Top 10 Things To Consider For Your New Website
As you take your first steps into owning your very own website, there are so many things to consider in terms of web design, performance and aesthetics. Your head might be swimming with ideas, and rightly so.
From ensuring your visitors get the most value from the content on your site, to validating its long-term viability, you would be forgiven for thinking it might be impossible to narrow down the top ten most important things to consider.
While there are of course strong arguments to be made in favour of other factors, I have put together a pretty comprehensive list of the top ten things you need to be considering when purchasing that shiny new domain name.
Consider the purpose of your site (e.g: online shop, blog, portfolio etc.)
First of all, ask yourself why you are making the decision to purchase a domain name and set up your website. Is it for any of the following common reasons?
- To set up a portfolio of your work?
- To sell items online?
- To create a blog and deliver your content?
Go through the main features you would expect to see on a website with your purpose. If you are creating a professional portfolio of your work, research competitors with similar portfolios and take inspiration from what they include on their websites.
A portfolio site would need to include examples of your work presented in an aesthetically pleasing way. Often, case studies and short explainer texts would be appropriate if you are showing off how you redesigned a website to increase conversion rate, for example.
If you are designing an online store, the website needs to look like one. Setting up a site with a platform specifically tailored to ecommerce, such as Shopify, could be a strong bet here. Once you are in the process of adding products, you need to make sure they are organised intuitively and easy to search for.
The final specific example here would be a blog. Make sure you pick attractive images to head up each blog post, and think of catchy, SEO-friendly titles. Your blog articles need to be concise enough to remain interesting, but lengthy enough to be considered a relevant piece of text by search engines.
Is there enough content?
A generic, bare bones website is probably not going to rank very highly in search engine results. You need to add quality content that is keyword-rich and contains internal links (links to other pages on your site). Usually, this comes in the form of blog articles that supplement the rest of your site.
If you are running a website that requires a high level of trust from your visitors, such as an ecommerce store, you’ll need a good amount of quality content to foster that trust. Consider hiring a copywriter to help flesh out your homepage or ‘About Us’ sections. Many writers are also able to add professional blog articles to your site.
Have you gotten to the stage where you are trying to manage a remote team to run your new website? Learn more about how to successfully manage your remote team here.
Is there any branding?
Your site should have something that makes it your own. First of all, you are going to need a recognisable domain name that preferably ends in .com. This is because it is the most widely accepted domain suffix, as seen in Fig. 2 below. It is one hallmark of a trustworthy website, so is something that you should definitely consider when registering your domain name.
Once you have an SEO-friendly domain name under your belt, it is time to turn your attention towards other aspects of your new website’s branding. If you are capable of designing an attractive logo, that is always really helpful in establishing strong brand identity.
Similarly, think again about your target audience and your purpose behind the website. How would your audience like to be addressed? Answer this question and shape all your copywriting with this in mind. Select a suitable font and you are set to create great written content on your website.
It is really tempting to just pick a colour scheme for your website without much thought. However, it has been shown that around 62-90% of impulse purchases are driven primarily by perception of colour.
How can you maximise this?
Well, one of the best examples of a brand taking advantage of colour perception is Coca Cola.
At the start, it did not use its famous red packaging and branding that it uses today. It found that it needed to decide on an effective colour, so actually conducted brain imaging tests on participants who would drink Coca Cola while looking at different colours.
Coca Cola found that one particular shade of red produced significantly increased activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPC) - a sign of positive emotions and the building blocks of brand loyalty.
Simply put, the shade of red identified by Coca Cola has helped them to foster happy and positive feelings amongst consumers. This is what helps the brand to beat Pepsi in popularity contests, despite the latter often being victorious in blind taste tests.
Give your new website’s colour scheme plenty of research and thought!
Consider your website’s images
Images can often become a roadblock for website design. Since many people are unsure about the technicalities of either designing their own graphics or the legalities of taking existing images, this is a common stage to struggle.
However, images need not be stressful.
You can use sites like Canva to create your own imagery, or use sites like Unsplash to find your own free stock images that match the theme of your new website.
If you are running an ecommerce store with a service like Shopify, there are sometimes built-in services like Burst that provide a selection of free-to-use images.
Above all, ensure that any imagery used on your new website is:
- Legal for you to use
- In sharp focus and relevant to the topic of your site
Consider basic UX principles
This topic needs another one or two entire articles in itself. UX (user experience) is central to the success of your website, but what aspects can we touch upon?
- Make sure you have a reliable web hosting platform. If you are just starting out, it makes sense to pick one of the big players. For instance, WordPress is a very common choice for blog writers, and Shopify is the gold standard for an ecommerce website. Your users will have a much smoother experience if the site is hosted on a reliable server.
- Only meddle with code if you know how to. It can be tempting to log into the backend of your site and try to make changes to the code to improve a feature. However, it is best to leave coding to a professional, otherwise you risk detracting from the user experience if you make an error.
- Include expected website features. Think of things that every website has in order to improve UX. This could be along the lines of clear CTA buttons that state where a user will be taken on clicking a link, or navigation breadcrumbs.
It goes without saying that users are now browsing the web with mobile devices more than ever. Even a few years ago, the mobile experience was already asserting its dominance over its desktop counterpart.
With the current figure being approximately in the range of 60% mobile usage vs. 40% desktop usage, it is increasingly crucial to design your new website with mobile users at front of mind.
Always check that your site renders properly on mobile devices, testing it through your web hosting platform and visiting it on your mobile itself.
What is your desired customer journey?
When a visitor lands on your site, what would you like them to do? What actions would you like them to take?
Usually, the answer to this question would be something along the lines of:
“I want my visitors to engage with my call-to-action and sign up for my email list/get in contact with me/purchase my items”.
Once you know what your desired customer journey looks like for your new website, you can fill your landing pages with content that gently directs them towards that end goal. This is where engaging imagery and masterful copywriting paves the way towards your call-to-action.
The last thing you want is for a visitor to bounce away from your new website, so think of creative ways to keep them on your site for as long as possible.
Test for bugs
Before launching, it is vital to test your site and make sure everything works as expected. This way, you won’t be in for any nasty surprises when you start organising paid traffic only to find that your payment gateway doesn’t work, or your contact form doesn’t load.
Testimonials and reviews
The last thing you need to remember about your new website is that traffic won’t grow on trees! You need to nurture your current visitors so that they have a really positive experience and feel encouraged to leave a glowing review.
Make it obvious how to leave a review of your product or service - either send them a form or direct them to leave a review on platforms like Google or Yelp.