Your online presence is important. Whether you’re a business owner, author, or freelancer, people often take to the web first to find out more about you. Creating a website that communicates your brand message, vision, and professionalism is just as important as having a great business name and logo. But if your site isn’t inviting to your audience, your potential impact could be negatively affected.

There are a few key components that will help you to create a site that captivates and retains your audience. In this post, we’ve compiled a few elements that are essential to the success of your site.

create a cohesive aesthetic

If you’ve decided to design your own site, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with choosing layoutsthemes, mood boards, and color schemes. This process isn’t always easy, but we’re here to help – so break out the pen and paper.

To get you started, here are a few design components you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • the rule of 3 always applies: no more than 3 colors, 3 font styles, or 3 font sizes
  • create a consistent and cohesive color palette (this is where that mood board will come in handy)
  • don’t overwhelm your design – too busy can be a major turnoff
  • clean, simple and easy to read is always a plus
  • keep it consistent (different pages shouldn’t feel like a completely different site)
  • make sure your site images link to something

As an entrepreneur, your business is your personal investment. Only you truly understand what you’re trying to express to readers or potential customers. It may seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry with a few good resources and a little trial and error you’ll find your sweet spot.

Theme Forest Link

The misconception that all web design is custom – or that it needs to be – is just not true. Unless you have proprietary software to integrate or custom coding, pre-made WordPress template from Theme Forest is all you need to get started. There are a ton of free options to choose from, all of which provide a professional, responsive aesthetic and using a template can take a lot of the guesswork out of design because it’s all been done for you.

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write a clearly defined purpose

Whether you sell custom hair bonnets or you’re an up and coming writer, your site’s purpose should be clear and easy to understand. The best (and easiest) way to do this is by using the major pages effectively. For example, create a captivating about me page that easy to locate and gets to the point. Don’t write a full-blown monologue either. No one wants to read paragraph after paragraph about how the business was founded. Instead, emphasize the exciting and relevant information. Think of the questions that people most commonly ask you about. What talking points generate the most interest in what you do? Use these prompts to write an about page that showcases your purpose and highlights what you have to offer. The general rule of thumb is that a reader should be able to identify what your site is about within the first 7 seconds of arrival.

know what makes you different

Does your frugal-living blog curate products or sales that are budget-friendly? Are you the only notary on your side of town? Know what differentiates you from the competition. It’s an asset and readers and customers will better understand why the information you provide is valuable and worth their attention. In turn, they’ll stay on your site longer which will help to improve your conversion rates.

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connect with your readers

Building a strong social following is essential to growth and consistent engagement with your audience. While most readers won’t visit your website multiple times per day, they will be checking in on social media. Make it easy for them to find and follow your social platforms.

Also, if your business relies on customers being able to contact you directly, this function should be another prominent feature. Even if it’s as simple as having your contact number or email address displayed in a way that’s easy to locate and not be cumbersome for readers to find. In addition, create a separate contact page with all contact numbers, social handles, basic contact info, and your physical or mailing address (if applicable). Your contact page should be prominently placed in the navigation pane on your site. Don’t worry, most WordPress themes have an easy-to-use plugin for this function. All you have to do is pick the fields and name them.

Theme Forest Link

functional navigation is key

You want to keep your readers engaged while they’re on your site. This means having a low bounce rate. A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that come to your website and leave after only viewing one page. A low rate means your readers/potential customers are interested in your content and are staying on your website longer. The best way to keep your readers interested enough to stay (and learn more), is to have easy to use functional navigation.  WordPress offers a variety of templates that don’t just look good but also feature easily accessible navigation panes. Keep your navigation pane in a prominent area. Your readers don’t want to have to look for it.

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mobile optimization is not optional

The number of readers accessing websites using their smartphones and mobile devices increases by the minute. Your site needs to perform on a variety of devices and internet browsers. When you build your site using a mobile responsive and optimized WordPress theme, it already includes the coding needed. This site from Google makes it easy for you to test your current, or future, site to ensure that it’s mobile-friendly – click here.