16 Tips for a Better Website

By / Feb 20, 2013 / Tips
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Want a better website and don’t know where to start? Or, do you think your website changes are out of your control?

Many website owners think a better website means a complete overhaul – a brand new website. In some cases that may be true, but in my experience a couple tweaks can make the difference between bland and beautiful.

There are hundreds of things you could be doing. But, I want to take you beyond just spell-checking your site for errors.

Here are 17 ideas you can put into action right now:

1. Condense your menu

Do you have twelve items under one heading on your navigation bar? If so, you might want to look at tidying up. A cleaner navigation makes things easier to find. When things are easier to find, it creates a better experience for your site’s visitors. Plus, they’ll be less likely to hit the back button because they won’t be frustrated trying to find what they need.

17 Tips for a Better WebsiteBeautiful menu from website TRUENORTH

2. Have a call to action on every page

Every page on your website should be making your visitor act on something. Maybe it’s to get them to purchase your ebook, view your credentials, or watch a demo video. Whatever it is, make it known to the user. Remember, they don’t want to think when they’re browsing your site. Whether it’s a button or a hyperlink, but something on every page that leads them to the action you ultimately want them to take.

3. Put your phone number on your homepage

Every website should have their phone number. Seems obvious, right? But, many don’t. It’s often buried on a contact page or not on the site at all. Big mistake! Many visitors head to your website just to find your phone number, so make it prominent on your homepage. The top right corner is usually best – or, I’ve also seen it down in the footer. Regardless, put it up there!

17 Tips for a Better WebsiteImage from Emir Ayouni

4. Add business hours

Similar to the phone number above, when is your business open? Can I call you at 6am? What if I’m bringing my parents to your restaurant and it’s 10pm – will we be able to eat? These questions are inside the head of your customers more than you think. Making your hours known solves this, so put them up for all to see.

5. Add an about us page

Who are you? Do you work with a big team? When a business person – or consumer – selects a company to do business with, they often like to know who they’ll be working with. Add pictures of your team with real bios. Sure, professional experience is awesome, but list your hobbies, family life, and things you like to do for fun. Bottom line: show you’re a real human being.

17 Tips for a Better WebsiteAbout page from Mostly Serious

6. Use big, bold images

This seems to be a pretty big trend in web design, but it’s because images speak louder than words. Capture your visitors with beautiful imagery. Take pictures of your team in action, shots of the local area, or recent projects you’ve worked on.

7. Add a directions widget

For those without a GPS, directions are convenient for just about anybody. Google has a free map widget you can add to your site. Just enter your address and you’ve got directions right to your front door. It shows prospective customers you care about the whole experience.

17 Tips for a Better WebsiteImage from Dash

8. Make your site mobile-friendly

Mobile is huge right now. With over 50% of Americans owning a smartphone, your new customers are likely to come from mobile browsing. But, it’s tough to navigate a site not optimized for a tiny screen. There are plenty of inexpensive tools to create a mobile website from your current site. Explore those or get a designer to make your site mobile-friendly.

9. Match your company branding

Did you just update your logo or change your company colors? Make sure your brick and mortar experience matches your online experience. It helps to create brand awareness so customers recognize your company when they’re on the road or describing it to colleagues.

10. Cut the distractions (ie. music and splash pages)

Do you have Frank Sinatra playing on your site, or a splash page that blocks people from getting to what they need? Remove it all. Why? Not only is it annoying for many visitors, but it distracts them from doing what you want them to do.

11. Get social with your customers

Haven’t hopped on social media yet? These days, it seems like the entire world is on social media in some way. We’re social people who like to interact with friends, family members, and even strangers. Plus, we listen to their recommendations. You want in on this community building. Get started with a Facebook page or Twitter account and focus on mastering one of them. Then move to the next network.

17 Tips for a Better WebsiteImage from Visual Idiot

12. Add industry resources

Want to establish yourself as the company to go to in the industry? Then add some resources to your website. This could be reports, surveys, white papers, or helpful links. This material demonstrates to prospective customers you know your stuff. So, get writing!

13. Put your customers to work – add testimonials

Your current customers are a huge asset to your company because they can provide real-world case studies – and testimonials – as to how your company has helped them save time, save money, etc. Reach out to your best customers and ask for a testimonial. Here’s a tip: have it pre-written, so all your customer has to do is approve it.

