• Johanne

Checklist for an effective website

Getting a new website is an exciting step for your business. Whether you are in hospitality, an online shop, a hairdresser or butcher, there are lots of decisions to make. What colours to use, how to lay out the pages, what pages you need, what images you should use.


How a website looks is really important, but there are lots of other factors you need to consider to make sure your website will be fit for purpose. Here are some important questions to ask yourself or your web developer whether you are planning a new website or want to make the most of the one you have.


1) Does it meet the users needs?

UX or user experience is a term you might hear when it comes to websites. When a website is designed it is really important that it meets the users' needs. Creating something with lots of cool features won't hit the mark if your customers can't do what they need to quickly and easily.


2) Is it compliant?

There are a few things that all websites need to be compliant as well as some independent specific requirements.


In general, all websites in the EU (and UK even now Brexit is official) need to have a separate cookies and privacy policy.


Depending on the legal status of your company, you might need to show your company registered office address and company number on the homepage. If you are VAT registered, this needs to be prominently displayed on your website too.


These details are most commonly placed in the footer.


3) Is it optimised for mobile?

With more than half of all global website traffic coming from mobile users*, you really need a website that works on a mobile device. That means fast loading, no huge images, links and buttons that aren't too close to other text...and that's just for starters.


If you are lucky enough to have some data from an existing site, use that to guide your decisions on this one. If most of your users come from mobile, ask your web developer for a 'mobile first' design. That means the entire website is designed to work well on a mobile device first, with the desktop version being considered second.


4) SEO; will people find me online?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, this is how websites are found online. Make sure your new website has a built in tool to allow you to change the meta titles and descriptions. These are the titles and blurbs that show up on search engines- I purposely didn't just say Google, because there are others that are well used, believe it or not!


When you are writing the content (or copy as we like to call it), think about what people will be searching for online, and include those words naturally. You might want to consider getting help from a copywriter for this.


5) Analytics; how many people visit my site and what do they do?

If you don't have a way to monitor your site analytics, you won't be able to know you are doing well. You might be delighted to make 100 sales, but what if you knew that 6000 people had visited the site? That's not such a good return.


Make sure you have analytics set up on your site so you can monitor visitor numbers, how long they spend, popular pages, where they leave your site. That will help you plan new content, optimise your page layouts and make sure your conversion rates are what you expect.


Already got a website and you are getting a new one?

There is one more question for you, and it is very important.


6) What about my existing domain name and URLs?

If you already have a website you are probably going to want to have the same web address (domain). Make sure your web developer has a plan in place to migrate your new website to the existing domain.


If your page URLs are changing, make a list of all the existing URLs and set up redirections to the corresponding pages on the new site. This means if there are links out there in old newsletters, social media posts or in people's favourites, they will still be able to find you.


Ivyhill Digital can offer project management of your new website to make sure it not only looks good, but is effective. We can work alongside your web developer, or find one for you, and make sure the site ticks all the boxes from a functionality and marketing perspective.


If you already have a website but you aren't sure if these boxes have been ticked, a website audit would be a good place to start. It will cover all of these areas and help you to see how well your website is performing.


Get in touch for your free consultation today and see how we can help you.



References

*https://www.statista.com/statistics/277125/share-of-website-traffic-coming-from-mobile-devices/

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