If you don’t have a website or haven’t updated your website in a while, it’s probably a good idea to assess your current business goals and understand if you need to make changes or do more in the online space with your website.
These days, a website is a fundamental part of every business. It should be designed such that it supports and drives your business goals, and should be maintained and nurtured so you can continue to keep up with the ever-changing world that is moving more and more online every day.
In this article we will be focusing on the value that a website can bring to your business if done well. We’ll run through how it can:
- Make a great first impression
- Help start the conversation
- Support your marketing initiatives
- Drive sales
- Work for your business around the clock
While reviewing these benefits throughout this article, it’s important to keep in mind and understand how each of these are important with respect to your business goals. As time goes on and the goals of your business change, your website too should change to continue to support your business goals.
Creates a great first impression
There are many elements found on a website that can convey meaning to a user.
The saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” couldn’t be more true! Users will take as little as 10 seconds to assess your website so it’s important to understand what your imagery and design is saying about your business.
Make your point
Be clear with your opening messages on your website. Make sure your message is concise, non-conflicting, and using lingo that your website visitors will understand. Avoid cluttering the screen with too much information that overwhelms and confuses the user.
Focus on user experience
A good website will be inviting to people, allow ease of use and is easy to navigate and understand. Design plays a large role in ensuring that this is the case.
The use of space around blocks of text or sections, breaks up large amounts of content which allows users to focus one element at a time. Designs like this can create a sense of calm, and make it more comfortable for users to read your content, hence encouraging users to spend more time on the site.
When you have too many elements competing for attention, this can cause users to become confused or disoriented and can make it difficult for a user to find what they are looking for.
Mobile first design
If you’re like me (and the other millions of people who have a mobile phone), then you’ve probably got a bad case of the ‘gotta-have-my-phone-with-me-itis’. We’ve got immediate access to the internet at all times and Google is always just a tap away. This means that it’s very likely that the majority of new users will be viewing your website for the first time on a mobile device.
Great websites have a mobile first design to ensure that the design and functionality is designed for mobile devices and isn’t just treated as an afterthought.
Some common examples of poor design that deter mobile users are:
- The text is too small making it difficult to read
- Oversized text and elements takes up too much space on the screen making it hard to navigate
- Difficult menu navigation
- Overflowing text and images that require horizontal scrolling
Use appropriate Imagery
Play to the heart-strings of your visitors. The use of high quality, well framed photographs that align with the personality of your business and that resonate with your visitors’ motives, can be a great way to build trust. Photos can help convey things such as your personality, professionalism, approach and standards of service.
On the other hand, images that don’t look professionally taken, are blurry or low quality could make people perceive the business as unsuccessful, old fashioned or inexperienced. This may be due to the perception that they don’t have the time or budget to invest in a good website.
Speaks to your visitors
A website should be thought of as a communication tool between your business and prospective customers. Consider each interaction your website is having with visitors; each of these are opportunities to start a conversation, provide essential information and encourage users to move towards a goal.
A great website will consider the needs of the user and ensure that information is present in such a way that focuses on these needs.
A key advantage of having such a powerful communication tool on the internet is that it’s always there! Unlike physical shops that require someone to be present at all times, a website is always accessible and available to the public. People are able to browse and decide if your business is a good fit for them, in the comfort of their own home, even while you are off-the clock.
Supports your marketing initiatives
Every business has a marketing strategy around how they obtain and nurture leads and existing customers. A website is more often than not a fundamental tool that supports almost every strategy.
For many businesses, a website opens up many opportunities to market their products and services beyond the traditional reach of a brick and mortar store.
Whether your website is primarily intended to generate leads through organic (SEO), paid search traffic (i.e. AdWords) or intended to be a tool to further build trust for word-of-mouth marketing, it’s often a key deciding factor in whether a visitor or cold lead converts into a warm lead or customer.
Your website and your marketing strategies need to be aligned so that they support each other, and maximise the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
Assuming you have done everything right in the previous points, you probably have the visitors on your site, so now it’s all about the conversions from visitor to lead and from lead to customer.
Expand your reach
Your website lives on the internet, so in addition to word of mount and regular brick and mortar locality, its reach goes far beyond. Harnessing even just a small bit of that could mean a substantial increase in things like revenue, brand awareness or reach, depending on what your goals are.
It’s important to make sure new visitors are taken on a relevant journey that willingly leads them towards a clear call to action. It’s all about building trust to a point where visitors are comfortable enough to contact you or leave you their details. This ‘call to action’ can be something as simple as a prompt to call or email you, or it could be more explicit through the use of ‘call to actions’ such as ‘use code 100OFF get $100 off your first visit’ or ‘sign up to receive a FREE ebook’.
Measuring and assessment of key website metrics
As with any other part of your business, it’s important to measure the performance of your website in relation to the goals of the business. Google Analytics is a great free tool that provides an elaborate range of statistics about your visitors and their experience while on your website. Using key metrics such as the number of visits, time spent on a page, and number of interactions with your call to actions will provide insight into what is working well, and what areas of your site might be in need of improvement. By monitoring and iterating, you can continue to optimise your website to increase its effectiveness in helping your business achieve its goals.
Wrapping it up…
A great website is a necessity and an asset to any business. When done right, it will continue to work for your business around the clock.
It’s important to understand your goals and plan your website around these goals. Set your goals, prepare your internal resources, and understand your budget. These steps will set you up for success when either revamping your current website or building a new website.