Guide to effective websites

I was very fortunate to be interviewed by Jörgen Sundberg, founder and CEO of Link Humans, who I have  known for many years.

He posed a sceptical question to challenge me – do we still need websites nowadays? It’s an interesting one, but I managed to argue the case quite well!

Have a listen below:

Below are the written answers I prepared before the interview, though if you listen it comes out quite different! Hopefully by experiencing both you will feel enlightened!

Websites are seen as very static (in comparison to social), how do you drive engagement on a website?

A few ways: By having a blog on the website, and well written headlines, people will be more likely to land on articles you share on social, media. Once there they can read other articles, watch videos on your site, click on the most prominent links, find out what you do, look at your team, and find the best ways to contact you.

See also this post: How to make your website more engaging and interactive

The other way to drive engagement on websites is by having compelling messages – such as thought provoking questions, highlighted links to pages which answer frequently asked questions.

And you can always build in commenting features on the pages where you have blog posts and videos.

Your website is your home on the web, and you control it. We can’t predict what happens with social media, but both need to be taken equally seriously as important parts of your online presence.

What are some of the common mistakes companies make with their sites?

To put it briefly, I have listed 12 common mistakes I see over and over again.

  1. Putting it up and forgetting about it.
  2. “Relativitis” – when you get a friend / someone’s nephew who is good at computers to do the site, but they really arent skilled enough
  3. “I can do this myself” (BE 100% HONEST – are you really good at design and code?)
  4. Setting up your profile on too many social media channels
  5. Inconsistent messaging
  6. Lack of differentiation.
  7. Lack of personality
  8. Over complicating your communication
  9. Bad quality or cheesy images
  10. Not noticing the little details
  11. Outsourcing your social media without understanding it yourself
  12. Over promising (even to yourself)

If someone comes to you with a terrible website, what are the elements you help them sort out?

We find out a lot about them, not just what they want in their site, but what they want in their business. Whether they want business success, to find better clients, to raise awareness, to impress people. We like to dig deep and the questions we ask often help them think through other issues in their business.

What should the structure be of a company website?

It’s a good idea to use typical links that people are used to seeing, such as: Home | About | Blog | Contact.

You can vary the way you name the “About” page – like “Meet the Team” or “Who we are”

Services can be divided into sectors or groups – if you can make some meaning out of them, eg: Consultancy for Investment Banks, or “A Culture Shift”

What about content, should you have a blog section?

Yes, this is the place in your website which will give you flexibility.

  1. Case studies / stories
  2. Common sense advice
  3. Your story
  4. Stories about your own activities
  5. Behind the scenes stories
  6. Posts about your partners/suppliers to show the good relationships you have
  7. Guest blogs from people in your industry
  8. An intro with an embedded video
  9. Posts interviewing people partners/suppliers/clients about their lives/work/food habits

How important are domain names?

Important. When naming a business I even look and see if the .com is available. It should be easy to spell, in the language of your target audience.

Should you try your hand at building your own site or use a developer/agency? What are estimated costs?

DIY can seem deceptively easy, but problems can arise when:

  1. You don’t realise but the site has a distinct “template” look feel about it
  2. It can look amature if your attention to detail isn’t amazing.
  3. There can be certain things that you WANT to do but with template sites are just not available in the features
  4. Sometimes its hard to get a hold of the people who made the template

Bespoke websites: we have a startup offer now on our website for 1500 and our full bespoke websites range from £4,000-10,000k. We do payment plans to help out.

How should a site interact with social media?

There are many ways to do this, beyond the simple option of including the known icon to link to your specific channel. Other ideas:

  1. A twitter feed can be designed in to fit wiht the site layout and style
  2. Blog articles can have share icons allowing people to share on their chosen social network
  3. In some cases, if it fits within the design a Facebook “like box”
  4. “Tweetstimonials” on your blog – this is a special plugin that feeds the tweets you have clicked “like” on to your blog

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