Your website is often the first impression people will have of your business. You want your website to be effective: customer-friendly and something that inspires people to do business with you.
From thorough contact information to customer testimonials, here are the essentials that every business website should have for it to be a powerful marketing tool for your business.
A Simple, Straightforward Domain Name
Your domain name should be easy for people to remember and type into a browser or email address. Your business name is almost always the best choice for your primary domain name as it helps build recognition and familiarity. Keyword-based domain names are also a good idea and can be used in conjunction with your primary domain name to point to relevant pages of your site.
Good Visual Design and Layout
It is important that your site have a clean, professional design and that it be laid out in a simple consistent way. You want to make it easy for your visitors to find what they are looking for with clear, intuitive navigation. The overall look and feel of your site gives an impression about your business. If your site looks outdated or amateurish, how does that make your business look to prospective clients?
Also keep in mind that visitors often scan through a web page first. If they feel like the page or site has value to them, they will slow down to read. Organize the content for scanning keeping the following in mind:
- Break things down into short paragraphs, with headers if necessary
- Use bullet points
- Highlight important words or phrases
A Clear Description Of What You Do
Make it easy for your visitors. Your business name, products, and services should be clearly stated on the home page. Let visitors know that this is the web site and business they have been searching for. A clear, concise description of how what you offer will fulfill their need will encourage them to stay on your site longer.
A Call To Action
Let visitors know what you want them to do. You may want them to click through for more details about a special offer, or sign up to receive your emails with exclusive email-only coupons, or to contact you for a free quote. Make sure your call to action stands out on the page with highlighted text, a graphic or sign up form.
An About Us Page
People want to learn more about the company or person with whom they are considering doing business. Having a clear, concise biography about your company and/or you helps potential customers connect with you while also learning about your experience and credentials. While most of your site is about how your products and services will fulfill a need or solve a problem for your visitors, the about page is where you get to share what makes you fabulous. Remember to keep it simple and not overload them with too much information.
Easy To Find Contact Information
Include a Contact page with several ways for people to contact you; at minimum a phone number, email address and a contact form. One of the biggest mistakes is to provide people with only one way to reach you; remember, you want to make it easy for visitors to communicate with you in the way that’s easiest for them. It’s also good practice to include contact information on every page of the site in the footer or sidebar or even in the top right corner, which helps visitors find it more easily.
People like stories from real people about their experiences with a business. Other people’s words help make your products and services more tangible to potential customers that are visiting your site and learning more about your business online. Testimonials help potential customers build trust in you and help confirm whether your product or service will meet their needs.
Basic Search Engine Optimization
SEO starts with how your site is built and coded. Make sure the site is constructed in a SEO-friendly way. If you are working with a web designer ask how they will create your web site and what they do to make it search engine optimized – see Finding and Working with a Web Designer for tips. If you are a do-it-yourself-er and using a web site builder or a template, make sure to research what SEO options are available to you. Check out these handy website content, graphics, and SEO resources too.
Once you are confident your site is constructed in a SEO-friendly way, be sure to include plenty of keywords throughout your web site content, name your page titles and URLs correctly, add descriptive text to all the images. SEO will happen organically when you make sure to provide plenty of information about your products and services to your potential customers.
Plenty Of Quality Content, And Keep It Fresh
For many businesses, the website is the first impression on a potential customer. If that’s the case for your business you want to provide them with plenty of information, and even give them a reason to keep coming back. Incorporating a regularly updated blog or newsletter archive is a great way to add new content. Also helpful is to regularly review your site to make sure that the information about your company, products and services is current. Fresh content is also a huge help with SEO; it shows the search engines that your site is regularly updated which in turn helps it rank higher in search results.
Remember to proofread! Content that is full of errors looks unprofessional and may deter potential customers. Always check for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors before you publish the content on your site.
A Site Map
There are two types of site maps: one for search engines and one for human visitors. While you want to make sure your site’s navigation is clearly laid out, if you don’t have a search function, having a site map for human visitors is another way to make it easy for them to find exactly what they are looking for. A good site map is a structured list of all the pages of your site that clearly shows the primary pages and sub-pages.
Consider the following:
- 39% of visitors leave a website if images won’t load or take too long to load.
- 44% will leave a company’s website if there’s no contact information or phone number.
- 38% will stop engaging with a website if they find it unattractive.
- 70-80% research a small business online before visiting it or purchasing something from it.
- 51.3% of worldwide users access the web via mobile devices.
Sources: Adobe, Blue Corona, KoMarketing, StatCounter
Having a mobile responsive website that loads quickly is no longer a “nice to have”. If your website isn’t easy for visitors to view and navigate on their mobile device’s screen, or doesn’t load quickly, they’re going to leave. They may return when they’re on a desktop or laptop; or in the meantime they might find another business that offers similar products and services and not return to your website. Are you ready to bring those customers back? Contact Debbie to schedule a complimentary website consultation.
Would you like support for your website? Webb Weavers Consulting based in Ventura, CA can help! Learn more about Webb Weavers Consulting’s website care, maintenance and management plans.