14. Figure out your site’s main goal

Why do you have a website? What do you want your site to do? After you figure out these two questions, make sure your website accomplishes the goal: add or delete pages, restructure your site, make a new landing page, etc. Make your goal a top priority. And let your team know what that goal is so they can help out too.

17 Tips for a Better WebsiteImage from Riley Cran

15. Start from scratch

While this isn’t recommended because it takes a lot of time, money, and resources, it may be worth it. If you’ve got an old website, starting over with brand-new technology would be smart, rather than trying to patch what you already have. Start with a pencil sketch of what you want and assemble the best team to make it happen.

16. Hire a professional

This leads me to hiring a professional. If you’ve kept your web work in-house, it may be worth looking at bringing in the big guns. They’ll not only move the project forward, but they’ll bring their own experience and expertise to the project.

17 Tips for a Better WebsiteImage from Jeff Broderick

Again, there are more than 17 tips to a better website, but this should be a good start for you. Pick
a couple and make the changes to your site – or have a developer/designer do it for you.

Best of luck taking your website to the next level!

About the Author

Michael Adams is the Marketing Manager at Fourtopper. Discover how Fourtopper brings more to the table for restaurants, cafes, and bars.

15 Comments

  1. Nathan Wilkins
    February 20, 2013

    I agree with the distractions. I hate it when I visit a website and music is blaring out, just distracts from what you are trying to promote or sell! I also agree with condensing the menu. I only five main links on my website but I know others with 10+ and takes longer finding the content..

    Reply
  2. Web Design Wolverhampton & Birmingham
    February 20, 2013

    We’re all in favour of number 16! :)

    Reply
  3. Michael
    February 21, 2013

    I definitely agree, Nathan! It’s amazing how many people still have music on their site. I just found a site with a broken stop button – drove me nuts! And simple menus always win out, in my opinion.

    Thanks for commenting!

    Reply
  4. Web Design Malaysia
    February 21, 2013

    Have a call to action on every page! worked since day one!

    Reply
  5. Steve Bonin
    February 22, 2013

    Hi Michael,
    Great Post! I wish I had wrote it.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Michael
      March 5, 2013

      Thanks, Steve – glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  6. Stephen Howson
    February 25, 2013

    I’m not sure I would say hours of operation or calls to action are applicable to each website.

    You need to tailor the website to the purpose and not cookie cutter it to some generic everyman site.

    For example, my agency is responsibe for a Manchester United news website. This is has no requirement for hours, testimonials or calls to action.

    But the list is a good start point for a lot of business!

    Reply
    • Michael
      March 5, 2013

      Great point, Stephen. For many websites, you do want to funnel your visitors through to make sure they see the content you want them to see.

      In the example of your news site, you’re right – it’s not too applicable. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  7. Design Turnpike
    February 25, 2013

    Great tips – I believe I have the branding, bold big images and social down pat – need help on my mobile version.

    Reply
  8. Arya
    February 25, 2013

    thanks!

    Reply
  9. Jörg Spieler
    March 7, 2013

    Hire a professional … Yes, many people think that it is so easy to make a new “homepage” ;) for a company. It is so cheap with those free tools. But if the website should be really successful it needs ALL of these points.

    Reply
    • Michael
      March 14, 2013

      Hi Jorg,

      Thanks for the comment! You are spot on. Free tools only take you so far. To get a homepage that converts, these tips will certainly help.

      Reply
  10. Nick Williams
    March 21, 2013

    These are great points when creating a website. So many times I have seen over crowded websites that either have so much going on you don’t know what to do or there is so much information you have to stay home from work to read it all. In a day and age where there is so much “in your face” type of media and advertising, it is refreshing to come across and simple and clean website that is effective in its purpose.

    Reply
  11. Ryan
    July 16, 2013

    The power of customer testimonials is highly under valued. I recommend to all my clients a strong program that encourages customers to get online and leave testimonials. It takes a lot of work to get clients bought into the process, but once the customers start pouring in, they are definitely thankful. Great read, thank you!

    Reply
  12. QuizGlobal
    October 7, 2013

    Great Article – point 1 is very good because I personally believe ‘Less is More’. I think most websites should also add the Google translate functionality (I have it added with a small bit of CSS on my site – fits nicely). I think point 8 is very important as half of my visitors are now mobile – a responsive web page is way forward. The advantages of a responsive web page are huge – no need to install an app or develop different apps for different mobile devices etc.

    Good article thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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