Building a website

In the fourth episode of the Startup Series, User Interface Designer and owner of digital-media agency FLAVR, Omar Choudhry gives his top tips on how to create a winning website.

Put your customer first, think mobile and make your checkout process as speedy as possible.

These are just some of top tips on how to build a customer-focused website from user interface and experience designer Omar Choudhry. Having started his own digital agency at the age of 17, Omar has since gone on to work on projects with global brands including Adidas and Spotify.

Omar says that while building a company website might seem simple – you can build a site in a couple of hours using SquareSpace, Wix or Wordpress – they are limited in terms of design flexibility.

He says the real challenge of building any website is to implement the structure, processes and content which will put your customers’ needs first. “The trick that a lot of people miss is they create a website thinking about everything they think a website should be, not realising what a website is today. So it’s: ‘We need an about page, a team page and we need to make sure everyone has cool team pictures.’ That’s all great, but what are trying to get from the website? Why are people coming to your website?”

Omar says websites should guide customers to the information they need, as quickly and easily as possible. “People want to figure out something fast, especially if you are a new business. There’s already an array of businesses out there. If people are going to click on your url and see the same stuff that every other brand is talking about, it’s just going to be the same as everyone else. You want to do something that’s different. Save them the steps and take them directly to the source.”

Read on for Omar’s tips on how to build a website which will sell your product or service by focusing on your customers’ needs:

1. Think about what's important to your customer

“Let’s say you sell hats. If people are coming to your website, they are coming to see why they should buy your hats, the type of hats you sell and how easy it is to purchase your hats.

When people go to your site, what are the first things they see? There’s no point in them seeing a whole page about ‘our embroidery’ or ‘our team has worked 10 years on this thread’.  They want to see your hats – show them the pictures. People want speed not an overload of information, that can come later.”

2. Prioritise your mobile version and incorporate your website into social media feeds

“When putting your website out, create the mobile version as a primary source. If people are going to go onto Instagram and click on your link, it’s going to load up the website on a mobile. It needs to be easy to follow through.

All social media platforms allow you to put your website on there – on Facebook on your Twitter or Instagram biography. Your website is there by default. It’s one of the main call to actions that people are going to click. When people click that, you have to understand that most of your traffic will come from mobile.”

3. Direct your customers to where they want to go

“Let’s say that your website is myhats.com. Your url shouldn’t be myhats.com on your Instagram it should be myhats.com/ and maybe the name of a specific product, or the ‘Buy Now’ page.

Directing your customers saves them steps. Don’t send them to the homepage, so they have to click on ‘Browse hats’ and find the hat. Send them directly to the hat, so they can see the price and check out there. It will save them two steps.

If you are a service-based industry, take them direct to your Service or Contact page. Don’t take them to a landing page which says: ‘We are creativity with a difference’ - that sounds crazy. People don’t like kind of stuff any more, they want to know why you are different - prove it first.”

4. Keep your text simple and to the point

“Condense your text information down and make it easily explainable. When you go to your homepage, explain what your service or product is in five words. Don’t start with ‘We believe’ or ‘We are’ or ‘Our mantra is’. Just go straight to ‘We sell hats,’ that’s it. People like that, it’s like: ‘Ok, you sell hats, what’s different about your hats? Let me check them out!’ Stick to what you sell.”

5. Look to new talent when building your website

“If you want a website that’s more advanced, get in touch with university graduates. People coming out of university have great talent and often will work on your project for an affordable rate.

You can give them a low budget and they can get work done that they can use for their portfolio, which they can then use to get a better job. Everyone wins.”

You can start contacting people who have just come out of university via direct messaging:

  • Go on Twitter, hit the search button and say ‘looking for web work’ as a key word. This will help you find people.

  • Go on Instagram, click on tags and type in #web designer. Web designers are going to put this hashtag in their posts so you can find them. Look at their work, message them and ask you to contact you back.

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