When it comes to creating website, there are two basic aspects that you need to pay close attention to. First – functionality, second – design. It’s not worth it to underestimate any of these two aspects for one simple reason. There’s nearly 1 billion websites out there for you to compete with. You might say that your SEO is the most important part, which is 50% right as without good SEO there will be very little number of people who actually get to your website. But if your site looks good and works well, people will like it and your SEO will improve too. It’s like one big circle. People are looking for something, your website has it, if it works well and looks good po tentially more people will come and like it when they’re looking for the same something. This way your circle rolls and gets bigger with every spin. Number of your visitors, readers and customers rises.
Functionality is not only about what happens when you click somewhere. It’s the entire picture of what your web page has on offer for anyone who opens it. You need to take it to next level and make it as complex as possible. Static website with simple information about you or your business are out of the league. Dynamic, interactive site is what you want to create. Yet, it needs to be well arranged and easy to navigate on.
Let’s start with what’s your website about. You need to know your target audience before you can start building anything. Are you creating online shop? Do you run a blog? What about directory portal? Or do you run a small business and need to promote it online? Whatever it is, try to answer following questions and think about them for a little while:
- Who will be reading your website?
- What are they going to look for?
- What do they like?
- What is the problem they need to solve?
- What they expect from you?
- Who is your competition and what they have to offer?
Answers to these questions will help you identify key elements you need to build your website around. After it opens, you have about 3 seconds to attract the attention. It’s mainly the header of your website that will be spotted first so choose wisely what you say in it. Maybe the short description of what you offer is enough. Use picture or map as this can be more than 1000 words when it comes to catching anyone’s attention. Headline and sub headline should briefly describe what’s the site about and don’t forget to mention the benefits you offer to your customers. Why are you doing what you’re doing? The honest motive from you will tell a lot about who you are and why anyone should trust you.
First impression is a crucial part of building a website. Make sure you spend as much time getting it right as necessary.
When you have mastered the way to attract people to stay on your website for more than 3 seconds, congratulations. It’s half of your success. Now let’s fill the rest of the site. I don’t wanna tell you what structure your site should have as this is a generic “create good website” article to help you get started and to boost your creativity. I will just focus on key elements that many people tend to forget about and which every good website should have. Please consider it as a marketing tips to improve your site conversion rate.
Call to action point
Motivate your site visitors to click further to your website. You need to be as creative as possible here as people are getting immune to “Get your free copy now!” buttons. You can try to be mysterious and appeal to human natural curiosity to make them click. Or let them realize you really have the answers they’re looking for. Subscription to your newsletter can be a matter of prestige, all the cool people are reading your site. This is about building your brand and about offering lots of useful info to your followers.
“Talk to us” is just one good example of possible CTA. It’s natural that you care about your customers and want to hear what are their thoughts and needs. Let them know about it in a polite and appealing way. Sometimes it’s just design and message on your CTA button what makes it work. Consider where you want your customers to land and what you want them to do at the end. You already know who your visitors are and what they need. Help them understand what you have on offer and let them choose the best option for them.
Social Proof and Success Indicator
Let’s keep it simple. People like what other people like and want what other people tried and approved. Testimonials are very powerful tool and you should use it to show that you’ve made some customers happy already. If you have couple of nice, trusty testimonials, consider placing them at the very top of the website. Include photo if you have one and always add social networks like, share and follow buttons. Comments from social networks tend to rank high when it comes to SEO. More people are talking about you, the better. It’s all about showing your site visitors that you have a good history to refer to and that you offer a quality and good service.
Another great way to promote yourself is pointing to your success indicators. It can be whatever you define as a sign of your success. Maybe you’ve won some competition or got review in a high profile business magazine. Most powerful are numbers. You might as well include a chart showing your sales increase over the year. Or number of your site’s visitors over a month if you run a blog. Think of what you’ve done and formulate it nicely, say what are you proud of.
Why are you doing it?
I presume you’re doing what you love to do and you’re good at it too. Push it a bit further and add a little extra comparing to your competition. When anyone comes to your website, there need to be a clear message saying, this is my specialty. You can be as great as you want if no-one knows about it. If people decide for you what benefit will they get? They will be much happier when you tell them what to expect and get them excited and motivated about it at the start. Of course you need to fulfill it later. Virtual world is not much different from the real one, real people are involved in it after all. So never promise anything you cannot give. Just be honest.
The Search box
As trivial as it may seem, search box is very important tool on your website. Everyone is different and might prefer other way of arranging information on your site. Thanks to search box, people will find what they’re looking for quickly.
Search box will make your site easy to navigate on and it also reduces the risk of people clicking back on it too fast.
Make sure your search box is well visible in the top section of your site and design it nicely to fit with the rest of the site.
If you run a directory portal, the search and advance search options are particularly important. It should be clear from the first sight that you can search and filter data using different criteria. You map can have location indicators and show results using pins. This is an useful feature that will add extra points to your interactive website.
