In an online sea of websites, creating a site that stands out from the crowd is highly desirable. But what does it take to make sure that potential customers decide to stick with your brand, rather than go to one of your competitors

There’s no one single trick that will draw web visitors in.  But with a little time and effort, it’s possible to create a clear advantage over the competition.  And we’re here to help you raise your business website to new heights, ensuring that it delivers the results you’ve been counting on.

Provide a great User Interface and User Experience

The User Interface, or UI elements of your site, includes menus, buttons and icons that enable your web visitors to interact with your web pages.  This is part of the whole User Experience, also known as UX.  And the aim is to provide your web visitors with the best possible online experience.

Some website owners like to let their imaginations run riot, creating exotic websites that look and behave completely differently from most other examples that you’ll come across.  But innovation isn’t always desirable, and website visitors who have to spend time working out how to access the products, services or information that they’re looking for are likely to lose patience very quickly.

No matter what innovative design elements you decide to include with your business website, don’t be tempted to mess about with the generally accepted standards concerning UX.  Frustrating your potential customers with a website that isn’t intuitive to navigate will create entirely the wrong impression.

Create compelling content

It’s not just what you say, but the way that you say it, that will draw potential customers in.  If you’ve read our post about creating an effective content marketing strategy, then you’ll already be familiar with our views on the importance of creating informative, well-written content for your website.

Nowadays, we like to engage with the brands that we buy.  We’re much more likely to research potential purchases online, so a site which offers up helpful and informative content, generates huge amounts of goodwill too.  And if you can carve out a name for yourself as an expert in your field, you’ll soon see an increase in visitor numbers, as Google starts to value your site more highly, pushing you up the rankings.

The key is to ensure that your content is of the highest possible quality.  Incorrect or outdated information, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and typos will have the opposite effect, causing visitors to doubt your authenticity.  So if words aren’t your strong point, find someone with a talent for writing great copy, and watch your site rise above the competition.

Create unique images

Stock photography is easily available online, so you can source all types of imagery to add colour and movement to your website.  But if you really want to stand out from the crowd, you’d be much better off commissioning your own images.

Don’t be tempted to have a go yourself – at least, not unless you happen to be a skilled photographer on the side.  The whole point of your online imagery is to add extra authenticity to your site, but it still needs to be well-focussed and engaging.  Perhaps a talented friend could help you out, or it might be worth hiring a professional photographer for a couple of hours.  The results will more than pay for themselves, and your site will boast authentic and original photography that won’t be duplicated elsewhere online.

Make it mobile-friendly

This is another aspect of good web design that we can’t emphasise highly enough.  Every website needs to be accessible across a range of devices, but mobile optimisation is no longer an optional extra.  With the majority of website visitors now using smartphones for their web surfing, a carefully-crafted website that displays perfectly across all browsers and operating systems is essential.

Don’t just assume that your website is fully optimised.  Check it yourself across a variety of devices, including Android, iOS and Windows phones, to make sure that every single website visitor gets to view your site in its full glory.

Tell people who you are

The internet has made us all much more curious about the brands we interact with and buy from.  Even people heading for a local shop are likely to conduct an online search beforehand, to find out more about it.  So give your website visitors what they want by giving them access to your story.  Whether that’s through an ‘About Us’ page, or ‘Meet the team’, the more information that you can give about your company, your products, and the people who work for you, the greater the likelihood that you will engage your visitor.

Utilise Social Proof

We’ve discussed the power of Social Proof in a  previous blog post, as it’s such an important factor in spreading the word about your brand.  And best of all, it doesn’t cost you anything at all!

Essentially, we behave a little like sheep, given the chance.  If we see that other people are enjoying something, we want to find out more about it.  And thanks to the rapid growth of social media platforms, happy customers can help to spread your marketing message far and wide, amongst their friends and  family members.

Tap into the human need to follow the herd and give your potential customers all the incentives they need to make a purchase.  Customer testimonials and case studies help to establish your trustworthiness, helping to draw in new visitors.  And once they discover how happy other people are with your goods or services, they’ll be encouraged to complete their purchasing journey, and hopefully provide even more testimonials for future web visitors!

Spruce up your SEO campaign

Search engines are constantly improving and refining their algorithms, in order to provide web visitors with the most useful sites for their search terms.  The problem is, nobody apart from the creators of the algorithms knows exactly what they involve.  But what we do know for certain, is that search engines are looking for the websites that offer the best value and quality to their visitors.

The constantly changing goalposts makes it difficult, if not impossible, to create one single long-term SEO campaign.  So you should aim to review your SEO efforts on a regular basis, acting accordingly to make sure that your site remains near the top of the results pages.

Unless you have plenty of free time to read up on search engine algorithms, this is almost certainly best left to the professionals.  But if you choose the right agency, you should find that the expense more than pays for itself in increased sales.

Invest in great web design

It goes without saying that the best advertisement for your products and services is a top-notch website.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be big – sometimes a simple brochure site is all that’s needed – but it should always be the very best that you can afford.

Yes, you can build your own site very cheaply, thanks to the number of drag-and-drop DIY site builders available online.  But the problem with this sort of site is that it’ll be based on a commonly-used template, making it almost identical to thousands of other websites.  It won’t have the functionality of a bespoke website, and it’s unlikely to be scalable, so as your business grows, you’ll need to invest in a newer, better version.

Bearing in mind that your website operates 24/7, for 365 days a year, it’s worth spending as much as you can comfortably afford on its design and implementation.  You’ll end up with a bespoke site, created according to your own specifications, that will provide all the functionality that you need right now, as well as offering scalability for future growth.

Here at Brookstone, we’ve got all your website and marketing needs covered.  We know what it takes to make your site stand out from the crowd, and we know how to keep it performing at a consistent level.  So get in touch with us today, or drop in for a chat over a cup of coffee.  We’re ready and waiting to show you what we can do!