Believe it or not, building a website is hard work. There are more moving parts than you could even imagine. From content creation to design to differentiation from competing sites to search engine optimization… The list really extends ad infinitum. If you’re getting started on a website or are looking to improve your current masterpiece, here are 5 tips to start you on the path to online success.

1) Use A Consistent Voice

You wouldn’t read a book that has one chapter about the benefit of fitness products and the next chapter covering the deliciousness of rice cakes. The same rule applies to your website. Be sure to convey the same message (whether it be your value proposition, a sales pitch, etc.) throughout all the pages of your website.

2) Create A Theme

Why do we enjoy parties? Because they’re usually themed. The same applies to your website. Design the look and feel of your website around a central theme (color schemes, graphics, and fonts.) After all, you don’t want your site to be the Sweet 16 that no one goes to.

3) Create Value On Every Page

Just like a billboard, you have 7 seconds to grab and hold a prospect’s attention. It takes nothing to press Control+T (Apple+T for my fellow Mac users) and open up a new tab in a browser. Lest you forget the magical “G” word: Google. For that reason, every page you host on your site should deliver some value to visitors.

4) Don’t Distract Your Visitors

20 years ago, people were just learning how to build their own websites; remember the big blinking banners, music that automatically played, and hundreds of pop-up windows clogging up your screen? That stuff isn’t just amateur, it’s simply annoying, and you’ll scare off prospects quickly if you use it on your site. Refrain from using any of those techniques/features because it screams one thing about your business: DESPERATE!

5)  Offer Easy Navigation

How often do you drive down a street with a “Dead End” sign? Unless you live there, probably not much. It’s a psychological thing. People don’t want to hit dead ends, especially on the Internet. They want to keep clicking and surfing around. Two things to make sure you don’t hinder their online exploration:

  1. Always link back to your Home page: Offer both a text link and make your logo a link back to the home page to make it easy to retrace their steps.
  2. Always have a menu: If you have 5 pages on your site, you should have 5 menu items (or navigational buttons) on each page so your visitors can explore the site with ease.

Remember, it takes no time at all to switch to a new site, so make it the best experience you can for your visitors. Otherwise, kiss that potential business goodbye…

Jake Burns