It is almost impossible to function as a successful business in 2017 without a website, and it has been that way for more than a decade. Everyone from attorneys to restaurants to babysitters has a website that serves as platform to create connection, a customer base, and provide information. However, just because everyone has a website doesn’t mean it is great! There are far more bad websites than excellent ones.
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A website should be easy to follow. The visitor shouldn’t need to spend more than a few seconds navigating to the section of the website that he or she needs. The menu should be easy to read, follow, and use. Anyone who visits the website should recognize your call to action within seconds. This goes for both the web and mobile versions.
How do you ensure a website flows well? There are two main things: literally draw your website out with pencil and paper (we realize you may not even own this, but it’s back-to-school time so hit the closest store) and put together an honest test audience built of friends, family, and current customers. Drawing out your website is called “building a wireframe.” This gives you a chance to put together how your website will flow and see it in front of you. Do you want your about us section under information or a separate item? How do you want to group your products or services? All of this is figured out in this step.
Just as important is your test audience. Once you have built out your website you need people you trust to give you feedback. Send them out with the goal to break the website. Make them navigate, take screenshots of anything that looks weird, click links, and most importantly give you their feedback about everything. This group will find things and think of things that never even crossed your mind. Take their feedback to heart and see if you can make their suggestions work.
According to CNN, in 2017 more than 70% of web tasks occur away from a computer. That means people are using their phones and tablets to get things done. People want and expect a seamless transition between mobile and web based sites. In order to ensure this you must make sure your mobile site is workable. This includes making sure it is easy to navigate and allows customer to perform their tasks easily.
Describing Your Business.
One of the key components of any successful website is providing your business information, including contact info. No one wants to scroll through a website without figuring out what the business does or how to reach someone there. Sure your photos look great, but people still need to know exactly what you do. Clearly defining your products and services somewhere on the top half of the homepage is a good practice. This can include conveying your mission, goals, or purpose. State what your customer needs for your industry and how you match that need. Second to this, make sure that your contact information is easily available. Don’t make customers and potential customers dig deep to find it. Make sure you have at least an email posted in multiple places on the website, and put your full contact information under a Contact Us tab that is easy to find.
Beyond just the run of the mill contact information, you need social media links. Yes, that’s right. Whether you like it or not, social media presence is as important as a website these days, and your customers want to see what you are doing on different platforms. If you use a customer service program or service you want to make sure it is easy to find and visitors can quickly access it. The longer it takes for them to reach your customer service team the worse it is for you!
The branding on your social media should be consistent with that on the website: similar graphics, font colors for logos, same message, and more. Your social media platforms are an extension of your website and should be viewed as such. Don’t make any significant changes, but do use social media to share product information, discount codes, relevant articles, and more.
While it is easy to create a website, it is much harder to build a successful one. There is certainly a difference between the two. Take the time to think through every single step, and you will find yourself with an easy to use website that customers love.
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