What is it that separates failed websites from companies with highly successful sites? What makes a good website great?
Every day, businesses launch their new websites for the world to see with dreams of an instant boom in new customers. And, every day, there are nearly as many businesses whose websites fail to meet their expectations.
Defeated but still determined, many companies try to guess the weak link in their website. But, after spending even more money chasing issues they can’t see, they are often left with the same disappointing results as before. On the other hand, there are also companies whose websites act as their greatest salesperson—one that works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
In this blog, learn about the prerequisites and best practices to build a high-performing website.
How to Improve Web Design With These Prerequisites in Mind
Before you even think about investing in a new website or overhauling your existing one, you need to have your KPIs (key performance indicators) and goals clearly outlined. Without them, you start a marathon with no clue where the finish line is. Therefore, you need to have crystal clear KPIs and goals to guide you along the path toward your finish line.
For example, one of our clients is an enterprise orthopedic clinic in the Philadelphia area that had a very feeble website before coming to us. They did not have clear growth goals. KPIs were nowhere in sight and they were losing out on the patients that their website could be bringing to them. While we did not rebuild their website from scratch, our approach enabled them to see exactly what parts of their website were working and those that were not.
With that approach in place, we developed a KPI for the website to gauge its performance. In this case, the KPI effectively measured how many first-time patients scheduled appointments through the website. With that KPI set (among others), we set a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goal for how many new appointments we wanted from the website. To see how their website performance improved, click here.
An Unavoidable Part of Web Design: Data
Assuming that you have your KPIs and SMART goals set, you still need a way to see whether your website is reaching your audience. Without data, you have no idea what to change about your website. Businesses do not build successful websites on hunches and suspicions. Instead, they make data-driven decisions to guide their website development.
You don’t know what you don’t know, and without collecting data, you don’t know a lot. Luckily, you have a wide variety of data collection tools at your disposal. As long as you build a strong foundation for your website, you can integrate such tools into your site to get in-depth data tracking about every part of your website.
A Discrete But Powerful Conversion Asset
Like data, internal links are an essential part of every successful website and can even be what makes a good website great. Internal links take website visitors from one page to another page of the same website. In other words, they save the visitor time and effort by taking them directly to where they want to go.
In terms of website conversions, internal links serve two primary purposes:
- Push visitors towards conversion pages
- Prompt visitors to act
Pushing visitors toward your conversion pages is an essential part of the conversion process. If you write content that adds value to their lives but does not prompt them to explore your business further, that content is worthless to your business.
Instead, you should use internal links to take visitors from pages that rank well to pages that convert well. That way, the time and money you invest in your content are worthwhile.
Likewise, we recommend that you use internal links as portals to your CTAs (call to action). In doing so, you can usher visitors towards those CTA pages that are otherwise hard to find. From there, visitors can input their information or do whatever the CTA page prompts them to do—capturing them in your marketing funnel.
Don’t Make People Think
What makes a good website design? Should you sacrifice content to make an ultra-modern and minimalistic site? Or, try to give your visitors access to a plethora of valuable information? As your data will eventually tell you, finding a balance between these two extremes is best. Your website should ideally be visually appealing and easy to navigate but still contain content that gives the visitors real value in exchange for their time.
As Steve Krug says in his book, “Don’t Make Me Think,” people rarely want to do more work than they have to. In terms of your website, don’t make people think too hard to find or consume your content. If they have to navigate through pages upon pages of lists only to find walls of text at the other end, they will simply leave your website and go to the next search result.
Content That Caters to Both Google and Human Nature
By nature, the vast majority of searches on Google involve a question. You type a query into the search bar, and Google returns websites with the best answer to your question. If you format your content to answer specific questions that your target audience asks, you will improve your chances of ranking and enhance your user engagement.
We recommend formatting your website and content according to the principles of QWASI.
In other words, write it in terms of Questions With Answers and Simple Information.
By presenting your content in QWASI, visitors can quickly find the answer they were looking for instead of being scared off by a dense wall of text.
Websites Are a Work in Progress
No website is perfect. Even the biggest, most popular sites on the internet are constantly changing. Therefore, building a website is far from a one-and-done deal.
When companies come to us and ask us to build a website for them, they have to expect that it will need tweaking. Although many businesses don’t realize it, a website is never in its final form. Perhaps so many websites fail because only 17% of marketers A/B test their landing pages to see what works best.
No company or vendor can fully optimize a website on their first try. No matter how much data they consider before making decisions, unexpected outcomes will occur and require changes. Often, their response to the unforeseen is what makes a good website great.
Building a website is very similar to rocket science for the Apollo missions. Even though the Apollo rockets ran off of computers that were less capable than your phone, they were able to fly to the moon and back. How did they accomplish that task with such limited technology? Constant adjustments.
The Apollo rockets were off-course nearly 97% of the time they were in flight. However, the astronauts constantly adjusted their flight path to guide them successfully to and from the moon. When you shoot your website off into the internet, you also need to make constant adjustments.
Whether search engine algorithms change, your monitoring software reveals weaknesses in your site, or your business shifts, your website reflects the constantly changing state of your business and its marketing.
The Next Step for Your Website
As you may already know, building or overhauling your website is not easy. If it was, then every business would have a successful website, and you would not be reading this blog. To set your website on the right path, we recommend that you:
- Establish KPIs and website goals
- Collect data on every part of your website
- Follow the lessons in “Don’t Make Me Think”
- Format your content in QWASI
- Treat your website design like piloting the Apollo rockets
With these principles and best practices in mind, your website will be on its way toward performing at its best. With that said, to get the best results, we recommend having professionals handle your website development. But, hiring full-time web developers and marketers to combine your website into your marketing plan is expensive. That’s why we recommend you use a team-based approach to your marketing and web development.
With a team-based approach, you will get the benefits of having a team of full-time web design and marketing employees while saving at least 40% compared to any traditional marketing alternative. If you want to partner with us in a team-based approach for your website design and marketing needs, contact us today.
If, however, you’d like to try your hand at an in-house website makeover, we recommend saving yourself time and money by first downloading our free checklist on 10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid During Your Next Website Redesign.