6 ‘MUST HAVES’ for your business website design.

A conversation with Frederike Moodie, Ondetto

Trying to cover off on everything you need to include on your business website can be overwhelming, to say the least!

A captivating and user-friendly website is an important asset for any business, providing an online shop front for your target audience.

As a graphic designer in Geelong, I have been working with Frederike Moodie from Ondetto for almost 10 years, designing custom websites for a broad range of businesses and organisations from around Australia.

Whether you are establishing a new website or updating an old one, this article takes you through what Frederike recommends as her 6 ‘must haves’ for your website design.

1. Consistent visual branding

Cheryl (Graphic Designer): Achieving consistency in your website design involves bringing together all of your brand elements to communicate clearly to your target audience, who you are, what you do and what you stand for. These will include your logo, brand colour palette, brand fonts, photography and tone of voice for your written content.

Your brand is not just a logo; it’s a representation of your values, mission, and unique selling proposition. Consistency in messaging ensures that your core values are consistently communicated to your audience. When visitors navigate your website and encounter a uniform tone and voice, it reinforces your brand’s personality and resonates with them on a deeper level. This connection can lead to stronger brand loyalty and advocacy.

Frederike, with your many years of experience in website development for businesses and organisations of all sizes and industries, what would you say is the standout benefit of ensuring brand consistency in a website design?

Frederike (Website Developer): In a crowded online marketplace it is important to be easily recognizable, no matter where people interact with your brand – be it on your website, social media, emails, print materials or signage. Consistent branding reinforces awareness of your business and sends off signals of trustworthiness and reliability (i.e. customers know what to expect when they encounter your brand!).

Once you have defined your logo, colour palette and fonts, the website design will flow naturally from there. This also future proofs your website as brand elements and colour palettes are well defined for any updates down the line. Sometimes we can pick up logo colours in photos, e.g. by getting subjects to wear a shirt in the logo colour in a photo shoot, and this can really reinforce the brand too and pull the whole design together. If you can’t have your own photos taken, be aware of your branding and colour palette when choosing stock photos.

2. Informative and Engaging Content

Content is definitely the backbone of any website. It’s what informs, educates, and engages your visitors, turning them into potential followers and customers. Well-written, valuable content that addresses your audience’s pain points and provides solutions can be achieved by including blog posts, informative news articles, case studies, or even video tutorials.

Cheryl (Graphic Designer): We know that regularly updating website content showcases industry expertise, and also provides opportunities to rank in search engines. How do you recommend that clients find a balance between providing engaging content, while also focusing on SEO?

Frederike (Website Developer): Always focus on the usefulness of information for the humans first, and search engines second. Don’t stuff lots of keywords on your website that make no sense to humans. Google is getting a lot smarter and aims to promote content that is useful. It’s also not helpful if people land on your website only to be confronted with SEO gobbledygook – it probably won’t make them stay and convert into customers.

My general rule of thumb would be to target your main SEO keywords on your homepage and main service or product pages (e.g. “landscaping Geelong”), and to target secondary key phrases on your blog or FAQs. This could include:

  • Common questions people might be wondering about that relate to your products and services (e.g. “which lawn is best for Geelong climate”)
  • “How to” articles and tutorials (text and/or video – e.g. “how to care for your lawn in summer”)
  • Suburb and other minor keywords (e.g. a post about a client project you have completed – “A Highton garden design with a focus on natives”).

3. Intuitive Navigation

Imagine walking into a store where the aisles are cluttered and signs are confusing – not a pleasant experience, right? The same principle applies to your website. Clearly designed navigation is key to guiding your visitors seamlessly through your website content. Use logical categories, dropdown menus, and a search bar to ensure visitors can easily find what they’re looking for.

Cheryl (Graphic Designer): Each time we work on a website together, our goal is to make the user journey effortless and easy to navigate. In your experience, what would be the most important factor to ensure that this is achieved?

Frederike (Website Developer): There are certain conventions in website architecture that most websites respect. When it comes to ease of use and clear navigation, it’s usually not a good idea to try to be too fancy or different. The differentiation for your brand should be achieved through other elements (see above in the Branding section) and not through the navigation, as this can easily lead to frustration and abandonment of the website.

People will expect your logo to link to the homepage, and there is a certain order of links that is generally adhered to. E.g. your Home link comes first (or is skipped altogether as people generally know they can click on your logo to get to the homepage), followed by your main Service or Product pages. After that, you’d add secondary pages such as About, FAQs or a Blog, and the last link is usually the main call to action such as “Contact us” or “Book Now”.

This order makes it easy for people to find things quickly and efficiently. Try to keep the wording clear and simple so that people know what to expect when clicking on a link. If your website has many pages, group them in a logical way and use dropdowns in your menu. Keep the main navigation menu items to a maximum of 7 as the human brain can’t efficiently process many more choices than that, and include a Search function.

4. Calls to action

Your website’s purpose extends way beyond being a simple online brochure to promote your services. It’s a platform to engage and convert visitors into loyal customers. Strategically placed and well-designed calls to action (CTAs) encourage visitors to take desired actions, whether it’s signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or scheduling a consultation.

