The internet is ubiquitous — we turn to it to grab an address, make a phone call and even answer an embarrassing question. It’s no surprise that the web is our first stop.
The challenge for companies today is making a website a one-stop shop.
Laura Pearse, a website designer and developer and guest speaker at this month’s Social Media Breakfast Madison, introduced a total website transformation by beginning with a shift in mentality:
Think of your website as a product — an active tool that can deliver upon every aspect of your business or organization. Historically, we’ve thought of websites as a brochure, filled with static representations and descriptions.
Today, a website homepage needs to deliver on every facet of an organization or company’s services — all within a matter of seconds and on multiple devices. Competing for limited attention span and search engine placement, websites need to be intuitive and highly functional to return desired results.
Before diving into Pearse’s 10 tips, hone in on one or two reasons why someone would visit your site. These reasons should directly relate back to your organization’s mission, or should tie directly back to how your company measures ROI.
Take, for example, a school district website. Parents, students and staff visit a district webpage looking to answer several different questions: What is on the lunch menu tomorrow? What is the email of my daughter’s English teacher? Will there be a snow day today? The various reasons why a visitor might visit your page should be clear and easy to navigate, all within the first page.
Or, take for example, an education technology company with a high investment product that is targeting district-wide sales. Because converting leads into sales often takes multiple touch points, the ed tech company’s website should offer two primary features: 1) comprehensive product information (i.e., spec sheets, customer testimonials) and 2) a simple action visitors can take to learn more.
Ready to dive in? Here are Pearse’s 10 tips to breakdown a website transformation into bite-size pieces.
10 Tips for Transforming Your Website
- Visit your own website. Start at the homepage and take the perspective of a first-time viewer. Can you easily find contact information? Is there a search bar at the top of the page? How does the site look on a smartphone compared to a desktop?
- Test something. After doing some information gathering from above, test how a visitor on your website would complete one step on your webpage.
- Pass the “grunt test.” This is the ultimate test of simplicity. Could a caveman grunt what your organization or company does within five words or less from viewing the home page?
- Test load time. Use Google PageSpeed Insights to discover how Google ranks your site’s speed: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/. Google page ranking is not friendly to slow webpages.
- Optimize images. We’re all visual by nature. Are graphics the proper resolution, and do they convey the right tone or feel of your brand?
- Locate your call-to-action. Can you quickly locate the page to make a purchase, subscribe to an e-newsletter or make a phone call?
- Evaluate font size. Is font legible and scalable on a variety of devices? How many different styles of font are on any given page? Stick to two or three fonts.
- Showcase testimonials. We value customer opinion. Strategically place written reviews on homepage, or consider a separate page to gather testimonials.
- Google Analytics. Measurement is crucial for building and refining a successful website. Establish campaigns in Google Analytics to track how visitors are arriving to your site, where they are going on your website and for how long.
- Go “Crazy.” Crazy Egg provides a visual “heat map” of visitor clicks on a page, which will help you understand how to make the website easily navigable.
Want a second opinion? We’re ready to help! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how your website can become a one-stop shop.