The internet has evolved and so has the way we use websites. In the beginning before the world wide web truly exploded, websites worked as a brochure for your business. It contained your logo, company name, some details about your background, and services or products. If you were savvy enough, your website might even have a lead form. Fast forward to 20 years later, websites have become so much more. It's now a company's virtual brick-and-mortar store or office. It's the first impression your potential customers will have of you.
The question I often get asked is, what makes a great website? The answer to that question relies on the structure, design, content, and user experience. A great website will give your company credibility and authority. It'll drive your online sales. In this digital age where all of your competitors are online, creating the best website can seem challenging. There's so much noise that it's hard to stand out.
If you're looking to give your website an upgrade, the first thing I'd advise is start with the end user. Ultimately, you are building your website for them. Your visitors are going to be the ones using it so make sure it satisfies their needs. The best place to start is by talking with your customers. What kind of questions do they have about your services? In the roofing industry, many people want to know the quality of the company's services. What's their reputation like? What kind of services do they offer? Does the company offer a warranty? If hired, what is the process like?
Once you've gathered the essential questions, the next step is to organize them into content. I write a lot about content in this blog, because it's so crucial to your marketing and website. Your website content needs to be targeted, authentic, and concise. The point here is to remember not to overshare. It's best to keep the content brief and informative. You only want to share what the customer is interested in reading. Nobody wants to go scrolling through large blocks of text.
Content writing can be one of the toughest parts of web building. The next part is structuring the content into different pages. I'd recommend sitting down with a sheet of paper and pen. You want to think of your website like a house that organizes everything in a clear way. Your website structure needs to be easy to navigate, access, and understand. When building a structure, you need to keep not only your visitors in mind but the web crawlers too. Search engines like Google frequently send web crawlers called spiders to scan the web for new links. When a link is discovered, it's placed in Google's large index. If your website isn't structured correctly, then Google will have a hard time indexing it.
One of the easiest mistakes an inexperienced web developer can make is weighing down the website with too much code and content. It only takes a split second for people to decide whether or not they are going to stay on your site. If your website doesn't load fast, then people will hit the back button and return to Google. When this happens, your bounce rate goes up. A high bounce rate tells Google your website isn't providing a good user experience, and the search engine will drop your web ranking. To grow your online visibility and sales, it's crucial to maintain a fast web speed. This means regularly doing web audits and cleaning up your website.
Design is one of the most important pieces of the web development process and shouldn't be overlooked. The look and feel of your website is all in the design, and it speaks volumes about your company. As the saying goes, pictures speak a thousand words. Share pictures of your team at work and previous roofing projects. When a customer lands on your website, the first thing they should see is a roofing picture. One word of advice here, try and avoid using stock images. People are savvy internet users and can tell the difference between real and fake. Stock images decrease the authenticity of your website.
A great website should be built for the end user. If you design and create with your audience in mind, your website will drive online sales. It’s the first impression a visitor will have of your business. The building and development of your website is only the beginning. The internet changes all the time and it can be easy to fall behind. To ensure your website continues driving sales to your business, it’s important to keep it updated with the latest best practices and tactics. When consulting with a client, I always recommend that they do a web audit at least once a quarter. You’d be surprised how quickly a website can age and become slow. By consistently staying on top of your website’s health and performance, your online visibility will grow and it’ll become easier to get traffic and clicks.