Here at FoodE, websites are our world. However if you’re setting out to create a new website for your business, we’ve listed out a guide of best practice do’s and don’ts. Read on for how to create a functional and stable website which delivers the very best user experience.

Build for Everyone

Make your website accessible

First and foremost, make sure people can access your website! This doesn’t just mean putting it live, it means ensuring as many people as possible can use its features and understand your content without relying solely on visual cues. Accessibility has become a critical aspect of modern web design. It’s essential to cater to users with visual impairments by considering colour contrast, font size, and typography. Implement text and colour controls, respect browser preferences (such as reduced motion effects and high contrast settings), and adhere to WCAG guidelines.

Quality Control

Deliver the very best website experience

While accessibility is vital, delivering a high-quality user experience is equally important. A user encountering a broken page or receiving warnings about insecure content can diminish your website’s authority and trustworthiness. As your website’s functionality and user base grow, it must be built to be robust and future-proof.

An often-overlooked aspect of high-quality web design is the correct use of tags and markup to create the website’s underlying structure. Unfortunately, with the rise of drag-and-drop website builders like Wix and Squarespace, achieving optimal markup can be challenging due to limited control. This is where professionally built, bespoke websites excel, offering precise control over the produced markup and ensuring long-term robustness.

Peak Performance

Strive to exceed expectations

Website performance is closely tied to the quality of its build. 

A robust structure allows for efficient development without unnecessary features. One of the golden rules we follow at FoodE is that a website should be designed around the desired user journey, not just aesthetics or personal preferences. Most importantly, your website should not only meet customer expectations, but exceed them!

Implementing performance-focused strategies, such as browser and server caching, delivering next-gen image formats, and preloading essential assets, enhances the user experience by providing faster load times. This creates a lasting impression of stability and professionalism and helps boost search engine rankings.

Tell your Story

People want to know you and your brand

All businesses have a great story to tell and people want to know! Food producers and retailers always have a far more interesting story to tell than large supermarkets. Where did you come from, who are you, what matters to you, how did you reach your current position? A compelling narrative can resonate with customers and help to build emotional relationships with them which can foster long-term loyalty. If this is backed by a strong brand identity it will increase familiarity for customers and allow them to feel like they know you and develop a true connection. This will vary based on your business size and sector, but communicating your story will always help to underpin your brand.

Personalise!

Make each customer feel valued

As the adage goes, the customer is always right, and this should be reflected in the choices your website offers to personalise the user experience. By offering customisation options, you can help your customers feel empowered and as a result are more likely to see return sales and positive feedback.

Ways to facilitate this include showing bespoke recommendations based on customers’ shopping habits, a variety of ways to pay for an order, and also custom offers for long-term customers based on their purchase history. This can also be tied into building the website for everyone, offering language and text or colour controls.

Be Flexible

Give your customers plenty of choice

With work and family patterns shifting, customers need and want more options when it comes to placing online orders, for example being able to choose between delivery or store pickup, or even splitting orders across multiple destinations. These kinds of options are being offered by large retailers and customers have come to expect this kind of convenience.  Being flexible with how you fulfil your orders will lead to fewer abandoned carts and further encourage brand loyalty.

Social Media Sales

Reach new audiences and expand sales

Selling products directly through social media platforms is a trend that has really taken off in recent years, and we’re seeing significant investments in this area from the major providers. Even if not selling directly, publishing posts which highlight and link through to your website’s products is a proven way to increase traffic and get your products in front of more eyes.

Additionally, it can help to build your social media presence and following, further increasing brand loyalty and enabling you to more directly engage with your audience. Consider reaching out to influencers as part of your marketing strategy to leverage their own following and push your brand and products to a wider audience.

Ways to Pay

The final hurdle!

Your customers have enjoyed a wonderful website experience, don’t fall at the final hurdle! Payment is another crucial step. With so many payment options available today, from PayPal to newer services such as Venmo and Klarna, it is vital to offer a variety of options to your customers to suit their financial needs. By providing multiple ways to pay for your products, customers have more freedom to pick what suits them best and makes it less likely they will abandon their cart altogether.

Offering Apple Pay and Google Wallet payment features is a good way to drive conversions for mobile checkouts, with many people opting to use those for convenience for their day-to-day spending, meaning they will feel confident and secure in buying from you – a fundamental aspect of any online payment processing.

Measuring Success

Keeping a check on things

So your website is live, accessible, fast, and flexible. All done, right? No! A website should never be considered complete; it must continuously evolve. Measuring the impact of changes and understanding user behaviour through tools like Google Analytics and Hotjar is essential. Identify key metrics to track and review data regularly. For instance, if users frequently drop off at a particular page or abandon the checkout process, adjustments to content or layout could improve results. View website changes as a cycle: review data, implement changes based on findings, and review again.

By focusing on these key areas, you can create a website that is accessible, high-quality, high-performing, engaging, personalised, flexible, and continually improving, leading to a superior user experience and stronger business results.


FoodE is currently offering free website audits to food & drink businesses.  Sign up here to receive yours.