Your business website is the primary marketing tool that potential customers use to decide how much they really know, like, and trust you. Properly organizing your website is the crucial, first step in producing a website that will do just that.
We all surf the web and know a poorly organized website when we see one. But, just like you don’t notice when your car doesn’t break down, it’s what goes unnoticed that makes clean, well organized websites so much more effective. When everything is where you expect it to be, it’s so much easier to focus on the content.
Planning a fantastic website experience for your visitors will take some thought, but the hard work will quickly payoff. Here are a few things to consider, BEFORE you build your business website.
These are the links that are usually in the same place on every page. We all have muscle memory for using them, but a website’s primary navigation also has another, more subtle purpose. With just a few, well-chosen words, your navigation can instantly tell visitors what your website is about and what the most important pages are. Conversely, using drop-down menus is a great technique for “hiding” content from those who don’t care about it, while ensuring it’s easy to find for those that who do.
Choosing the actual words for these tabs can be tricky. They must make sense to the user and fully represent the pages they link to.
Example: Pretend you sell fancy candies. You find out from your sales department that many people want to know if your caramel candies are gluten-free. Your ingredients are all listed on your FAQ page, but with this new information in mind, it becomes clear that it needs to be brought to the forefront. You decide to make ingredients its own page and make it a drop down menu item under FAQs, accessible from every page. Once they click, they’ll see that all your products are gluten-free, and that you don’t even allow gluten in your kitchens!
They’ll be happy to place an order.
When planned, placed and sequenced correctly, a slideshow can be the perfect device to tell your story, without the visitor having to do a thing. A great slideshow is inspirational, and like a good movie trailer, will excite people and have them itching for more.
Example: Pretend you own a destination wedding business and a bride-to-be arrives on your website. Imagine her joy as she scrolls through photos of honeymoon-suites, private beaches, balconies on the sea, and even underwater snorkeling for her and her groom. By introducing the visual story upfront, you’ve gotten her excited about the experience, not just that you have accommodations available. She knows you have everything she’s looking for, and you’ll be her second-best valentine!
She’ll be thrilled to book her honeymoon.
Sidebars and Footers
Sidebars and footer menus are kind of like the catch-all for website navigation. They are the best place to show off the depth of your website as well as how active your company is. Blog headlines with dates will exhibit your expertise, while showing visitors that your website is actually current. Feeds from your social media profiles can entice visitors to interact with you in ways that they are already comfortable with.
Example: Pretend you are a skyscraper developer. Your website is geared toward leasing office space and it seems to be doing its job. One day, there’s a big news story about a group of 20 people who get stuck in an elevator for 7 hours. You’ve already hired the most reputable elevator company in the city, but no one knows that. So you quietly publish a new webpage about the elevators in your building—how many there are, their speed, and of course, your prestigious vendor information. You stick a link to the page in the footer and you’re done.
Now most people would not find that page very interesting, and many probably won’t even see it. But if that lone page helps sell even one small office, it was totally worth the effort.
A website is no longer just a fancy business card. Every square pixel must be purposeful and strategic by focusing on your customers. Keeping the less important details out of sight, but easy to find, is the tricky part.
It’s easier said than done. Need some help?