Your online presence starts with a website. In a technology-driven age, it has become essential for local businesses to create a presence online. A website allows you to bolster your current advertising campaigns, take control of your brand image online and build long-term relationships with your customer.

Keep in mind that your website is there to guide your customers and potential customers towards a specific action. However, the action needs to address a specific need from the customer. The better you understand the behavior, the better you will be at addressing their needs.

Website users appreciate quality and credibility in a website. You can have the most beautifully designed website in the world, but if your content is lacking in quality and credibility, your design means nothing. Users scan web-pages. They don't read every single bit of content and search for anchors to guide them through the content of your website page. Your website needs to grab your user's attention in the first few seconds or risk an exit. Users tend to follow their intuition which makes it very important that your website structure follows an intuitive flow.

Each page on your website needs to cater to a specific goal of your user. Whether your user is looking for your contact details or more information on a product or service, your website needs to cater to that in the most effective way. Users tend to consume information very quickly on the internet. It's therefore important that you communicate information very clearly on your website. It needs to be easy to read and digest. You can accomplish this by formatting your text with headers, bullet points etc.

Use color effectively throughout your website. To create harmony and balance, use complementary colors. Provide contrast for the text and background colors to make your website content easy to read. Colors have the power to evoke emotions, so bear this in mind when deciding which palette to use. Text isn't the only form of communicating with your users. Adding rich media to your website like images, videos and info-graphics can communicate a point across more effectively than any piece of text. It can also be very effective in positioning your brand to your target audience.

There is a general"3-click rule" which states that a user shouldn't take more than 3 clicks to get to their goal/destination. Make sure that the website has a logical page structure which has intuitive user flow. Studies have shown that users scan computers in an "F" pattern which places their attention in the top left-hand side of the screen. Good designers will build a website using this flow instead of forcing a different type of flow and prioritize the most important information left to right and top to bottom

Websites that take a long time to load are universally hated by most users. Ensuring that website images are optimized to load faster and making sure the code is optimized will ensure that your website loads quicker. Make sure that your website is optimized to be viewed across all devices. You will be missing out on a big chunk of traffic if your website is only optimized for desktop usage.

Your website is an extension of your business and needs to receive the same attention as your physical premises does.

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