There are fast approaching one billion websites in the world. And that number is increasing every second. That’s because getting your business online is one of the best things you can do to reach new and potential customers.
But with so many websites out there, how do you make sure that once people find your website, they stay there and have a good browse around. Not only that, how do you make them want to keep coming back time and time again?
There are six things your website must do to make sure that this happens:
1. Have a strong and clear message
The home page on your website is your first and best chance to hook people in! So first of all, your website needs to have a clear purpose. Is it to give your business an online presence or is it for general promotion? Is it to sell things directly? Is it to provide more advanced functions like bookings or customer management?
Then you need to communicate this purpose clearly and effectively in the words and images you use on your home page. This will also help search engines categorise your website for the appropriate keywords and phrases. Many websites simply don’t communicate the essence of their website to customers on their homepage and lose valuable leads and sales. Remember, your website is a potential customer’s first impression of your business. Make it count!
2. Be well designed
A well-designed website makes your business look more professional and gives a great first impression of your company. All of which instils confidence in people about buying from you.
There are a whole variety of templates out there that let you build your own website. And if you have some IT skills, the results can be OK. But there’s no comparison with having a professional designer create the whole look and style for your website.
Good web design blends all of the images, colours, logos and visual elements into one overall design scheme that’s great to look at and easy to get around. A good design highlights the important areas of a website, making it easy for your visitors to find what they want quickly and without any hassle.
3. Be easy to navigate
Think what it’s like when you visit a new website. You want to find what you’re looking for - fast. If you can’t, you simply go elsewhere! That’s what visitors will do when they go to your site if it’s not well designed.
It’s all about getting to the information you want in the smallest number of clicks – three clicks or less from the home page is usually recommended. So make it easy to find things and get around from page to page, backwards and forwards. Organise the information in a simple, logical and structured way. Think of the general path you would like a site visitor to take. It often helps to add sub-pages to the top navigation bar to break down your information into specific categories.
4. Have plenty of content
The main purpose of your website is to give information about your company and your products or services, and how you can meet the needs or wants of your prospects. Therefore, your content is the single most important element in attracting and converting customers.
So make sure that it’s professionally written to reflect your company’s tone of voice and brand guidelines. Make sure that it uses simple, powerful language that avoids jargon, buzzwords or clichés. Above all, make sure that it’s persuasive.
You’ll also need to keep adding fresh content. This not only shows that your company is a buzzing place that‘s moving ahead, it will encourage people to keep returning. New content also helps to improve your search engine rankings on Google and Yahoo.
Finally, you’ll want to include keywords that are relevant to your business and industry in your page titles, meta tags, headings and content so that your potential customers can find your business online. This strategy is called search engine optimisation (SEO) which we have discussed in a previous blog on SEO.
5. Be accessible on all devices
These days, people use a variety of devices to surf the net - laptops, desktop computers, tablets and increasingly, smartphones. Your new website must be able to appear correctly on all of these platforms. In fact, it’s surprising how many websites look great on a PC, but not on a smartphone, because they haven’t been optimised for the smaller screen of a mobile device. Your website will need to be viewable on all of the devices that are out there.
6. Help build a community
Building a relationship with your customers and prospects is one of the best long-term investments you can make. These people will become your supporters and advocates for your brand. So take some time to build up this community.
Start with the networks you know and use – probably Facebook and Twitter. You can include a Facebook ‘Like’ button from your website for your business Facebook page. In addition, a Twitter ‘Follow’ button will allow visitors to connect with you through other media.
As well as your social networking activities, creating and maintaining a blog like this one you’re reading now is one of the most effective ways to build a community and add fresh content to your site. Blogs are a great way to have a conversation with your visitors and customers on a regular basis, and they encourage people to build up trust for you and your brand over a period of time.
For more information on building a successful website to increase the visibility of your brand, please call Karen on 07908 610 190 for an informal chat.