Once you’ve done the hard work of attracting potential customers or clients to your website, you have already made progress towards the goal of new business. After capturing your prospects’ attention, your website needs to give them something to do in order to move them closer to being paying customers or clients. A clear call-to-action on your website will allow prospects to self-select and move themselves through the selling process; a call-to-action can take many forms, a common one is a clickable button or link by which the user can request more information on your company, download a white paper or case study, or sign up for your mailing list.
If the purpose of your website is purely informational, then a call-to-action can still be useful to add more subscribers to your mailing list (you have a mailing list, right?). A clear and simple call-to-action answers the user’s question of “Ok, I’m here, now what?” and provides a clear path for them to take if they are interested in proceeding further. Along the way, things like registration forms or information forms can help you learn more about your prospects as well as assist you in your future marketing by providing more demographic information about your prospects.
Finally, calls-to-action should stand out visually; this is why so many of them appear as colored buttons - they are just itching to be clicked. Making next steps as obvious as possible via a clear and inviting call-to-action takes little effort on the part of users and makes your website’s usability feel intuitive. Whenever and wherever possible, you should be evaluating opportunities for calls-to-action not only in your website, but also in sales collateral and email list messages.
Take your web copy. Now edit it down to half the length. Now edit out half again. Clear and concise copy will go miles in terms of conveying your message to your customers and will also result in an aesthetically-pleasing layout for your website.
The general rule of thumb for the copy (text) on your website is that less is more, as in less copy is more effective. Lengthy copy only serves to distract your users from the important messages and calls-to-action on your website. It is not necessary to explain every detail of your company, product or services on each page of the website; users should be presented with enough information to navigate through your website and know that they are in the right place for what they are seeking.
Clear and concise web copy will also strengthen your brand and make it appear more refined. Contrasting fonts and headline sizes can aid in organizing content on your website. Every unnecessary line of copy places an additional, albeit small, mental burden on your users. Remember to pare down your copy before you start building your website, it will make everything easier in the long run.
The choice of typeface can have a tremendous impact on the way that a company or brand is perceived; aesthetically, typefaces have emotional resonance and can convey information through the design and physical structure of each letter. Similarly, the choice of fonts in web design will affect the usability and aesthetics of your website.
We now have more choices than ever with which to design our websites. In addition to the legacy fonts designed by type foundries of yore, there are fonts designed specifically for legibility on the web and smartphones. Choosing a font for legibility is important as is one that fits with the visual identity and aesthetics of your website.
There are several considerations for the font chosen for body copy (text) on a website: it should provide the proper amount of space in order to make the paragraphs feel uncrowded, contrast with the background, and read easily. Sans-serif fonts, fonts without legs or serifs attached to the characters (the most famous example being Helvetica), have become the go-to choice for many websites as they provide all three of the above characteristics.
However, this is not to say that one size fits all. To the contrary, the choice of font on your website, once it accomplishes the basic requirements, should reflect the personality of your company and resonate with your target audience. This is where a comprehensive brand identity becomes very useful - once you carve out a clear visual identity for your company or brand, these decisions will not need to be revisited as they will already be consistent across your printed materials and website.
A visual brand identity is one of your company’s most valuable assets - your brand communicates the trust, authority, and quality that your company represents and that you work hard every day to maintain. Your firm’s website is an extension of your brand and acts as the handshake between you and new customers.
When it comes to the appearance of your website, it is imperative to apply a clear and consistent visual identity across all pages for several reasons: it reassures users of the trust and quality that your company represents, it reminds users they are in the right place, and it further solidifies your company’s brand identity in their minds.
This can be accomplished by incorporating your logo in the headings on each page within your website, using your brand or logo’s colors as accents throughout the website, and maintaining consistent wording in your copy. When users arrive at your website, they are at one of the last stages of shopping before purchasing from you or enlisting your services; by this point, if you have branded your website, it will already look familiar to them even if it is their first time on the site.
How you go about branding your website will largely reflect the overall properties of your brand’s visual identity. Is it elegant and refined, modern and minimal, or possibly homey and rustic? This will help shape what color palettes to use, how your copy reads, and the images that you use on your website. Your website is a destination that customers will reach as part of the sales cycle and you get to define how that place feels to them.
Several design and structural elements and aesthetic decisions on your website work together to make the site feel right to your customers. If you have a strong visual identity in place, you will have to do less selling and persuading - customers will realize they are in the right place already.