When it comes to any online business, having a decent website is key to making a good first impression.
Your business’ homepage is the equivalent of a shop window that’s open and accessible 24/7; it needs to bring visitors in and encourage them to engage. Social media, advertising etc are important, but your own website is really the first step for serious leads to become a customer or client.
The sad fact of the matter is, many websites are in drastic need of an overhaul. Having a site that is outdated, full of broken links and bugs is just not selling yourself in the best possible light. Even a technically sound, but dull website will not make great strides for any potential customers. If you want to stand out against your competitors and make a real impression to website visitors, it’s time to freshen things up a bit.
Here are three factors to consider to liven up your website, and create an engaging and invigorating online presence for your business.
Web users will judge a book by its cover. Research by Josh Schwartz at Chartbeat claims that most people will only read 60% of a web page, and 10% do not scroll at all – and that’s if they don’t bounce first! First impressions are everything, which is why the design of your site has to be slick.
Whilst giving your site a design overhaul does require a certain level of expertise, and you will probably need to hire a web designer, the effects are worth it. A nice design style at the moment is parallax scrolling – an impressive technique in which the background of the website moves at a different speed as the rest of the page. This gives your site an interactive feel, so can help bring it to life and can be used to great advantage when it comes to branding and storytelling.
Parallax scrolling can be used to create a simple yet dynamic homepage (e.g. Yebo Creative or Cultural Solutions), to appear to make something “move” (e.g. Head2Heart or Jan Ploch) or more impressively for serious branding (e.g. KitKat). However far you want to take it, this technique can really help bring your website to life.
The fonts you choose for your website play a huge role in how dated or stylish your website looks. Of course the main factor to bear in mind is readability, but fonts also have a big impact on your branding.
One of the main font decisions you will have to make is whether to opt for serif or sans serif. The traditional view is that serif fonts work better in printed formats whereas sans serif fonts are better for web. Screen resolutions can often vary (compared to the high quality resolution of print) hence it’s safer to go with a sans serif font – like the majority of websites today.
However, what with screen resolutions getting ever better (even on tablets and mobiles), this point may not be as quite as valid as it once was. Therefore if you’re looking to stand out online and give your branding a bit of an overhaul, why not try a serif font? Font providers such as Google Fonts offer thousands of options to choose from, so you can play around and see what reads well – and what fits with the brand identity you are trying to create.
Even if it may ultimately be preferable to stick to sans serif for the bulk of your text, swapping a few headings or titles to serif fonts can be a great way to create a unique and innovative web style – and give your website a fresher look.
At the end of the day, your website content needs to live up to any design or fonts it is flanked in. Many businesses don’t update their websites once they’ve produced the necessary web copy required, meaning your site just is left to stagnate with old (and often outdated) information.
One of the best (and easiest) ways to liven up a website and have a continually updated web presence is through a blog. Updating your site with freshly written content and industry news will not only be beneficial for your SEO, but will demonstrate that you are on top of you game and in-the-know when it comes to new developments in your industry.
Passle research shockingly shows that only 1 in 8 businesses had an updated blog (of more than 3 posts a year). This may not seem a big deal, but having outdated content on your website can be detrimental to your business – just think what it looks like to potential customers if you’ve only got one blog post written in 2009!
Despite the fact that so few companies are managing it, blogging doesn’t need to be as difficult as statistics suggest. Using a blogging platform specifically designed for small businesses (such as Passle) can really help you create new content quickly, and with minimal effort. So you can easily bring new life to your website through fresh, relevant and interesting content – demonstrating your industry expertise to website visitors, and leaving them with a good impression of your business.