In my opinion, it’s never been more important for a business to make sure their website works flawlessly, looks fantastic, and brings real value to their marketing strategy.

There’s a renewed demand for web-based businesses. People don’t want to leave the comfort (and safety) of their homes to shop – they want to be able to browse and order whatever they need online, without getting frustrated by poorly designed, slow-loading ecommerce platforms.

Similarly, those who are looking for a new service provider are increasingly researching prospective partners on the web before they reach out and make initial contact.

So, if you want your brand to be able to compete in today’s web-driven economy, you need to make sure your online shop window is the best it could possibly be. This may mean asking a web designer like me to make significant changes to its design, its content and its UX. Or, or it might mean implementing a series of smaller improvements that could have an equally big impact on the way users engage and interact with your business online.

Here’s my take on the 5 things you should be doing to make sure your website has the edge over the competition!

1. Get expert design help

It can be so tempting to take a DIY approach to website building, especially as going down this route can be more affordable in the short term. But if you’re a web design novice, I guarantee that your vision will soon begin to outgrow your abilities – so I would always recommend paying a little extra upfront to make sure you get your site right first time.

Work with a professional web designer in Essex like me, and you’ll be guaranteed a beautiful, functional, speedy-loading site that you’ll be able to amend and evolve over time. Plus, if you hand over this important task to the professionals, you’ll free up your time so you can focus on the tasks that will actually drive your business forward.

2. Use clever design techniques to engage visitors for longer

If you want your website to perform well for your business, you need to make sure you’re bringing a decent amount of visitors to your pages every day, and – perhaps even more importantly – you’re giving them a reason to stick around.

Videos, animations, infographics, and simple yet cool-looking elements like parallax backgrounds will bring extra depth to your website and encourage better engagement. You can also incorporate page menus, blog feeds and social media feeds into your designs to make it easy for users to navigate between the things that may be of interest to them.

3. Spend time creating unique, on-brand content

These days, I think the right messaging is just as important as the right design!

Your website content needs to tell visitors who you are, what you do, and how you do it – but it also needs to support your brand by communicating in a style and tone that matches your personality and your business’ unique values.

Sounds easy, right? You just need to write from the heart, don’t you? Well, kind of. While it’s important that your text ‘sounds’ like you, it’s even more crucial that it’s structured in an easy-to-read manner, and it’s optimised correctly to ensure your web pages rank well in the search engines. If the thought of having to teach yourself all the tricks of the trade whilst writing your own website content fills you with fear, you can always outsource this vital work to Design FX Studio!

4. Invest in branded photography

Stock photos don’t cut it anymore, I’m afraid. To make sure your website is a cut above the rest, you need to produce bespoke, fully branded images that provide visitors with a genuine insight into your people and your work environment. Personalised hi-res images can be used in your banners and other prominent locations to grab the attention of your reader, and within your site’s pages and blogs to add visual support to the themes of your content.

If you need help finding a good brand photographer, let me know – I’ve got plenty of them in my network.

5. Add live chat functionality

Adding an instant messaging platform to your website is a nice touch, and it comes with all kinds of benefits. Being able to communicate with prospects and existing customers directly can help to save time, reduce costs and resolve problems faster – and by giving people the option to get in touch with your team straightaway instead of having to send an email or pick up the phone, you’ll be delivering an improved user experience that will certainly not go unnoticed.

(But while they can help capture new enquiries and deliver faster support to existing customers, live chat features don’t work for every business. Before adding a live chat portal to your site, make sure you have the capacity within your team to handle messages as and when they come through!)

I’ve been helping business owners like you make more of a splash online for decades. Drop me a message to get more top web design advice or to discuss your web design requirements in more detail.