5 Key Elements to a Great Website

June 27, 2013 Stephany Toman permalink

website constructionRemembering that your website is often your audience’s first encounter with your business will help you refine yours to make the best possible impression. There are aesthetic elements, practical components, and mechanisms behind the scenes that all contribute to a successful website. Let’s start with the aesthetic.

Beauty isn’t just skin deep, as we all know, but having your website reflect your brand in terms of look and feel is important. Your logo, your colors, your ambiance in terms of whether your business imparts a serene feeling, a hip and edgy look and feel, is cozy and intimate or larger and more open in feel, all of these matter when it comes to your site. It really comes down to matching your actual location’s style with your website’s style. You want your audience to get a feel for your setting well before they arrive for a spa or salon service. Setting the expectation from the outset establishes a sense of trust that you’ll be able to reinforce once that client walks through your door.

After the overall tone you set, you need to include the nuts and bolts of what people are seeking when they visit you. Your contact information should be prominent (above the fold) on every page on your site. Your hours should also be prominently displayed and current. If you expand your hours in the Summer, be sure your website reflects that so you capture the attention of the crowd who enjoys a nice after work massage or soothing hair appointment. Include your menu, too. What do you offer? We could include menu in the first section, because it reflects how you serve up your services, but it also serves up important details about your offerings. If you are a serene spa providing seaweed wraps and cucumber facials, you’re consistent from an offering standpoint, which, again, ensures the expectation set is the right one for everyone. Mostly, you need to tell them what you offer, and your service menu is a great way to do that.

As far as the mechanisms behind the scenes are concerned, we’re referring to those that help with local search. You are a local business being sought out by people within your community. Using the terms in your content, in natural language, that reflect who you are and what you wish to be known for will help a lot. You also need to be certain to have all of your local online listings current. All of them. Take time to go out and search CitySearch, Google+ and any other directories in your community to update your business information. People find you in many ways, mostly online, so no matter where they land they need consistent, current info on your business to conduct business with you. Reviews, and their display on your website, are also important. More people make decisions based on what others have experienced with your business than you might imagine. Embrace that tendency, and dedicate a section of your website just to reviews.

Many many of your visitors will find you using a mobile device, which means your website needs to look good no matter what they’re using. Responsive Website Design ensures what they see fits their device and offers up your key information. The last thing you want is a mini, vs appropriately adjusted version of your website for mobile devices. Ideally you’ll use one system that handles both your website and the mobile version – otherwise you will end up paying for two services and having to maintain two websites, essentially, which is  time consuming and expensive.

You also want people to come back. If someone has found your website, invite them to join your newsletter list. This will keep them in your news loop, and will allow you to create specials and interesting promotions that will entice them back for more visits. Using your social media will also provide a way to garner attention and begin conversations with your audience as well as offer up a way to promote to a receptive and engaged group.

Creating a great website isn’t rocket science, but it does require managing the key components we’ve outlined. Feel stuck or in need of ideas? We’re always here, and happy to help you refine and optimize your online ‘face’. Give us a call, we’re happy to help!

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