Anyone can have a website. In today’s society, an entire website can be built for a cat, and have over a million views. Meanwhile, small businesses with a legitimate service or product may be struggling to maintain its web presence. So, what are some things one can do in an effort to strengthen a website and generate legitimate traffic? In no particular order, here are 5 Tips to Make Your Website Amazing:

1. Know Your Audience

This sounds simple, but for some, it may be easier said than done. The bottom line is you cannot create something for everyone. Ultimately, your website needs to appeal to the people who you want to visit. If you are the proprietor of a heavy metal bar, it likely wouldn’t be appropriate to use imagery depicting a sewing circle throughout the site. Where this may seem obvious, there are also less conspicuous illustrations. For example, do you truly need an image gallery on your page, or simply a link to your Instagram? Do you need an online store built into your site, or will your audience be more likely to want to use a tool like Etsy? Basically, knowing your audience is going to make it easier to build and design for them, which will keep them coming back. If you aren’t sure where to start with defining your audience check out Amy’s post on knowing who your customer is.

2. Engagement

According to an article on by Content Marketing Strategy Manager, Ginny Mineo, “55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds…” when viewing a website. This means that you have less than 15 seconds to get your audience’s attention and keep it. Where this may seem a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be.

Use strong imagery or even a video to draw attention at first glance. A powerful, simple line of copy should also be used—a tagline or a phrase that allows a viewer know exactly what he or she is looking at. Keep in mind, that if a video or image is strong enough, copy may not be necessary. Once you have your audience’s attention, you have to maintain it. Do this by telling a linear story, using copy and imagery to keep your viewers scrolling down the home page.

Make sure your wording and images maintain a logical progression as you scroll down. For example, if your website is to showcase a coffee mug, you may want to use a “hero shot” image or silent video of the product at the top of the page with a line of text that explains, “This is our Coffee Mug. Learn why ours is the best and only coffee mug you should own.” As a visitor scrolls down, the next section could explain the features of the coffee mug and a couple of different images showing different angles of the coffee mug, or different ways to use it. After that, you could explain what went into the coffee mug’s design, and what makes it so great. Following that linear progression captures the audience’s interest the same way one’s attention would be monopolized by a book or movie. By the end of the “story,” the visitor should know exactly what they can expect from your product or service, which brings us to…

3. Have A Clear Call to Action (CTA)

When it comes to interaction with your audience, you can never be too clear about what it is they should do next. Where it may seem obvious to you that the next step should be to “Buy Now” or “Contact Us for More Details,” never assume that your audience already knows that, or that they will take those next steps if they aren’t readily available. Basically, make it easy for them.

If your next step is for them to purchase your coffee mug, then at the end of your “story,” include a “Buy Now” button so that your audience has that ability to do so without having to search for it. If the next step is for your visitors to follow you on social media, have a “follow” button or icon for each social media outlet you want to use to market your service or product.

Not only does this make it easier for your visitors, but it also maintains the engagement that you created with your linear story.

4. Usability

This may seem obvious, but you want your website to be as “usable” as possible. Although you may be tailoring your website to a specific audience or demographic, you still want to be sure that anyone can use your website although they may not have to. This means keeping the site easy to navigate; have a clear menu and page functionality. Make sure all of your links make sense and that if you have something like a product page or a product catalog, that it is always accessible, no matter where on the site a visitor might be.

Another thing to keep in mind is how and where people will be accessing your site. In today’s age of mobile data, it is imperative to have a mobile version of your site. This means utilizing a fluid or elastic design, which allows users to view and use your site effectively across most or all digital mediums.

5. Design

Invest in a designer. It sounds like this may be an expensive solution, but it truly doesn’t have to be. Where you may believe this means that you have to hire a graphic designer to create your website and then have a developer build it, that is not the case. You may not even have to actually hire a designer at all.

Think of the design as the “frame” and your product as the “photo.” Sure, you can have a beautiful photo to display, but duct-taping it to the wall isn’t going to display it as well as a lovely frame might. Ultimately, you can have the best product or service in the world, but if it isn’t showcased properly, then no one will ever look past the “duct tape.”

So many services exist today that offer pre-existing templates and/or layouts, most of which are created by professional designers who understand aesthetics. Now there are also services that offer affordable ways to have designers and developers do the work for you throughout the design and ongoing maintenance of your site for as low as under $50 a month. So, don’t confuse investing in a designer with expensive.

To Sum Up

So, if you want to truly make your website amazing try one or all five of these tips. And remember that your website is a reflection of you and your business and it should be as amazing as you and all that you offer.

By: Jen G Anders, Lead Designer, Cosmital Designs and Amy Matthews, CEO, AMI