When you get your website right, it will do all the hard work for you.
It will generate new customers, clients and sales. It’s often the first impression your business makes, so there’s a lot at stake when it comes to building your website.
As an entrepreneur, you’ve already got the necessary vision to take your startup forward. You know how to generate profit, and you know your niche inside out.
You also know you need a kick-ass website, but you might not have the time to dedicate to it, especially when you’re busy running the day-to-day tasks of your business.
That’s why I’ve created this handy nine step checklist. It’s everything you need to make a big impact and generate new customers, clients and sales.
Who are you and what do you do?
Your first task is introducing yourself to new customers or visitors to your site.
This is called your “value proposition.” In a nutshell, it tells visitors who you are, what you do and why they should trust you. As a new business, you’ve got to build trust and make a connection quickly.
Notice how the most effective websites utilize the upper portion of their websites to explain what they do. If you can condense your entire business into one image and a few lines of text, you’ve made a great start.
Check your website speed
Website load speed might seem like a small detail, but you’ll be amazed at the difference a few seconds make.
Consider this: eighty three percent of all internet users expect your website to load in three seconds or less.
If it takes longer than that, most will leave your website and look elsewhere. Do you know how long your website takes to load? If you think your site might be too slow, it could be time to check out a new, faster web host. Load speed starts your web server, which is your engine.
There are other small tweaks you can make to the website itself, like using lightweight images, installing caching plugins and trimming your web code.
Improve your web design
Visitors tend to make immediate judgements about your website (and your business) based on your design alone. If you’ve thrown together a quick site from a template, the site can often seem amateur and unprofessional.
On the other hand, a well-designed website with a professional logo and high quality images can inspire trust in your visitors. Even the colors you choose can have a big impact on how people respond to your website, and therefore your business.
Create a clear user journey
Yes, your website needs a journey! “And what exactly is a user journey?” you might ask?
A user journey is simply a trail laid out for your website visitors to follow. It’s like breadcrumbs, leading them from the start point to the end, which is ideally a sale or subscription form.
Your simple user journey can start by introducing visitors to your products (using a video, perhaps). It would gently nudge them toward your blog or about page. It would then lead them to a signup form, and ultimately, a product sales page.
It’s all about nurturing them slowly along a pre-described journey.
Make sure it works on a mobile device
In 2017, it’s essential that your website functions correctly on a mobile device. More internet users access the web on a tablet or smartphone than on a PC or laptop. It’s no longer enough to function on desktops alone.
Most website builders now offer designs and themes that are responsive. In other words, they automatically snap-to-fit no matter which device is used to access the site.
Test yours on as many devices as possible before launching.
An informative about page
Today’s startup culture is heavily based around stories. Your visitors want to know why you started the company. What drives you? What annoys you? How will your business change the world?
An in-depth about us page gives visitors a chance to get to know the people behind your startup. In the early days, getting your message across couldn’t be more important.
A contact page
This might seem like an obvious detail, you’d be surprised how many websites are launched without an adequate contact page.
If possible, I suggest avoiding the typical contact us form. Numerous blogs have shown that web users don’t actually trust them. Instead, give people a clear and obvious email address to contact.
Even better, direct them to a real person depending on their query. In other words, set up different contact emails for customer service, business enquiries and general information.
Plenty of content
Actionable, engaging content is great for keeping visitors on your website. Getting them engaged, informing them and entertaining them is all part of the nurturing experience.
If you can introduce them to free content, they’re much more likely to engage and connect with you. Not only that, but content is great for boosting your rank on Google. It also extends your reach when visitors share and interact with your content.
Try to build an extensive hub of content so your visitors can dive in and explore.
Make sure it’s secure and backed up
Last of all, ensure there are no cracks in your security!
This is especially important if you’re selling products from your website. A simple way to ensure your transactions are safe is to purchase an SSL certificate.
As for backups, use a cloud backup system to store all of your data, customer information and website data. Most good web hosts will also run a daily or weekly backup automatically. Check to see if your host offers this service, and make sure it’s switched on.
Final thoughts on your website
It’s easy to forget about your website while you’re busy growing your business. However, skip back to this checklist regularly and make sure you’re staying on track. Good luck!