Design is really a matter of taste. In each case, it needs to be professional. And that is exactly what WordPress Themes offer to you. By now, you have a clear idea of what do you expect from your site when it comes to functionality. You should read carefully all Theme features and description before you decide to buy it. Sometimes you need to buy an extra plugin to get functionality you need. Make sure the Theme is compatible with it.
All WordPress Themes are customizable. It depends on the level of your programming skills and framework on which the Theme is built, how difficult or easy it is to change pre-defined layout. I woulds recommend you to choose something you’re happy with for the start so you won’t be spending your precious time on altering basic design settings. Read some professional reviews on WordPress Themes so you get some good recommendations.
Let’s have a look at basic types of WordPress Themes:
- Blog Themes
- E-Commerce Themes
- Small Business promoting Themes
- Directory Themes
- Universal or Multi-Purpose Themes
- Business specific Themes
Initial purpose of WordPress and the main reason it was ever created was the idea of making a tool for bloggers to allow them easily publish their posts. WordPress as CMS has gone a long way since than and now we can say that Blog Themes are only one part of wide range of Themes in the digital ocean.
If you’re Blogger you can either have your own small blog site or decide to create a blogging portal. Inspire yourself and discover your possibilities. Introduce team of bloggers to the world and let each of them have their own personalized space for their readers. If you’re passionate about something, you know a lot about it and you can also give useful advice to others. Some people love reading blog posts just because of a nicely written presentation on certain topic. Some other are looking for insight from someone going through the same thing they went through.
When creating blogging website, you probably just need simple theme without any fancy features or plugins. It doesn’t need to be too expensive. Of course, you want your site to be secure so in a long run, it’s better to pay small fee for support, updates and security fixes than going for a free theme which might be out-of-date very soon. You will end up rebuilding your website all over again with different theme and it will cost you not only more money but your precious time too.
Having your own e-shop is like a big dream coming true. I still remember times where you actually had to go to the shop to buy something. Today, you can get online everything. Grocery, clothes, electronics, gifts, books… It’s saving your money too. First of all, you only buy what you intended to buy in the first place (mostly :)). Second reason for money saving is that with less operational and storage costs the goods can be cheaper. This is probably your biggest advantage if you’re building your online store.
- Search. This might seem easy at first but think about it. How many times happened to you that you couldn’t find the thing on the page even though you had your exact idea what you’re looking for? Just spend some time on it and get it right. It will add up to your good reputation and your customers will give you a thumbs up for it.
- Make it interactive and attractive. Provide extra info about each product and point at some good reviews, even outside your own page to help your customers make a decision. Categories, featured items and special offers need to be well promoted within your site. Portfolio, Members, Partners and Price Table are the key elements for organizing website.
- WooCommerce. Given that this plugin is used to operate about 30% of online stores, there’s no doubt that it’s one of the most popular eCommerce solutions. WooCommerce will give you possibility of accepting all major credit cards or you can go for a very safe option of using PayPal, it also facilitates BACS (bank transfers), and cash on delivery.
Small Business Promoting Themes
No matter how many giant stores will come to town or how fast will biggest online retailers grow. There will always be a special place for small businesses around here. Why? Simply because people running their very own small, family business are doing it with their heart. You will never get that personal touch in a large department store.
- Members – list your valuable team members and say why are they special. Say how experienced they are and show their talents and skills.
- Partners – this is a space to show your cooperation with the right people.
- Basic necessities like opening hours, location on the map (with navigation option), contact and reservation form, products and services elements.
- Testimonials – this is especially important for small business promoting site. Encourage your happy customers to leave you their valuable feedback.
Universal or Multi-Purpose Themes
There’s many WordPress themes that are called multi-purpose. This means that you can build (almost) any website you want with it. Great advantage of universal themes is that they’re flexible. Universal Themes put very little limitation as to what can you build with it. That gives your freedom and you can let your imagination run wild when building a website. Just always keep in mind the point one of this article and that is: Functionality. Go through every single point of requirement twice and check that the theme you chose suits your needs.
As this is highly individual for everyone, let me point out only one feature which will make your site even better. Multilinguality. If there is any pinch of possibility that you might want your website to be multilingual, prepare for it upfront. Get multilingual ready theme where adding another language will be a matter of one click rather than hassle full of installing new plugins and manually adding translation for things that are too boring. You can get nice, responsive themes with front-end and back-end translated for just few dollars extra at the start.
Business specific Themes
Promotional pages of business specific themes have been designed by professional designers and are great source of inspiration for your own website.
Also people designing business specific WordPress Themes have loads of experience with creating websites and they always include things that will make your life easier. You don’t need to use every single feature the Theme include, but read through them and compare them to your website functionality checklist to make sure you have everything covered. Sometimes you need to buy extra plugin to unleash Theme’s full potential. Check for compatibility and price upfront so there’s no surprises later. Once you have everything you need by hand, enjoy creating your very own, good looking website.