Here are the top 5 things to help make your website stand out.
1. Make your website easy to understand
Can users figure out what you do in 15 seconds? People don't read—they skim. Write your homepage headline and positioning statement to be read in less than 15 seconds.
Use the website tagline to summarise what your business does. Hot tip: this will also affect your site rankings in search engines.
You should also use short, logical page names. A user should be able to quickly find what they're looking for. A common rule of thumb is to write to a twelve year old's level of understanding.
2. Be trustworthy
People use your domain name and email address to evaluate the legitimacy of your business. Which of these would you trust more as a business: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com? Check out these tips on choosing a domain name and don't forget to create matching email addresses.
3. Use colour
A beautiful homepage banner; a coordinated colour palette; high quality images—these are the first things a user will notice. Select a theme that reflects your personality.
To select a theme, click My theme in the Settings toolbar and follow the steps.
Quality logos and banners lend credibility to your business and add to your website's appeal. If you don't have a logo or banner, there are some easy, low-cost ways to create one—check out istockphoto.com. It's also important that your logo and banner look crisp and clear on your website—use Paint, SnagIt Editor or another graphics program to resize your graphics. (Your print company or graphic designer may also be an easy option, but expect to pay for their services.)
To add a banner, click My logo and banner in the Settings toolbar and follow the steps.
4. Use quality images
Your website will look a lot more engaging with some imagery, rather than just blocks of text. Use your gallery to display images of the work you do and back these up with descriptions; image descriptions will help to leverage appearance on image sites, such as Google Images.
To add a gallery, click the Create a gallery link in the Things to do toolbar and follow the steps.
5. Up the interest factor
Regardless of your industry, you can make your website interesting and enrich the user experience. For example, a plumber could post tips on reducing water wastage; this engages the user and encourages them to return for regular updates.
Plus, keeping your website content fresh and adding a regular news update not only gives people a reason to return to your website, but improves your search rankings, so you're more likely to be discovered by new customers too. Ideally you should try to add a news item on a weekly basis. These updates don't have to be earth-shattering—they just need to be interesting. New updates can include FAQs, new products or services, blogs, testimonials, or specials.
To add a news item, click Add a news item in the News section of your homepage and follow the steps.
"A great website is like a pot plant, it needs a little bit of love every week to make it look beautiful and perform."
- Sarah Ewing, Product Marketer, MYOB Atlas