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Creating a successful website that keeps customers returning

We are all aware of the merits of social networking and how a powerful Twitter account or Facebook page may boost earnings, form contacts and drive traffic. However, if those carefully crafted tweets and statuses lead clients to some confusing and badly designed website then all the effort put into advertising will be fruitless. 

Without sounding overly obvious, a great website is essential to a successful business. A functional site that reflects your business ethos is the best sales tool where a bad site can damage reputation and sales. 


So where to start?

Before starting to build your site you need to have a very clear idea of what you would like and how you wish to make it. Vanessa Austin Locke, partner of Austin & Locke, has already been through the steps of producing a site. The company specializes in brand association strategies and producing ideas that enhance reputation, sway decision-makers and generate content. 

Austin Locke decided to utilise a website designer and stated she was searching for a combination of technical ability and creative vision. She aimed for simplicity of effect as it came into the design of her site. Simple and easy to use yet still engaging in a graceful way that’s not intrusive. We’re all constantly advertised to, and it’s irritating. We designed it with the client’s comfort in mind.


Hosting platform or website designer?

Creating a website doesn’t need to deplete your savings; you will find a myriad of hosting platforms like WordPress or craft websites, which allow you to create functional and aesthetic websites. If you know how to use WordPress already then don’t; make things harder and more expensive for yourself by using a new designer or building a CMS, says Austin Locke.  

When determining how to build your website, Sweales believes it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. With the likes of WordPress that there are some great templates you can use for affordable web design, but if you want something a little more bespoke then look for a website designer. But stress that you want to be able to update the website once it’s up and running, you must maintain that flexibility.


The Design

The creative element of designing your site may be the most interesting part, but it’s paramount that you get it right and your internet look reflects the basis of your enterprise. 

Designer of the Austin & Locke website, Maria Withers believes that design trends are only temporary, but keeping up to date with them is essential.  

Your design should focus around your user’s needs, if a website isn’t aesthetically pleasing or intuitive your website can become redundant and users will bounce from your web page.


Boosting your sales

Correct management of your website can boost sales. SEO and social media play s significant role in directing potential customers to your site.  

You can make money from a website in a number of ways. You could set up Google Adsense, which will show Google ads on your website, says Sweales. Or you could accept banner ads on your website; this is more time consuming and both can distract from your core objective. If you have a website that markets your business, I wouldn’t be swayed to accept ads if it affects business branding. It’s worth setting up your business on Google Places for free as well as key directory sites like Yelp and Yell as they can help in the interim, says Sweales. 


Avoid creating a poor website

Building a visually appealing website isn’t enough to excite visitors; it has to be easy to navigate to ensure customer return, custom craft websites offer aesthetics and functionality 

Austin Locke believes static content is one the worst website offences and companies should keep it fresh and flowing, a website is like a room… it needs airing. 


Paul Henry