Creating a website can be a labour of love and creativity. It can bring your brand to life in a way it never would’ve through the myriad designs and styles available on websites like WordPress and Wix.
You can play with fonts and typefaces to see how they match with your design and how they suit your brand.
All of this has been covered in the previous parts of our three part series on website development, that you can find here:
Alas, website development isn’t entirely a work of creativity and imagination, there are some very technical aspects of website development (as is the nature of the internet and the online realm) that need to be addressed if you want a functional, eye-pleasing, profitable website.
The things covered here may seem trite in comparison to the larger aspects covered in previous posts such as colour coordination and appropriate typefaces, but nevertheless they are parts of your website that shouldn’t be ignored or glossed over lest you miss out on some significant traffic and revenue.
If visual design is the fun, creative part of website design and typography is the less glamourous side of website design, then the technical aspects of website design is the ugly stepsister of this whole fairy tale.
But without the step-sisters, the story wouldn’t be complete – and without covering all of your technical gimmicks, neither will your website. Although not the main character of the tale, they’re a vital part of your brand’s success.
So, without further ado, let’s slip on our glass slippers, finish our website development series before the clock strikes midnight and see how we can truly give your brand its happily ever after.
Social Share & Follow Buttons
If you elect to have a blog/content section on your website (which we would certainly recommend), then this first tip is crucial for you and your content’s online social standing.
If you’ve read anything online, then you will have glanced upon the bar of share and social buttons that go alongside each article and post.
They usually consist of the main social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – and are there to encourage sharing the content to whichever site the reader sees fit (more on that later).
Social buttons are commonplace for websites, so much so that website building software usually include social buttons templates as standard and for free, but what you do with these buttons is of more important.
You would be surprised to realise that it isn’t enough to just have the social buttons on the site, but where you put them and how often too.
Where should I put my social buttons?
In theory, you can put them anywhere, after all it is your website and it should reflect some of your creative and artistic licence. However, it is commonplace for social buttons to be found at the top of pages of content.
You may think that placing the share buttons at the bottom of the page would be ideal as those who read the entirety of your content would be the most likely to share it, right? Right?…
…well you’d be surprised. It’s not uncommon for people to read 10 lines, a paragraph or even just the headline before sharing the article. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – especially for your work – although we would recommend reading something in its majority before sharing it.
This notwithstanding, it’s best to place your social buttons at the top of your page just so visitors know that they have the option to share that content on whichever platform they want.
Another benefit of displaying your social buttons at the top of the page, especially if the content has a lot of shares, is that they act as a kind of social proof, a badge of honour that says, “This work is good and lots of people agree, you should share it too!”
If you don’t want your social buttons at the top or the bottom of your page for whatever reason, then there is also the option to have it placed strategically in amongst the paragraphs of your text.
Maybe you’ve written down a scathing remark or an enlightening quote that simply must be shared to others, make sure you give your readers the opportunity to do so and place the social buttons right underneath it.
What not to do with social buttons
Wherever you do choose to have your social buttons, there are some errors that you want to make sure are avoided so that you also avoid any future growing pains.
Firstly, try not to place your social buttons too close other buttons or pages. You don’t want your users to try and share your content just for them to end up clicking something else different entirely.
This being said, make sure the social buttons are close enough to the content that they’re related to. If they’re too far away, you risk confusing your readers by not making it clear what exactly it is that they’re sharing. Websites are there to make it easy for your users, don’t make them work harder than they need to.
Secondly, it might be tempting to add every single social media icon onto the site in an attempt to share the written content to every corner of the internet, and whilst this may increase your chances of having the content shared further, you also don’t want to clog your page with buttons that are less likely to bear fruit.
To this, make sure that you check your site analytics and see which sites perform best for you, and prioritise them. If your readers tend to share more on Facebook, prioritise the Facebook button – same for Twitter, same for Reddit, same for MySpace if that’s where it’s being shared the most (however unlikely that may be).
It’s also worth thinking about what demographic your content is aimed towards and what sites this demographic is likely to use the most – if your audience is younger then they’re likely to share it to any number of sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. Whereas if they’re a bit older and less proficient with social media, then they’re probably going to focus more on sharing the content to sites that they’re more familiar with such as Facebook.
Make your site mobile friendly
It may or may not come as a surprise to you in this smartphone dominated world, but 80% of the top sites are optimised for mobile use, and 80% of internet users do so on their smartphones. More than half of all global web traffic comes from mobile.
This means it’s absolutely imperative that your website is suited for mobile use. Making a website ‘mobile friendly’ means that content needs to appear well on different sized screens. E.g. Easily readable text, and links and navigation are easily clickable.
To ensure mobile friendliness for your website, you need to have what is know as “responsive design”. This means having your screen and its content fit the size of whatever screen it’s on.
You can find responsive themes on WordPress which allow for easy responsive designs so if you choose to work on WordPress then you shouldn’t worry too much about that.
Responsive design means simplified menus – bigger text and content that is more scrollable. You don’t want to have to zoom in on things that were originally designed for computer screens.
Simplifying items on your site also means bigger, more obvious CTA’s for better conversions. Although you also don’t want to overwhelm your user with several CTA’s. For mobile sites, you want one primary CTA that is easily identifiable for your users to focus on.
Here are some smaller tips to think about:
- Mobile sites benefit from search functions as it reduces the need for large complex menus that will confuse visitors and potentially kill conversions.
- Obvious customer support details like a phone number, email address and social media profile are paramount for mobile sites.
- No pop up ads! They are annoying for the user and almost always hinder the user experience; leaving a bad taste in the mouth of your customers.
- You may end up with 404 errors on your site at times – this is normal and actually quite common. Although it’s best to have them fixed as possible, we’d recommend having a personally designed 404 page that speaks to your customer and direct them elsewhere until you have it fixed.
And with that comes the end of the Framework Website Development Tips Series. For previous posts, click here and for more posts surrounding marketing keep it here at Framework Marketing.
Until then, stay safe and have a Happy Christmas!
All the best from the Framework Marketing team.