|Original Internet Design|
|Original Internet Design|
With around 12.6 million Australian adults shopping online within the last year, the need for a good website should be glaringly obvious to all business owners by now.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the consumers have outgrown the demand, with many business websites still terribly outdated, poorly managed, or just plain horrific to look at, read and navigate.
If you have a website, we highly recommend that you read the following list and make any and all improvements that you can.
- Understand and cater to your visitors. Who is likely to be visiting your site? What sort of people are you trying to reach with your goods and/or services? Consider average age, gender, demographic, income and so on.
Then make sure that they can find what they’re looking for. Navigation is key - once people are visiting your site, get them to stay by making it easy for them to obtain the information they want.
Clearly label menus and tabs and don’t be afraid of being specific. Where possible, include links to all other parts of your site on your homepage and remember that detailed category lists can be incredibly useful.
- Use original pictures and text. If people can only find certain content on your site, they’re more likely to go - and then stay - there. Unique copy is also great for your SEO, whereas copied and pasted text can often be flagged by Google as spam.
For Text: Ensure that all your copy is written in a tone and language which is appropriate for your average visitor. Spelling and grammatical errors always give an unprofessional impression so proofread everything you submit to your site. Furthermore, be as informative as you can. Many people conduct research online before purchasing - if your site gives them the answers they’re looking for, they may well go on to buy from you. Helpful and/or entertaining content will also often be shared via social media, which means you can potentially reach an even wider audience.
For Images: Avoid blurry, outdated, reproduced photos. Wherever you can, include your own pictures. Photographs of your workplace/shop, staff, products and/or completed services are easy to obtain and will give the visitor a great impression of what you have to offer. Original graphics, logos and professional banners will add class and individuality to your company.
- Be easy to contact! Your phone number should be repeated where appropriate throughout the site and especially somewhere at the top of the homepage, ideally in big, bold letters.
- Build trust. Include trust marks from businesses you deal with on your site where you can. These are logos saying things like ‘Paypal verified’ or ‘Verisign’ - as the name suggests, if you are permitted to use the logo of a recognised business, it will inspire trust in your customers.
- Include testimonials from happy customers. Real opinions from previous clients of yours can go a long way to helping you attract new ones. Don’t be afraid to follow up after your goods or services have been purchased, send your customers a quick email asking them whether they were happy with what they received and whether they’d like to provide a testimonial. You could also add an incentive - positive testimonials will entitle them to a discount on their next purchase.
Just make sure that the testimonials are real and that you don’t publish full names - the first name and first initial of their surname is enough.
- Stay up-to-date! This may sound like an obvious suggestion but we’ve found many sites with outdated information listings. Your displayed phone number, email address and postal address should always be current. If your website has an ‘events’ page, make sure you keep that updated regularly and remove announcements for events which have come and gone.
- Ask your visitors to provide details. Getting potential customers to fill in a few details such as their age, email address and what they’re looking for is a fantastic idea for two reasons. First, it qualifies them, meaning that you’ll get a much better overview of your target market and site traffic. And second, where applicable it will enable you to direct them to the relevant section of your website more easily.
- Convert visitors to customers! Most - if not all - of your web pages should have a call to action; especially your home page and landing pages. This is a statement like “Call now for more information!” Or “Contact us for a free quote!”
Page-specific calls to action are even more effective. Use different statements depending on the page your visitor is currently on and don’t be afraid of going into a little detail, eg “If your weeds are getting on top of you, call us today!”
Your business website is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can own but it does require constant attention and maintenance. If, after reading this list, you’d rather leave all that tedious web stuff to someone else while you get on with making a living, please don’t hesitate to contact us today or see whether you could benefit from one of our monthly website packages.
By Sabrina Cox