28/02/2014

By Juan Lobato, CEO, BaseKit

For many out there, creating a website is a daunting, lengthily task. The 10 steps below however, outline the key points you should be thinking about when creating a website for your business. With these tips in mind, you should be able to create a good-looking website that not only meets the demands of your consumers, but goes above and beyond their expectations.

1) Branding

Many businesses often take on design as the first challenge when creating a website. What is crucial is first to decide upon the look and feel of the brand – what does the business stand for and how are you communicating this? Once this has been agreed the design of the website will come naturally.

2) Content, Content, Content

As much as content marketers have repeated this phrase over the years, it really is critical that the content you are presenting is relevant, engaging, and shareable. Content helps you in a multitude of ways – driving traffic to the site, improving search ranking, improving PR – yet many often neglect the creation and maintenance of quality content for their site.

3) Get Your Priorities in Check

If you are a small business operating on the high street (an independent coffee shop for example), it is imperative that essential information users need (phone number, map, directions) is easily accessible on the site (especially on a mobile site). Similarly Micro businesses, with no high street store to fall back on, must use their website as their lifeline, as quite simply without it, they would cease to exist to consumers.

4) Mobile is Money

Following on from the previous point, optimising a website for mobile is crucial. A recent study conducted by Google found that consumers in the UK alone are 96% more likely to access the Internet via their smartphone. Research like this highlights the importance of ensuring that a website is optimised across various channels. Missing out on those 96% of people could be irrevocably damaging to the brand, and can easily be prevented. Think mobile first and you cant go wrong.

5) User Friendly

It only takes a split second for a consumer to make up their mind about a product. One bad experience and a snap decision will be made; they don’t like it, and they wont use it again. Therefore websites must be sure to keep the end user in mind at all times. Although exciting, dazzling websites may look nice, simplicity goes further. Impressive but simple branding will encourage the user to navigate around the site, and ultimately make the purchase.

6) Reliability

No business ever complained about their site being too fast or too reliable. Many have been impacted however, if a site goes down during a sale, or if customers cannot order the product they want at the price they demand. As discussed above consumers are not forgiving, one slip up is all that is required for a loss of business. A solid backend infrastructure is something that small businesses often consider as an afterthought; which can be disastrous should the website fail to load at a business critical moment.

7) Call To Action/Lead Generation

Too many websites give away interesting information and content for free, without even as much as asking for an email from a user. Small businesses especially need to do all they can to generate leads and initiate a response from their audience. Using short forms (or one-question polls) to gather data from a user before giving them content is a great technique which allows businesses to build up a user (and potential customer) profile from the website.

8) eCommerce

eCommerce is fast becoming the standard ‘commerce’, with online shopping no longer the gremlin it once was. Sites like ASOS, and Amazon, with free delivery/returns and ‘one click’ payment methods, show just how easy it can be to make money online. Businesses offering the ability to purchase goods online need to ensure payment tools are operational, efficient, but most of all secure.

9) Security

If the website is taking credit card details, processing payments, or even holding onto customer data – security needs to be your best friend. PCI DSS compliance is just one of the compulsory regulations businesses need to be able to prove adherence too, unless they fancy crippling fines.

10) Analytics/SEO

Once a business has launched its website, your work doesn’t stop there. Ongoing analysis is critical for a business, as it allows you to see what is working to achieve the business goals. Are the calls to action providing the data needed? Is the SEO driving the right users to the site? If not, analytics will give you the tools to change this and improve the performance of the website.

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