A website is the start of your online journey. If it’s poor quality, users are going to abandon the site (and your brand) in favour of a competitor whose website satisfies behaviour, sentiment and expectations. There are so many facets to this question that we’re going to break this up into three parts: part one will discuss the overarching reasons for this need, and dive deeper as we progress.
Don’t buy a ‘cheap’ website
The first mistake entrepreneurs make is not realising the difference between a low-cost and a premium website – I mean, a website is a website, right? Absolutely not. If you type in search terms ‘low-cost web development ‘and ‘buy a cheap website domain’ into Google, you’ll receive millions of results that promise end-to-end websites for under R1000; while this may sound great in terms of preserving capital, it is likely to be more expensive in the long term.
Five reasons why a cheap website is an online no-no
- It’s a very simple website that will be missing vital online presence, traffic driving and lead-generating functionality.
- The design elements are very limited to a basic template that doesn’t offer ways to personalise your brand imagery. Dimensions will likely be pre-structured, offering you no flexibility.
- The user journey (UX) and user interface (UI) will be boring and won’t appeal to an audience.
- It’s unlikely to be optimised for search engines or mobile devices.
- Critical online visibility functionality such as search engine optimisation (SEO) will be minimal, meaning your business won’t rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).
We could list another 100 reasons, but the main takeaway is that your business won’t showcase its potential value, which will transfer to prospective and existing clients.
It won’t resonate with your target audience
The truth is that people judge a website by its design aesthetics; a generic, flat-looking, ugly website with basic primary colours and no flow will be dismissed immediately. Why? The audience cannot relate to it in any way. Websites need the following visual components to pique attention:
- High-quality images
- Excellent video
- A look and feel to which the audience can relate
- Target your ideal audience
- Strong brand identity and core messaging
Everything needs to be strategically placed according to how the human eye navigates a website. For more information on this, look at eye-tracking studies that explain this phenomenon. Personalisation, engagement and emotional connection are the three signals that need to be triggered; a pre-packed, cookie-cutter website simply won’t suffice.
What makes a high-quality website?
Please note: At this point, we are assuming you’ve understood, on a surface level, the consequences of a cheap website from a development and design perspective. We’ll deep dive into development and design in another article.
Obviously, you need to reverse and knuckle down on the points we’ve already discussed, but a superior quality, traffic driving and lead generating website also needs to convey
Your brand identity
Why does your brand exist? What problem are you solving? These are the two underlying questions from which your brand identity is born. For more information about this vital concept, please read our article: Why you need a resonating brand identity. Here is a brief conception-defining excerpt:
“A brand identity is the audiences’ perception of your company. In a sense, it needs to have its personality that evokes feelings, connection and engagement organically. Remember, a brand’s identity will always evolve with changes in market stimuli and customer expectations, behaviour and sentiment.”
Relevance, context and well-crafted content
The relevance, value and content quality of the business’s products and/or services will drive returning visitors – this is one of the key metrics to monitor when gauging performance.
Quality, organic content that is purposeful and correctly optimised for the desktop, mobile, and search engines will reap rewards of higher rankings. Another essential consideration is the content length for landing and blog pages. The lengths will vary depending on the industry and what suits your business best. However, generally speaking, landing pages need a minimum of 350 words to be recognised by Google’s algorithm, and blog posts should be between 1000 to 3000 words.
Content should achieve the following results:
- Increase in traffic
- Opt-ins (usually for email campaigns)
Social media integration capabilities
There are approximately 2.4 billion users on Facebook and hundreds of millions on social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. This is where your audience lives, and therefore, your website must have a social media presence and structure that allows a seamless transition between platforms. Premium websites will offer plugins to fulfil this requirement.
Trust and authority
This is a technical SEO signal which we’ll discuss in more detail in another article in this series. From a general perspective, prospective customers are going to choose products from brands that are authoritative and trustworthy. If you were given the option to choose between an unknown brand or a pair of Adidas sneakers, you’d likely choose the latter, right? Why? Because the brand has a solid reputation, has excellent marketing, millions of satisfied customers and are endorsed by celebrities and professional sports athletes.
We know we’ve thrown a lot of information at you, giving you plenty to think about, but this is the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Watch this space for part two in this series of key website creation insights.