How should your website look?
Making sure that your website looks exactly right means demonstrating a firm understanding of two things; the internet as an entity and the people who use it in terms of who they are and exactly what they will be looking for. When it comes to designing a website offering professional services of a high calibre, bringing together these two types of understanding in one seamless whole is the perfect means of maximising your appeal. This process amounts to attracting visitors to your site, retaining their interest after that first view and turning that interest into a decision to put their trust in your offer.
Perhaps the first thing to do when thinking about your website is to take a look at the sites of some of your competitors – not your direct competitors, however, since these are the people whose businesses have reached the level you’re already at. Instead, have a look at the sites of those competitors who are where you want to be in five or ten years’ time – what is it about the appearance of these sites that marks them out as being identifiably in your sector, yet clearly at a level to which you aspire? It’s not a question of copying them, since your site must, above all else, be a reflection of what makes your business unique, but of drawing inspiration from the way their site looks, feels and functions.
This last point brings us on to one of the most important aspects of your website – it should be as individual as you are. Think of the signs and symbols which businesses of all kinds use to create a ‘personality’ – a clearly definable impression of the kind of people they are, and the kind of job they’ll do. Logos, signage, the font of any official text; all of this matters when it comes to crafting a recognisable brand. Whether your prospective customer has made the journey to your place of business in person, or has found your website whilst browsing on a smart phone, the fundamentals remain the same – the customer wants to see a range of services clearly and conveniently displayed and explained, with a transparent pricing system offering competitive prices and customer service standards which reassure them that what they see and pay for is exactly what they’ll get.
Think of the look and functionality of your site as being like a slick and effective presentation of what makes you the right people to choose. A well-designed site will look appealing and will boast a navigation system which guides visitors towards what they want to find without making them feel they’re being pushed in a particular direction. The architecture of the site is the framework, on top of which the actual content is placed, and whether this content is the written word, imagery or (as is most likely the case) a combination of the two, it’s imperative that you ensure that said content is original, high quality and captures your offer succinctly and powerfully. Don’t be tempted to cut corners and save money by utilising stock imagery or hurriedly produced content – not only will your site look like a thousand others, but it will do a poor job of persuading visitors that they can expect a first class service. The fact that you’ve made an excellent job of building your website will persuade would-be clients, even if only on a subliminal level, that you’re capable of doing an excellent job for them. Professionalism, clarity and an adherence to high standards will be assumed to run through every part of your business. The final piece of advice is that the job of building your website is never truly finished, it needs to be regularly refreshed and updated with the kind of content that will maintain a steady stream of visitors, and completely revamped every 5 years or so – perhaps even more often as new technologies and means of accessing websites emerge.