Your corporate website is often the first touchpoint a customer or potential customer will have with your brand so it’s important to get it right. However, with most corporate sites having been around in one form or another for decades, a refresh is often seen as a quick task that simply updates branding and content rather than an opportunity to truly deliver what your audience wants. With this kind of approach it is easy to overlook design issues and approaches that could make the user journey much more intuitive, engaging and in turn deliver better results.

Here are five things you should be thinking about when planning your website.

1. Keep it simple

Visitors to your site will be looking for clear, concise and accurate information about your products and services. Using analytics to see how people navigate your current site will be a useful tool in designing the optimum structure. Information should flow naturally, so place pages in order of their importance and guide users to where they can find additional details if needed.

Avoid trying to give visitors too much information, however – a cluttered layout is likely to prove off putting and can make it harder for people to find what they need. Keep the design clean, intuitive and consistent. A design that features multiple fonts, too many colours, different logos and spelling inconsistencies all combines to create a negative impression of your business and drives people away from your site.

And don’t forget to keep the search bar somewhere obvious so that no matter where a user ends up they can quickly navigate to the content they’re looking for.

2. Optimise for mobile

It’s hard to believe that in 2019 many websites are not optimised for use across multiple devices and browsers, but this is still very much the case. Last year, mobile accounted for more than 52% of web traffic worldwide, according to Statista, so this is no longer a nice to have. Not only that, but the majority of people are multiplatform and they expect a consistent experience no matter which device they happen to be using.

3. Speed it up

We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve found exactly what we’re looking for but the web page takes an age to load. More often than not, this will result in abandoned searches and, in turn, the loss of potential business. The importance of this was highlighted last year when Google announced that page speed would become a factor in mobile search – what more incentive do you need to keep on top of page loading times?

There are a number of ways to improve your website load time, including minimising HTTP requests, removing unused scripts and files, compressing images and browser caching; it’s important to keep on top of this on a regular basis to ensure your site continues to perform to its fullest.

4. Integrate your offering

A website shouldn’t be a standalone tool so make sure you link to your social media accounts. Easily visible buttons that clickthrough to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other accounts are a great way for visitors to find out more about your recent work, what customers are saying about you and generally get a feel for the personality of your company, as well as being a useful tool for contacting you.

Similarly, a good website should be regularly updated with news, views, case studies and other information that highlights your expertise. Placing share buttons alongside this content will make it easy for your visitors to post it via their preferred social media platform, a great way of extending your brand reach beyond your core audience.

5. Keep in touch

In addition to your social media links, it’s imperative that you make it easy for site visitors to get in touch with you otherwise they are likely to look elsewhere. Clear and easily accessible contact details are a must with telephone and email address details the minimum offering. In addition to this, it may be worth looking at a bot to answer immediate queries or to ‘take messages’ if there is no one available to respond.

An effective website will be visually appealing, provide key information and guide visitors on a useful journey around your business, helping them find the information they want, when they want it, no matter where they are or what device they choose to use. Achieving this will encourage people to your site, increase dwell time and leave a positive impression of your business, something that can only help to promote your goods

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