12 essential elements to include in your marine business website design
Written by Sarah Rowland
Last updated: 20/09/2016
Living and working in the 21st century, you’re sure to have visited a lot of websites in your time, seeing designs and features that you both love and hate; those that work and those that don't, all helping to influence the design and functionality of your future business website.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur creating your first business website to target the superyacht industry, or a long-term marine marketer and business owner redesigning your website to achieve new goals, Yachting Pages starts from the beginning with the 12 essential elements and considerations for your new marine website.
7 pages to include in your new website design
Months can be spent considering the design and functionality of any new business website, and the design brief and marketing objectives will of course vary greatly from business to business.
Within the superyacht industry, a business offering professional services, such as yacht design and surveys will have a distinctly different design and purpose to that of a marine e-commerce business with online purchasing functionality, such as an online chandlery or crew clothing business, for example. Either way, there are seven essential pages that must be included in any website’s design.
1. Home page
Your chance to make a lasting first impression, leaving users wanting (and able) to find out more. Of course, users could enter your business website on any of your indexable pages, so the design should be as carefully considered and visually pleasing throughout, pulling users through the site to your end goal.
A Home page should always clearly display a business logo and branding; basic contact details should be present, as well as a clear brand message and succinct overview of products, services and offerings - and all 'above the fold'. It should be simple, easy to navigate and establish the corporate identity. Find out more; Inbound Marketing Agents provide tops tips for effective home page design.
When thinking about Home page design, you should also think about your user interface/navigation – this is the foundation of your website, and getting it wrong will cause users to get easily frustrated and leave. Menus should be easy to spot. It should be clear where users should click to find what they’re looking for – this extends to space-saving menus and toolbars, website footers and all hyperlinking within text and articles.
2. About us
There is much more involved in creating an effective ‘About Us’ page than first seems - This is actually often one of the most popular pages on any business website. Sure it must communicate who you are and what you do, but the content should also establish the unique selling points (USPs) that make you stand out over your competitors, and give insight about what you stand for as a business - and all in a way that is objective, compelling and relatable. Simple, right?!
In all seriousness, the About Us page offers a prime opportunity for your business to establish a ‘personality’; it’s a great place to include some headshots of your team, putting a face to the name, or a space for photographs of your business in action, hard at work or at a charity fundraiser. Include general contact details and maybe even direct contact details for individuals, if necessary. Read Moz's tips for putting together an effective About Us page.
Marine marketing tip: Working in a global industry such as the superyacht industry, you will want to include information about where it is your business operates and supplies: Your flexibility, responsiveness and reliability are vital in this fast-paced and fluid industry. Team headshots are useful for those who head to the boat shows and industry events, so people can put a face to the name.
3. Products and services
The ‘bread and butter’ of your business website; users will want to know exactly what it is that your business offers, and preferably how much it will cost them (or at least a guide price).
It’s typically a good idea to have one overall page to showcase your products and services with an image and short summary for each. These descriptions can then link off to more detailed product pages for each product/service offered, with all the features and benefits listed and a ball part price. Users want product information here and now - they don’t want to have to wait for your office to open to call you for the sales pitch. Make it short, engaging, graphic and to the point. Bullet point the benefits and USPs to make text scannable.
4. Blogs, news and articles
Fresh content makes the digital world go round. Not only is it essential for communicating your new business developments and achievements, it also has outstanding ranking and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) benefits for a number of reasons - read more about the SEO benefits of fresh content.
Users often want to find, read and share up-to-date content and engaging industry articles, so it’s a good idea to keep abreast of the trending topics and keep in mind that new content deserves to be shared. You shouldn’t rely on organic traffic and repeat visitors to get the word of your content out there. Shout about it: Share your content across your social media channels, email newsletters and in industry press releases. Read about content marketing and sharing content in our PR and communications guide.
Marine marketing tip: The yachting and superyacht industries present plenty of interesting topics to write about and discuss, and plenty of beautiful imagery to share. Follow relevant groups and talk to people in the industry to find out what it is they would like to know more about and share your learned knowledge.
5. Contact Us
Your contact details should be in more than one place on your website, perhaps as part of your website’s header or footer, and as part of your ‘About Us’ page, but you should also have a dedicated ‘Contact Us’ page in your navigation. This should display your listed business name, physical address(es), telephone number(s), email address(es), fax numbers and emergency contact details, where necessary. You could also include your opening hours and a contact form for quick customer enquiries.
6. Testimonials and reviews
You’re unlikely to buy a new kitchen appliance, or to invest money into professional services without first reading a few customer reviews to see if the product/service really measures up. Your website should therefore include a testimonials and reviews page so that your happy customers can vouch for your services.
Marine marketing tip: Online business reviews actually go a long way to helping your digital marketing efforts, and you should ensure that you are generating and monitoring customer reviews as far as you can across the internet. Read more about the power of online business reviews.
7. FAQs – frequently asked questions
Not only will having a FAQ page help save you and your employees time in answering the same questions time and time again, it will save your potential customers time and frustration in contacting you to ask. An easy user experience is key to the buyer journey.
5 features to include in your marine website design
You may also want to consider including these five features in your website design in order to further enhance the user experience:
A search bar makes it easy for users to find specific information and pages, such as blog posts, products and services.
An events calendar informs users where they can find you and when. Add information here about the boat shows that you’ll be attending and any national holidays where the office will be closed.
Forms make it easy for users to sign up to your business newsletter to keep up-to-date with your business news and activities, and to contact your team.
Hyperlinks make for seamless navigation and improved SEO, linking content and images to further information or related/relevant information elsewhere on your website, which may just answer a user’s queries.
A sitemap is useful to users, displaying links to your navigation and all its web pages, and is also essential for effective SEO, allowing web crawlers to see, access and index your web pages. Read about the basics of sitemap protocol.