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You get 15 seconds. That is your window of opportunity to grab your viewer’s attention on your website. With such a short time available to make a lasting impression, how do you make sure your website has all the elements to fulfil its role?

1. The Design

You and your audience

It all starts when your web designer takes the time to truly understand who you are, how you conduct your business and who your target market is. The website’s general functionality, look and feel need to be designed to be an extension of your business. Whether your website is a one-pager or a fully-fledged online shop, successful websites are built on customer-centric interface design where the web designer strategically places clear call-to-action points, making it easier for the user to become your customer.

The ‘Wow Factor’ 

A video, striking design or animation will help boost your customer engagement. Small, incremental actions will mean that your website will take your user on a journey and make sure they do not hop off prematurely.

2. The Development

Following a web design exercise, the role of a good web developer is to code the website as an exact replica of the design generated.

Efficient Coding

Users, especially those on smartphones, will abandon your site if it does not load within 3 seconds. Websites that are developed properly, coupled with optimised servers, will ensure you are well within this limit. It is of paramount importance that website development also caters for users on smartphones and tablets.

Search-Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Web development also affects your SEO. A well-coded website will make it easier for Google and similar search engines to crawl your website and place it higher in their rankings.

3. Maintenance and Upkeep

Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS is a user-restricted area where you are able to update aspects of your website without any technical knowledge. This will help you keep your content fresh for your users, such as introducing new website pages, blog articles or promotions. Fresh content means that customers are more likely to regularly visit your website.

Maintenance and Analytics

Regular check-ups and coding improvements need to happen regularly. In addition, tools such as Google Analytics will help you extract certain data that your web developer should also help you understand to optimise your “customer journey” further.

4. Custom-made websites – the way forward?

Custom-Made vs Ready-Made Template

A ready-made (off-the-shelf) website means that the website is pre-designed and developed. The developer will then change the logo and certain basic website elements to match your branding. Although this might be a cost-effective solution in the short term, these websites usually suffer from slow-loading times, insecure code that is not future-proof as well as a design that has been reused over and over again by other organisations.

So how do you achieve an optimally designed, well-coded website that is also easy to maintain and flexible for future changes and extensions? The answer is a custom-made website. This is because like a tailor, your web designer will take the time to design and subsequently develop your online presence from scratch, keeping all the above concerns in mind. When investing in a new website, ask specifically what you will be paying for and make sure to shop around, so as not to get a template for the price of a custom-made website.

A well-crafted website will do its job. Your user should leave your website having taken the action you wanted them to take – whether it’s simply filling in a contact form for a call back, an online sale or a social media chat requesting more information. These results are what makes your investment a success. This is what it means to have a website that works.

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