With the growth of digital and online marketing only continuing to increase as the year’s pass, it’s essential that your business keeps up with the market and this includes having a website.

Websites are useful not only to keep up with a growing and changing market but they allow you to present your business exactly how you want it to be perceived by your customers and it gives you another avenue of driving revenue and attracting new customers.

To do this, however, a website has to be high quality and professional. A weak website can be damaging to your business’s reputation and your sales.

This guide will help you to design a website that only benefits your business.

1. Domain Name

Choosing a domain name is the first step to designing your website and you need to make it a good one. Short domain names are favored by Google’s search algorithm and they generally look the most professional. Avoid long phrases or words. Keep the domain simple; it should just be your business’ brand name or something very close if that’s not available.

The URLs on your site should also be short. For example, your About Us page’s URL should simply be ‘/about-us’. Simplicity is key with URLs; it makes them memorable for your customers and it helps algorithms to deduct that your site is not spam.

2. Tailor It

Some websites can appear generic if you do not tailor them enough. Research your competitor’s sites and note their similarities and their differences. Most companies within the same industry will have websites with similarities because these features work for that audience. For instance, lawyer websites by Just Legal Marketing will make great templates for law firms.

3. Accessibility

The accessibility of your website also factors into how Google ranks your site and as a result where your site appears in its result pages. If your website is difficult to navigate, users will have a short time on your site because they click off, which tells Google that your site isn’t worth visiting.

Avoiding this is simple. Keep the navigation of your site clear, concise and easy. Make sure your links to other pages are clearly visible on each page or your navigation menu is easily accessed through just one click. You should also consider mobile phone accessibility since most consumers visit sites on their phones rather than a desktop computer.

4. Presentation

Colors and images play a role in how your site performs. You want to make your site appealing and relevant to your brand. A black and white website with no images is dull; this is obvious.

Make use of your brand’s colors, specifically from your logo. Make your links change to a different color when a user hovers over them and make it clear that they are links through bold text or a feature you prefer.

Add images to your site that amplify your brand image. If you have a photograph of your team, add it to your About Us page. Images help to break up text and add variety to your site.

5. Embed Your Social Media Channels

Embedding your Twitter feed to your home page can be much more effective than simply having a text link. It gives users a preview of your business’ Twitter and will encourage them to follow through the link. This also adds an element of integration to your site and creates synergy across your various channels.

Plus, embedding a video from your YouTube channel will increase the time that users spend on your site. This feeds back to the algorithm that users spend a lengthy amount of time on your site, which will help improve your site’s SEO rankings and thus increase your traffic.

6. Include a Feedback Form

Getting feedback from your customers is essential. They are the ones who are using your site and are driving your sales. Include a feedback form on your site where your customers can inform you of any issues or improvements they think you could make to enhance the site after launch. Your customers’ feedback is priceless.

7. Maintain Your Site

A mistake that many website owners make is not maintaining their website once it has been launched. A website needs constant and consistent checks in order to remain functioning. Bugs and issues can crop up unexpectedly, and if they are not resolved, they can impact the functionality of your site and cause your SEO rankings to drop.

Conduct regular audit checks on your site to resolve any issues as soon as they appear. You should also check to make sure that all of your links work; broken links can negatively influence your ranking in search results and cause a drop in your traffic if you aren’t careful.

Designing a website takes a lot of time and research into how your customers use sites and how the algorithm favors certain sites and content over others. Once you have your site, however, it is an excellent and long-term way of driving traffic and sales, as long as you maintain it.