Businesses in Trinidad are still a bit behind when it comes to functional websites however. Sites can be used for so much more than just educating people about your product or service. Perhaps the first step to working with you is a conversation. Why not have that on your site. Perhaps the first step is an evaluation, why not offer a free evaluation on your site as a lead to your core business? The possibilities are endless. Here is a checklist for all the things you can do with your website.
Checklist for a great website:
1. Great domain name
Having a clean, easy to remember domain name is like having a great address for your office. It’s easy to give directions, easy to remember and there’s great parking. Pick something that is quick and relevant. If it has to be long, at least let it flow and make sense. There are a bunch of tools online to check to see if name and website is available. Our favourite is Panabee.
2. Clear objective
When people land on your site, they should know in an instant exactly why they’re here, and what they’re supposed to do. Respect people’s time by presenting them with something that is simple, effective and tastefully done.
Most people do the majority of their web browsing from their phones. Having a website that doesn’t reformat to fit on a phone screen is like shooting yourself in the foot. Maximise every viewing opportunity and build something that works across devices.
Broken links are a pain. Your site is like a car. No matter how good looking it is, if it isn’t reliable and shuts down all the time, it’s impossible to use. Maintain your site regularly, making sure that links are working, spam is cleaned up and any suspicious activity is dealt with.
5. Up to date
If the information you provide is time sensitive, for example a promotion that runs for a specified time period, then please reflect that in your site. Finish old content by announcing that it is no longer relevant. Old blog posts are fine, but remember to update your blog ever so often. Having no activity on your site gives the signal that you’re potentially out of business, so don’t let people make that incorrect assumption.
6. Proper use of colours
There have been many fairly recent advances to the development of colour on screens. For example Apple has night shift that adjusts the screen at night so that it isn’t as harsh on the eyes. It’s the same idea when you avoid harsh colours in certain places on your site. Reading long stretches of yellow text on a red background is nearly impossible. Don’t make your site a pain in the neck. Instead, use colours that contribute to your message. A white or off white background with black text makes for easy reading. The colour blue is friendly and easy going. The colour red portrays energy and makes you hungry. Check out this article for a breakdown of how we react to different colours, and their strengths in branding.
7. Proper use of typography
HAVE YOU EVER RECEIVED A MESSAGE WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS? A bit loud isn’t it? Perhaps this cruel person is shouting at you? But you see the point. Something as simple as upper or lower case can affect the way a message is interpreted. Typography goes much further than that. The fonts that you use, the colour of those fonts, the weight of the fonts; all of these contribute to your overall tone and communication. Check out this article for tips on how to use typography on your website.
8. Maximised potential
Don’t miss an opportunity. If your website generates a lot of traffic, then ads are an easy way to make some extra cash. While this may be the main objective of your site, it’s usually easier done when the goal of the site is not just to put ads on it. You can put Google Ad Sense on your site, which will generate some money based on how many people click on the ad. Another option is to contact businesses and offer them ad slots on your site at a fee. We recommend this option as you stay in control of your pricing, and this method can be a lot more lucrative for you if you already have great traffic on your site.
9. Provide Value
To extend from the point above, aim to provide value with your site. It can be as simple as a blog with some great photos, or maybe a simple ebook. It can be as complex as Facebook and all its features. The point is to strive to leave the viewer feeling like they’ve gained something by coming to your site. Everyone loves small wins, and it’s a philosophy that we promote quite a bit around here. Offer small wins and encourage someone, and they’ll encourage you.
10. Proper Tone
Last, but my no means least, you have to encapsulate your entire site into a tone. The way that your blog posts are written, the photos that you use, the colours that you select; they should all be linked in some way. Every word written on your site is a new chance to instil your brand values to your viewers. Make sure you have a united front that represents the quality, customer service and goals that you strive for.
Analytics tell you about the visitors to your site. You can learn about the demographics of your viewers, what type of devices they’re using, how long they use your site for, etc,etc. Take advantage of that to learn more about your consumers and develop features of your business that maximise your productivity, efficiency and professionalism. Our favourite tool is Google Analytics. We use it on this site, and have a dashboard plugin for WordPress that allows us to keep an eye on how the site is doing. You can check that out here.
Having firstname.lastname@example.org is a lot more professional that email@example.com. It adds a subtle essence to your brand, and allows for people to take you a little more seriously. It’s an added benefit of having a great website.