Launching a website is an exciting step for your business, but ensuring that it achieves everything you need it to can be a challenge. From displaying the correct information in a coherent way, to being accessible and intuitive for all, websites must go far beyond the initial ‘visual impact’.
Here are 8 of the most important considerations you should make before launching a new website:
1.What is the purpose of your website?
Defining a clear objective for your website is crucial. You should identify what the ideal user experience is and what action you want visitors to take at the end of their journey. Do you want a product to be purchased, a newsletter to be subscribed to, or a query to be submitted? Will your website be built to handle enquiries, engage users, or maybe just boost brand awareness?
It’s only by fully understanding the website’s purpose that you can select the correct management system. There are multiple systems to choose from, such as WordPress, which will allow you to customise functionality and add your own personalised features. Meanwhile, Wix and Squarespace are less customisable, but they come with pre-designed templates for you to use and are easier to both set up and operate.
2. Do you know what visitors are looking for?
Once you have established the website’s purpose, you need to consider what visitors are looking for. Market research is one way to delve into what your target audience wants and how your website can address their needs. Once armed with this information, you will be able to tailor your website to meet their requirements. For example, if you know your target audience are textile manufacturers, and you’ve discovered that they want a more environmentally responsible ink to print with, make this solution easy to find. If you’re seeking to validate your product offering and experience, make your case studies prominent.
3. Can users find what they want?
Visitors to your website should be able to easily find the information they are looking for, regardless of their background or their geographical location. Avoid frustrating user experiences with clearly signposted content, straightforward navigation bars and intuitive micromovements, and guide engaged visitors further down the conversion funnel.
If a website is difficult to navigate and information is hard to find, users will leave as quickly as they arrive – and that’s why many web designers cite navigability as the most important consideration when building websites.
4. Can visitors read your website easily?
Regardless of background or age group, every website visitor should be able to read the displayed content easily. Some easy ways to ensure pages are clear and legible include using a coherent typeface and layout, as well as clear imagery, font sizes and colours.
Besides considering formatting, try using subheadings, shorter paragraphs and bullet points when writing website copy – this will help break the page down into manageable chunks for your readers. After all, websites are essentially a way of communicating directly with your target audience, and if you fail to communicate well, your website won’t deliver the results your business needs.
5. How accessible is your website?
A fundamental consideration when creating a new website is making sure that it is accessible to everyone, regardless of background, abilities or disabilities. By appealing to the largest possible target audience, you are ensuring that all users have equal access to the information, functionality and features of the website, for example by including descriptive alt-text for images or by building accessible forms that are appropriately labelled.
Through the implementation of basic accessibility standards, you are also helping people who, for example, have misplaced their glasses, or who can’t listen to audio because they’re in a public place. By offering alternative methods of accessing content, you’re giving a positive impression of your brand to a broader range of people.
6. Have you considered tests on different browsers?
Also referred to as ‘browser compatibility’, website compatibility is the art of making websites compatible across a range of browser platforms. When building your website, ensure that the site is tested on different browsers, operating systems and monitor resolutions, as each will render the website differently.
Similarly, mobile versions of your website should also render correctly and consistently. With 50% of B2B search queries today made on smartphone1, it’s important that your website displays correctly for users regardless of the device they’re viewing it on. If not, you will alienate a significant chunk of your target audience.
7. Will your website engage visitors?
Your website may have all of the right information, but if it’s not displayed in an engaging, interesting way, your website’s results will suffer. Using different types of content will help your site climb search engine rankings, boost traffic, and increase your likelihood of converting new clients. Consider using infographics, optimised landing pages, testimonials and downloadable content to really appeal to your target audience. A clever, engaging way of enabling users to digest information quickly, and in a way they’ll remember, is through video. Visitors tend to stay on websites for longer with video, and are more likely to interact with your call to action.
8. Finally, is your website easy to use?
Making sure that traffic is driven to your website is only half the battle. The biggest challenge is ensuring that visitors are compelled enough to complete an action, and to return to your website again and again. If your website is easy to use, clear and structured, with information that is easy to retrieve, you are well positioned to provide your visitors with a positive experience and convert traffic. Websites that place restrictions on users, for example, with disabled buttons or links that don’t work properly, will leave a negative impression of your business.