Your website is the first impression that you make and leave with your customers. Whatever you do and say during that initial moment will likely last the through the entire customer/client relationship. Making a good impression counts, and there are a few key pillars to follow to help make that good first impression happen.
With a website, the decisions made while building it have a direct effect on that first impression. There are four foundational pillars that must be in place if we want our site to make a lasting impression.
Great Websites Leverage Platforms
You might think you need to reinvent the wheel in order to have a strong and lasting effect. The fact is, many times the opposite is true. Platforms are proven systems and methodologies that tie the web together. Content management software like TodayLaunch CMS serves as a platform, as do platforms like WordPress for blogging. Great websites utilize existing strong platforms to gain a marketing advantage because they leverage those that have gone before them.
This rule applies to the software that a website uses “under the hood” just as much as it applies to the front end look and feel. Left-hand navigation and regular old drop down menus may sounds traditional, but they are familiar to your audience. Sometimes effective movement from here to there is all you need to make your website last.
Don’t reinvent. Leverage great platforms for greater appeal.
Great Websites Have Great Purpose
The world’s greatest websites all serve a great purpose – their audience. Ask yourself, “what’s in it for the visitor?” Why should they visit your site, or share it with their friends? What reason are you giving to make them want to come back?
Answering questions like this at the beginning as you build your site ensures that it is finely tuned to the customer’s needs, and ready to create a memorable experience. The website that serves as little more than an online brochure is a thing of the past. Web savy consumers expect our site to do something for them, or to help them in some way. These sites are “customer centric” and they are more vital today than ever.
Remember your customer’s needs. Build your website to meet them, not yours.
Great Websites Follow A Great Practice
Many of us don’t realize that Google has developed a series of “best practices” for the web. These guidelines are not only related to how the site is built, but how the content is written as well. When search engines like Google index the webs content for search purposes, they are looking for a few specific hooks that help define what your site is all about. Understanding these practices will help your site’s search performance, and provide a more relevant experience for those who arrive at the site via search traffic.
The key here is following the pathways that have already been defined. Great page structure is something for our web developer to do, but writing great content that helps us rank well via search is also very important. This means great headlines, and helpful content that our customers not only want, but need.
Learn the best practices, and follow them.
Great Websites Are Portable
The Internet of today isn’t confined to the desktop PC; your audience has gone mobile. With the adoption of smartphones and tablet PCs, users are browsing the web more than ever. The sites they stay on while using these devices are those that provide them with the best experience. You have to remember that you have a long list of competitors when it comes to the web. There are thousands of sites as apps that are begging for your customer’s attention. If the customer is provided a sub-par experience, i.e. one that is not optimized for the mobile screen, you’ll lose an opportunity to keep them around.
Your website must be prepared for mobile visitors if you want to keep them, and more importantly, keep them coming back for more.
The Four P’s
The four pillars of a great website are just as foundational as they sound. They are the keys to keeping any great website in the air, and flying high in the customer’s mind. Choosing to build your site on these foundational ideas will move you beyond a basic web presence into something that is more meaningful for everyone involved.