Not all websites are created equal, but they do make a huge impression on visitors. We see this ourselves every day as we browse the internet; if a website for one company looks less professional, doesn’t have the information we need, or we don’t like it for some other reason, we are less likely to choose this company. Some websites are unattractive and ineffective when simply compared to their competition, and this can hurt business as more and more consumers do their research online before making a final buying decision.
However, when a website is done right, this means the opposite is also true. Your website is an opportunity to make an impression, win over prospective clients, and to set yourself apart from the competition. Having an attractive website that helps your small business thrive is possible.
Updating your website to encompass what consumers are looking for doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul, but we have provided tips to help you from start to finish. Here are 10 tips that will attract and keep customers on your site and whip it right into shape:
1. Your Roadmap
While still in the early stages of conceptualizing a website, you might think of all of these great pages you will have and all of the useful information you will provide your site visitors. But that isn’t enough. Before a website is created, you should sit down and think through how you want the website to work then you can focus on how it will work. All of the great information you want visitors to know needs to be organized in a way that makes it easy to find. The users will thank you for a website that makes sense and it will also help you rank with Google SEO. Google considers the content and the structure of a website so make sure your roadmap is well laid out.
2. What’s most important?
The information that your customer and clients absolutely need to know needs to be on your website and it needs to be the most obvious information on your website. You may be excited to share your “about page” where you tell a rich story about this business being in your family for 100 years, but let them get to that once they know what services you offer and if you have what they are looking for.
Your industry will determine what information is the most vital. When you are looking up a new restaurant you probably want to find the menu and the address. What do your clients and potential clients want to find? This could be product pictures, testimonials, your address, or skills. Figure out what they need to know first and get them there quickly. Browse your competitors’ websites if you are having trouble pinning down the trends of your industry.
3. Intuitive Navigation
All of your pages and headers need to be clear. This isn’t the time to be overly clever. Visitors need to have site pages that make sense- about, FAQ, product, and other clear pages to choose from.
The order is also something you should map out. When you hover over the “about” tab, what will appear? Which pages should have calls-to-action to get visitors to the right next step? Think about these details and do your research so you have clear navigation that turns traffic into dollars for your business.
4. Contact Information
Yes, it’s that important. Have you ever visited a website looking for contact information and not been able to find it? It is very frustrating and leaves visitors wondering why they couldn’t find it. In most cases, that means they simply give up and look at the next company that popped up on their search.
Your contact information needs to be easily found first and foremost. Keeping it as part of the footer is a good option so no matter what page someone is visiting, they can have that information handy. Some visitors are still going to look for a dedicated “contact us” page where they can find what they need. Make sure your number, email, and address are all clear and easy to find.
Each piece of the contact information should be clickable. If someone is on their mobile device, they should be able to click on your number and call you right then and there. Make sure your email address is professional. firstname.lastname@example.org is not professional and plays into your public image.
5. Mobile Friendly
This is an absolute must these days. According to a study done by HubSpot, 48% of users believe if a mobile site doesn’t work well, the company must not care. If your mobile site is a mess, nearly half of your visitors might get the wrong impression right off the bat. The mobile version of your site should be just as attractive as the desktop version. This is another thing to think about during the planning process and you should decide if you want to modify the desktop website or develop a mobile site.
Smartphones and tablets are responsible for an increasing percentage of web traffic. Everyone is on the go and they want to be able to access everything they need right when they think of it. Make that possible when it comes to your website.
The navigation and the appearance should be seamless. Your templates and images should be scaled to size on the mobile version of your site and the navigation should make sense for the devices.
6. Social Media
Promote your presence on social media on your website. This is another thing you can do in the footer so it is an easy click away from any page. A huge benefit to integrating your social media sites with your website is the SEO boost. Maintaining the content on your social media sites is important to your website. The updated information and the new content will help keep you ranking high.
Having a dedicated area for common questions and concerns helps visitors determine if you’re really the right fit for them. As you are emailed by clients and customers, figure out which questions are asked the most and which questions seem to be holding clients back in some way. Craft each question in a way that captures the essence of a topic that is often questioned then put together a good response for these questions that is clear and concise.
Hackers are out there and you might not think you make a big enough impact to be targeted, but that isn’t always how it works. Hackers don’t always go straight after the Fortune 500 companies. It is important to make sure the communications between you and your clients, which can include personal and credit card information, is well protected. Identity theft is becoming more and more common online and you don’t want your customers to be targeted because of your poor security.
Having good hosting means your website will function as it is supposed to. Your website won’t be slow and your site ranking won’t suffer. These details mean a lot to the customer. A site that is slow can be frustrating for a customer and they might move on to the next website if they are faced with these sorts of frustrations. If you don’t choose a good hosting provider and your site doesn’t rank high enough, customers are likely to not find you at all. Having the 24/7 tech assistance usually comes at a monthly fee, but not a large one and it is worth the cost.
Less is sometimes more. With your website, this will almost always be true. We have all been browsing the web, clicked on a site, then a loud song begins to autoplay. When this happens, people almost always hit the back button as quickly as possible. We aren’t interested in these cheap tricks. The same goes for flashing, cluttered photos, and outside media. They don’t usually add informational value for your visitors that get them to buy your product or inquire about your service. These things will only slow your site down and increase your bounce rate. A clean and simple layout for your website will be the most appealing to the largest number of potential clients. Get the right information out there, but don’t do too much.
Kallie believes technology has the power to change every aspect of our lives, from our home life, to the workplace, and beyond. This belief is rooted in Kallie’s tech-savvy family who were always looking for way to integrate technology at home in new ways, even back in the dial-up internet days. As she went on to college, she majored in Communication Studies with a focus on Media. Bringing these two passions together, she became the Marketing Specialist and blogger for an innovative IT startup in the Midwest, GadellNet Technology Solutions. Her top 10 blogs cover any tech related topic from apps for productivity to the use of drones on construction sites.