10 Steps to Create an Engaging & Exceptional Website

It’s a mantra as old as time and it still rings true for both in-person and online interactions – You only get one chance to make a first impression. It takes mere seconds for a visitor to decide if they want to remain on your website or search elsewhere. So, while it’s imperative to create a website that will help your business grow and gain traction, your website should also make a strong first impression and keep visitors engaged from their first click!

Following are ten steps to consider when overhauling an existing website, or building a new one from scratch, that’s engaging, on-brand, easy to navigate, stylish, and helps you achieve your business goals.

  1. Determine what you want your website to accomplish

    To start, think about your business and how your customers will need to interact with you. Is your website purely for customers to obtain information about your business and offerings? Or do you want people to shop for items on your website and contact you directly to make purchases or book appointments? If you are selling items or services via your website, you’ll need a website with capabilities for searching and purchasing items with payment options. If your website is a platform for people to make appointments or book services, you’ll need to consider scheduling tools and platforms to manage those requests. If your site is purely a place for people to learn more about your business and service offerings, you may just need a simple site with a “contact us” form where potential customers can reach you directly. By understanding what you need from your website – and how your customers will be using it – you will be able to get a sense of how complex the project will be.

  2. Consider looping in a professional

    For the average person, building a website can be an overwhelming endeavor. If you need something that functions well and looks professional, we highly recommend you loop in a professional. They will be able to guide you through the process of building a website to meet your business goals. Even “free” web platforms come with hidden costs and can be difficult to navigate if you aren’t familiar with coding. Additionally, if a website isn’t engaging or dynamic from the first click, or pages take too long to load, it’s not going to reflect well on your business and capture the interest of visitors. A professional will be able to assist in creating dynamic designs, interactive navigation elements, and visual appeal to keep visitors on the page experiencing your brand and offerings. Check out the incredible websites TMG has developed for clients here.

  3. Determine your brand’s look and feel

    A website is essentially a home for your brand. People may never step into your office or store—so your website has to speak for your business. What do you want it to say? How do you want it to feel? What is your brand’s overall mission? If you’re lost, think of brands that you like. Even pieces of art, movies, and music can serve as inspiration. It will also be helpful to create a set of branding do’s and don’ts to guide you as you develop your brand’s colors, voice, and tone. Once you find something you like, stick with it and make sure it’s consistent across all media.

  4. Understand your audience

    Now that you have a strong sense for your brand and whether you’ll need help building your dynamic website, it’s time to think about your audience. Who are they? What are their needs, likes, and dislikes? By knowing who your audience is, you can ensure the copy that will go on your website will be easy for them to understand and entice them to do what you need them to do – book an appointment, contact you for more information, make a purchase, etc.

  5. Structure your website with user experience in mind

    Pretend you’re a potential customer. What do you want them to do? Each part of the website should subtly guide them towards your goals. If you want them to book you as a consultant, maybe you want to have some positive reviews, and a list of services. The bottom line is that the easier your website is to navigate, the better a result you’re going to have. When in doubt, keep it simple.

  6. Find SEO keywords that will make your website stand out

    When writing the copy for a website, it’s important to understand what people are searching for. For example, if you are a boutique in Charlotte, NC, you may want to mention those terms on your website’s homepage. If there’s something specific you sell that might be a differentiator, like clothing that’s made in the USA, that could also be a major way to attract new customers to your site. The bottom line is that a little research on keywords can go a long way.

  7. Implement content that will add value

    As you continue to flesh out the copy, make sure whatever you’re writing adds value to your customer. People skim through websites all the time, so make sure to use big bold headlines to communicate whatever is most important. How does your business add value to them? How do you solve problems or make life better? Make sure you articulate these ideas clearly and don’t add too much fluff or self-aggrandizing copy.

  8. Use compelling imagery that is on-brand

    They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to web design, that’s absolutely true. You want the imagery that’s on your website to reflect your brand as a whole—and also your customers. Think of every image as a snapshot of either what you want to do for them, or them enjoying your products/expertise. Images leave big impressions, so make sure that whatever you select is as high quality as possible.

  9. Carefully review your website

    Once everything is in place, take some time to click on every link and proofread every paragraph. Remember, first impressions are everything—it’s paramount that your website looks and functions at the highest level.

  10. Show it to someone else

    Just before sending your website out to the world, send a preview to someone who has never seen it before as a final quality check. If they use it, understand it, and have the reaction you’re looking for, it’s good to go!

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