It’s probably fair to say that digital marketing is starting to overtake more traditional means of marketing. This is especially true if your target audience is of the younger generation. So getting online and displaying your products and services via a website is more important than ever.
But a common issue startup businesses have is ensuring that their website looks professional. The easiest way to do this is to throw a lot of money at a company who specialise in website design and development, but few new businesses are able to justify such an expense. Instead, they tend to cobble something together themselves, with little guidance to go on. However, as your website is probably the first thing a potential customer sees when forming an impression of your brand, you need to ensure that it looks as professional as possible.
Your website should tell viewers what you’re offering, determine that you can fulfil the needs of your customers, and demonstrate that you’re a credible business in the market. It’s hard to overstate the importance of how much your website can offer your business, from boosting customer engagement to improving conversion rates. So how can you make your website look more appealing to your audience?
Why is a Professional Website Important?
You don’t want to scare off any potential customers when they first encounter your website. But if it’s got a bizarre structure, has slow loading times, or contains irrelevant content along with low quality images, that’s precisely what your site will do. Regardless of how good your product is, if what you’re offering isn’t displayed well, your business is unlikely to succeed.
Your website will say a lot about your business and your brand. And by making a few simple changes to your site, you should be able to elevate these things. In turn, this may lead to attracting more customers and increasing your revenue.
How to Make Your Site Look More Professional
Obviously the degree to which you can amend your website will depend on the platform it is built on, as well as your budget. But even if you’ve just knocked up a quick WordPress site, there are loads of things you can do to improve overall site performance. We’ve outlined four steps below to help you get started.
1. Keep Your Message Consistent
Firstly, your message needs to reflect your brand. If you’re offering the latest tech products, your site needs to be as sleek as possible, from the images displayed to the font style and tone of voice. Your brand colours and other stylistic choices also need to be consistent, as well as reflective of what you do. With the above example, bright primary colours would probably look out of place – darker, richer colours or monochromes would undoubtedly link better to your product.
Consistency is essential when establishing any brand. It not only shows a high level of professionalism, it also allows your audience to recognise your brand quickly and take your business more seriously. And you need to be consistent everywhere, not just on your own website. If you use social media, (and you should!) your tone and style should match that of your brand.
2. Functionality First
It can be easy to get a bit carried away with making a beautiful website. And your aesthetic is important! But functionality should come before creativity. So consider the end goal of your site. Are you trying to sell a product or service, or perhaps the aim is to get sign-ups for something? No matter what the goal is, you need to make your Call to Action (CTA) incredibly visible and obvious.
Once you have a solid foundation of functionality, you can then start to look at the more creative aspects of your site. Just try not to undo all of your hard work by replacing ease-of-use with aesthetic!
3. Design is Essential
When it comes to the design of your website, high quality images are crucial. A pixelated image will reduce the aesthetics of your site, and will also imply that you don’t put much value on your digital assets. And if these poor quality images are of your products, that will reflect extremely badly on your professionalism.
If possible, try to avoid too many stock images, as these could also be found on other websites. It’s additionally a good idea to include media other than just images – try to add video content to your site too.
4. Keep the User in Mind
While you should love the aesthetic and functionality of your site, you’re not the target audience. You need to consider how user-friendly your website is, such as how easy it is to navigate and whether the relevant information is clear and concise. Loading speed is also an important factor when it comes to functionality. Try and get this as fast as possible, by doing things like minimising files and moving your site to a better host.
In terms of the layout and flow, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t hide key pages, with a link only included in the footer. But it’s just as important to remember that having to click through too many pages to get to a particular page may lead to users leaving your site altogether. People want to be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
With Google’s new Page Experience algorithm, keeping your user in mind is more important than ever. For more information on what this update means, you can check out our blog post on the changes you should make in order to continue ranking in Google. And if you’d like further help or advice on improving your website, we’d love to hear from you!