An 8-Step Guide to Making Sure Your Website Doesn’t Suck

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How did a computer parts manufacturer boost their website conversion rate by 3,600%? All it took was a few changes to their social sharing buttons. A well-designed website can truly outperform its flock of poor cousins when it comes to search traffic, page views and even revenue.

We all know that having a website is a standard business practice. But in order for it to be successful, you need to make sure your online presence doesn’t suck. Here’s how to create a killer website in eight steps.

1. Define Your Identity

First, you’ll need to choose a memorable domain name that’s relevant to your company or product. Advocating for animal rights? Does animaltesting.sucks make your message clear? Selling healthy, organic food? You can get your point across with junkfood.sucks.

Whatever you do, don’t rush this step. Your identity is what sets you apart on the web. The last thing you want is to end up with a domain name you’ll regret, like fckerbeck.com.

2. Set a Goal

Whether you’ve just launched your business or you’re looking to expand, a great website paves the road to success. On average, you have less than 15 seconds to impress (and retain) a visitor. Ask yourself what you want to achieve with your online presence. Are you looking to increase conversion rates, improve brand awareness or register campaign supporters?

Once you’ve decided, your objective will help shape the look and content of your website.

3. Find Inspiration

Laptop with photos, antler, candle

Once you’ve defined the purpose of your website, it’s time to activate research mode. Check out your competitors and jot down things you like about their sites. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here; drawing inspiration from what works in your market can create a strong foundation for your own website.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of creative websites to inspire you.

4. Work With Your Developer

Lots of people activate tunnel vision when it comes to creating their website, a fact developers know all too well. Spend some time with your developer to discuss your goals and brand identity.

A transparent website building process works best when all parties involved keep their communication channels open. It’s a two-way street: just as your developer needs to listen to your wishes, you need to trust their insights too.

To handle future maintenance and updates, ask them to set you up with a content management system that’s easy to use, like WordPress.

5. Create a User-Friendly Design

Did you ever leave a website because you couldn’t find what you were looking for? Sounds like a poor user experience.

With smartphone Internet consumption on the rise, a responsive design is key because it adapts your website layout to the user’s screen. In fact, you’ll lose about 38% of people straight away with an unappealing layout. It’s easy to recognize a poorly designed website—there are plenty out there. But the rainbow-colored palette and lack of navigation make this site a strong contender for least user-friendly website ever.

Be sure to ask a few people to test your site. They can catch any bugs or annoyances you and your developer might have overlooked.

6. Develop Relevant Content

Two monitors with design work

While an attractive website will persuade people to stick around, you’ll need to offer something of value to reward their attention, and that’s good content. Create an outline of key sections to include—what your business is about, what you’re trying to accomplish, how people can contact you, etc.

Limit it to a maximum of six categories to make your site easier to navigate. Then you can start developing content with your target audience in mind. Remember that your content needs to answer the question “Why?”. It’s easy to tell people to buy, click or tweet, but that doesn’t mean they’ll do it. You need to give them a reason to do so.

7. Learn SEO

Did you know that search engine optimization (SEO) has one of the highest returns on investment in marketing?

Until you have the means to bring in the big guns, you’ll need to navigate keyword targeting and link building on your website. It’s never too early—or too late—to learn the basics of SEO. By incorporating SEO tactics, you won’t have to worry about bringing customers to your site. Instead, you can focus on boosting the quality of your business.

8. Highlight Your Credibility

It’s not always easy being the new kid on the block. When you’re just launching a website, you need to build trust with your visitors. One way to do that is by including a testimonial section. A good review speaks volumes. By featuring people’s experiences with your company, your website gains both authenticity and credibility.

There you have it. Not only will these eight steps help you get started, they’ll also prove useful later in the game, when you’re looking to make updates to your site.

Now you’re ready to create a great, nay, killer website—register a .SUCKS domain today.

Photos: Carl Heyerdahl, I’m Priscilla, Tran Mau Tri Tam

 

dotSucks Registry

By building an easy-to-locate, “central town square”, dotSucks is designed to help consumers find their voices and allow companies to find the value in criticism.

 

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