Custom Website Best Practices

November 21, 2012 Jennifer Christian

What do you need to consider when building your custom website? To begin to answer this question you must first determine the purpose for your website and what it will deliver to your audience. Below are some best practices to take into account when developing a plan for your custom website.

  • Keep your layout simple, use a customizable template to start.
  • Post concise content that your viewers can quickly understand.
  • Offer valuable, fresh, content that engages your current viewers to keep coming back to your site, and use captivating content to attract new viewers.
  • Provide accurate contact information, creating an easy outlet for two-way communication.
  • Utilize a clean and consistent design on each page with your logo clearly present.
  • Consider having the links open in a new window.
  • Use widgets and badges to display social media and blog links.
  • Check mobile capabilities and test your site on all browsers for layout and resizing errors.
  • When creating a new page or making revisions, prepare a maintenance page to use in the meantime.
  • Developing a “Meet the Team” or “About” section, with employee photos, is a helpful tool in building a long, trusting, relationship with your viewers.
  • Use photo captions to provide more insight on the images you post. Also, get permission and give credit to other sources for the images, music, or video that you use.

To fully engage with your viewers and deliver a valuable experience, consider why they are visiting your site and what they are looking for. If they are looking for information on your next event or upcoming specials, use a calendar widget to disclose all the details in an easy to view format. Incorporating Call to Action buttons will encourage viewers to click through the calendar, add the event/special to their personal calendar, or click to register for an event. Linking other pages of your site to the calendar, in this example, will ensure your viewers are getting the whole picture and navigating through your site.

If you plan on posting a lot of valuable content you may want to consider adding a search box, bread crumb navigation, and “Read More” or “Continue Reading” links to facilitate a positive user experience. When utilizing a search box tool, design the results page so that it also facilitates easy navigation and review to find what your viewers are looking for. For longer blogs and articles it helps to break up the text formatting by using techniques like quote blocks and short paragraphs.

The use of simple analytic tools can help provide insight as to what you are doing that works, and should do more of, and what is not being utilized on your site, to help you make changes and get more engagement. Always remember, your online presence can directly affect your public image. It is important to always update your information and provide fresh and relevant content that provides value to your viewers.

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About the Author

Jennifer Christian

Jennifer Christian started her career in Fundraising then joined SproutLoud's team in 2012. As a Client Relationship Manager she continually focuses on furthering relationships with brand marketers, sculpting effective channel programs, and enjoys the great outdoors. With years of experience in fundraising, customer support, and sales her talents are warmly welcomed at SproutLoud.

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