While a laser-focus on social media marketing may well be the ‘flavour of the day’, building your brand engagement in fact starts with a well-designed website customers enjoy using. Here’s Zebra 360’s guide to the top 10 things you need to consider when building a website- and why they matter.

1. Mobile users are king

Not only are more and more users accessing content from mobile, rather than fixed, internet access points, Google also punishes your site severely if it’s unfriendly to mobile devices. Make sure mobile users have a quality experience on your site, whatever you do.

2. Know who’s coming to your website

It’s not as easy as ‘build it and they will come’ anymore. Who will come? What will they do while they are there? Who are you hoping to attract/sell to? What should the average user experience look like? Would one aspect of the engagement be better handled through social media? These are critical questions you need to be very firm on when you’re building your website. Know your niche, know what your opposition are doing and be very clear on who your target market is.

3. Know who you are, too

Ever looked at a fabulous, exquisite website, enjoyed the experience, but been left scratching your head about who the company behind it really is? Don’t let that be your customer! Your branding and marketing message needs to be subtle, but clear, throughout the site.

4. Use a fuss-free design

The days of putting all the bells and whistles on a site have passed. Users want a clean, clear experience that’s intuitive to use, not fancy flash movies and extra neon glitter. This is becoming increasingly important as more and more touchscreen devices are in use, and will boost your accessibility to your mobile users too, so a great [and simple] design is win-win all around. Navigation, functionality and usability should be at the forefront of the site design.

5. Guide your visitor

What is the ‘call to action’ you intend visitors to your site to enact? Should they buy something? Call you? Subscribe to a service? Make sure every step of the website design guides the visitor towards that goal. No need to be heavy handed…just make it easy for your visitor to find their way to the appropriate call to action.

6. Be ready to evolve

A great website is never set in stone. It needs to grow, change and evolve- both to keep your brand image fresh, and to ensure search engines look favourably on your site too. Be prepared for this- and ensure your web design makes this simple to do, too.

7. SEO does matter

While the human user experience needs to be at the forefront of your design, don’t forget the search engines and bots, either. Using clean, SEO friendly code makes you look great to non-human ‘eyes’…and will influence the user-friendly nature of your site, too.

8. Plan your social media integration

Marketing doesn’t stop at your website. From an interesting and informative blog, to visible ways to connect with you on social media, ensure your website interacts well with your other marketing platforms.

9. Do you get data?

Analytics is important- it’s the key to knowing who is interacting with your website, what they want, and what brings them there. Make sure your website build accommodates your chosen analytics platform and integrates smoothly.

10. How much will this cost?

The saying ‘sometimes the cheapest way to pay for something is money’ does have some truth. A cut-price or free website, no matter how slick, may bring with it advertising you can’t control, risk of viruses, or an add-on domain name that just looks a little tacky. Do you really have the coding skills to do everything that’s needed? Or the time to learn them? All the same, you have to give careful consideration to your budget- and where it is best applied- when planning your website if you’re going to make the most of what you have. Remember to factor getting your own, unique domain name and a good host into any budgeting you do.

These 10 considerations when building a website will help you create a site that’s fit to be a cornerstone of your marketing efforts. Still need a little extra help? Zebra 360 are here for you- get in touch today.