Cheryl (Graphic Designer): An effective call to action is far more than just an eye-catching button. What do you believe makes a great call to action?

Frederike (Website Developer): First of all you need to define your primary call to action – this is the aim of the game for your website and is usually fairly obvious. It should be the main action you want people to complete, e.g. “contact us”, “get a quote”, book online”, “subscribe” or “buy now”.

The website should be designed so that people are naturally funnelled towards the primary action you want them to complete, e.g. if your main call to action is “book now”, you would have an obvious “book now” button in the header, and probably a couple of “book now” buttons, links or images within the text on your homepage and service pages. Your service pages should end with a clear “book now” call to action too, so that people know what you want them to do next. Use action words like “join now” or “book online” and focus on value, such as “get a free quote” or “request a risk-free evaluation”.

In addition, there are often secondary calls to action, e.g. “subscribe to our newsletter” or “follow us”. These should usually be smaller and less obvious than your main call to action and are often placed lower down on the page or in the footer. They are often designed to collect contact details from people who aren’t ready to buy, so that you can follow up with newsletters or through social media posts and ads.

5. Links to your socials

If a potential client has landed on your website, chances are they want to see more about your business and connect with you and your story. Your website is the perfect place to provide click through access to your social media accounts, where they can see what you’re about and engage with you online.

Cheryl (Graphic Designer): Sometimes it is enough to just include a business’ social media icons to a website footer or header in the design. What type of businesses would benefit from also including their social media feed, where the last few posts are featured on their website?

Frederike (Website Developer): A social media feed allows businesses to easily keep their website fresh and updated, but it obviously only makes sense if you post regularly on your socials. A social feed makes it easy to automatically add new images, videos and other updates to the website. You can even control which posts are added to your website, by using a feed that is filtered based on hashtags.

A social feed such as Instagram or Facebook can also help with social proof. New customers might see that you have good engagement on your socials and this can help build trust.

Some businesses use a social feed instead of a blog, if they don’t have the resources to add blog posts to their website on a regular basis. However, a blog has many SEO benefits that a social feed does not have, so it’s ideal to do both.

6. Testimonials

There is plenty of data to back up the fact that, before people buy from you, they want proof that your product and buying experience is what they are looking for.

Including authentic and recent testimonials on your website provides reassurance and relatable stories for your website visitors who are contemplating their purchase.

Cheryl (Graphic Designer): Many business already invite their clients to provide testimonials as a Google Review. Is it important to replicate this on a business website too?

Frederike (Website Developer): Yes, it is important to have reviews on your website as not everyone will check your Google listing, and depending on your business name and location, the reviews may not always come up when people search for your business name on Google.

You can include hand picked testimonials on your website, or you can even show a feed of testimonials from Google, Facebook and other sources on your website.

Bonus Tip: Invite sign ups to your Newsletter

If you have the capacity within your business to regularly bring together useful information for your established and potential clients, then why not deliver this information directly to the inbox of your target audience.

Sending out a newsletter has many ongoing benefits including
• Keeping your audience engaged
• Establishing your business as a solutions focused expert in your field
• Provides the opportunity to make offers to your audience
• Keeps your audience updated on your business activity and story

Cheryl (Graphic Designer): How often would you recommend that a business send out a newsletter to an audience of subscribers?

Frederike (Website Developer): The frequency of newsletters really depends on the business, how much useful information you can create, and how well you can segment your audience. I think it’s better to send newsletters less frequently but with more useful content, than sending second rate content every day.

As a general rule of thumb, people would want to hear from you at least once a month, but no more than once a week. If you have the resources, you can let people choose how often they would like to hear from you and segment your lists accordingly.

Keep it simple

When all is said and done, my advice is always to keep it simple… at least to start with. Including these ‘must haves’ in your business website design will set your website up for ongoing success. However, remember that your website is not something that you should ‘set and forget’. It’s a living and dynamic marketing tool that requires regular updates as your business grows and matures.

If your business or organisation is looking for an experienced team to bring your website to life, give either myself or Frederike at Ondetto a call. You wont regret it!

Frederike Moodie, Ondetto. Website Developer Geelong

Frederike grew up in Germany. She and her husband Guy spent 8 years living in London and have travelled extensively in Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia, India, USA and South America. In 2010 they set off on an epic bicycle ride that took them from London to Geelong, spending 15 months on the road and cycling 18,600km.

Frederike Moodie has a business degree and spent several years working as digital marketing manager for various companies in the UK including Bosch, and Corel. After moving to Australia in 2011, she set up Ondetto to apply her experience to small businesses needing help with their online presence. Over the past twelve years, Frederike has built many websites including eCommerce and membership websites. She specialises in WordPress websites. Frederike is also proficient in website & content strategy, template development and SEO, Google Ads and email marketing.

Frederike loves working on new websites and gets real satisfaction out of seeing clients succeed on the internet.

Frederike lives in Belmont with her husband, daughter and their dog Koko. In her spare time, she likes to read, cook, do yoga, attempt to improve her tennis skills, and travel.