How to Design a Website Around your Social Media Needs?
Let’s face it – web design and social media fit like hand and glove. In today’s times if your website isn’t social media friendly, it’s not going to work. It won’t get the visibility it needs to survive the competition. By designing your website to fit around your social media needs you are giving your website the opportunity to be shareable and potentially go viral. A website must allow you to tap into the infinite potential of social media and optimize its use.
The first thing to do in order to design a social media friendly website is to define your needs from social media. These usually are:
- A wider reach
- Improved Credibility
- Enhanced Niche Authority
All other needs or expectations are offshoots of these needs. So, if you make sure that your website focuses on these primary needs all your other needs and requirements are taken care of, automatically.
So here’s what you can do to create a well-rounded website that does all it can do, to improve your presence on social media.
Integrate a Blog
Your website content needs to be shareable. It must make people want to share it with their friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. But here’s the harsh truth. Your website content, however useful, might not be considered share worthy by website visitors. Therefore, you must have a blog section up on your site that is as well designed as the other parts of your website.
Your must be used like a factory that produces good content, and I am not just talking about well-written articles. The blog must also have infographics, videos and images. Your blog content must engage the visitors enough so that they share the link to its various posts with their readers. The content on your blog mustn’t be just good, it must be brilliant. Remember, your blog is not just a way of improving the awareness of your website, but also its credibility and authority. The quality of your blog should leave a major impact on your users.
I am sure you find share buttons pesky and irritating. But, you need to have them up on your blog post pages, and if possible, also on your website pages. So, all that your users will need to do is click on the button of their choice, and make sure that the link to the page is shared with their fans and followers on the particular social network. Now, here’s where your designing aptitude must come to the fore. Make sure to make these buttons as unobtrusive as possible. One of the better ways of doing this is hard coding them as you will then be able to use them in a way that won’t affect the UX of website visitors.
Now there are some people, let’s call them social media industry experts, who believe, there is absolutely no reason to use social media buttons, because if the users actually like your content, they will share it no matter what. But the fact is, how many people are going to take time out to copy paste the link to your content on their social networks to share it. I am guessing, not many! That is why social media buttons must be used; but try and make sure they don’t interfere with site usability.
Adding Social Functionality
Major social networks like Facebook and Twitter offer plenty of social media functions that can be integrated on your site. What’s more, you don’t need technical wizardry to use these functions. Twitter offers something called Twitter for Websites that helps you integrate a range of Twitter functions into your websites, for e.g. you can Tweet directly from your site or you could even convert Twitter usernames that you use on your website into links and do a whole lot more.
Facebook also offers a whole range of social plugins like the comments plugins that allows users to comment on on-site content or the activity feed that shows users what their friends are doing on your site through likes and comments. The idea is to make use of these plugins for nurturing better interaction between you and website visitors and also website visitors with their friends who have also visited your website.
Give Importance to Onsite Usability
While you focus on making your website the hub of your social media interaction, don’t forget your website’s design in the process. It must come good on all the best practices of web design and must showcase your brand message in a wholly credible way. Its design must encourage trust and must showcase the brand’s message with perfect clarity. The idea is to get your website design right and then start making it more social media friendly.
Think Above and Beyond your Website
I want to wrap this up by saying use your website to leverage the potential of social media, but don’t confine your attempts to your site alone. Look beyond your site and think how you can use social media to further your brand engagement with its consumers. Building a Facebook page for your business, that is as well designed as your site and includes the same visuals that have been used to brand your website, is a good idea. Use your social media presence to not just share links to your blog posts but also share valuable niche information with people on your network. Make sure you have a unified online and social media identity that works to increase your brand awareness.
At the end of the day, if you want to design a website around your social media needs, all it requires is a prime focus on content. If your content works, you can get the best out of your social media. It becomes the talking and meeting point for your target audience. On the other hand, your inability to create great content will have a detrimental effect on your brand’s social media performance.
Author info: This post was written for Designers Mind by John Siebert. John Siebert is a Marketing Guru and Web Professional as well as owner of http://www.tampawebdesigner.net/, a Tampa Web Design business business.