initial development and website overhaul process to ensure you have the most effective website for your marketing plan.
About Aaron O'Hanlon
Aaron O'Hanlon is the CEO and Co-Founder of Footbridge Media, a digital marketing agency, specializing in the contracting industry. It is his mission to create awareness of marketing online to the home improvement industry and to educate, inform, and assist contractors in taking over their own online presence.