10 Best Things You Can Do on Your Business Website
1- Create your website for your target audience
It’s not personal its business. Sometimes I’ll have clients approach me for a website, insisting it reflects who they are as a person by asking me to use graphics or other things that have special meaning for them but have nothing to do with their service.
Your business website is for what you’re selling and who’s buying. Your content and design needs to be created with those two things in mind.
I went through this with my own website WebLab. I used to have funky graphics, weird animations, things I thought reflected me as an artist. However, the majority of my clients were corporate businesses and were turned off by the design. Because of this I lost potential clients, now that my site is geared to them, I’ve received more work from bigger companies
2 – Provide good content
Think to yourself “would I bother to read this?” Content should be simple, relevant, concise and informative but not dry. Add some personality to your writing, this will make your site a pleasure to read.
Include articles, tips, free information, tutorials or anything that will get people interested your site.
Tip: People don’t read websites, they scan them so try to edit your content to rid any excess words. Separate content into short paragraphs with simple, descriptive titles.
3 – Make your site lean and strong
Get rid of the clutter! There’s no need to add dozens of links that go into every avenue of your business, especially not for things that aren’t related to your business. Think about the number of pages in your site, does it add value to your site or just make it cluttered? Focus on one aspect of your business and go from there.
Any top chef will tell you they only eat at restaurants with a tight menu.
TIP: Also make sure you have quality web hosting so that your site is fast. people will NOT wait around for your site to load.
Be choosy about what services you advertise on your site. I simplified my site to where all I have is my web design services even though I also do illustration, flash and some print work. I did that because the majority of my work comes from web design; it shows I specialize in one thing and keeps my site focused.
Also decide if you really need that Twitter feed or Facebook page blob on the site. Again, these make the site look too busy and may not be helpful.
4- Invest in professional photography
Great photos = “oh I want one of those!” This is one thing you should never ever cut corners on to save money! Your beautiful product shouldn’t be photographed with your digital camera in bad lighting sitting on your bed, couch, kitchen table or floor, it cheapens your product. Pictures of yourself shouldn’t be one you pulled from a family gathering or party you attended, it looks unprofessional.
Show you are proud of your business by hiring a Photographer to take professional photos.
Tip: It’s difficult for people to see what your product looks like online as they can’t pick it up and hold it. Keep the image simple by removing any distracting background elements. Provide photos with different angles and close-ups to see details.
5- Invest in quality design and customization
Great website = “I’m sending this to all my friends”. How your site looks will reflect upon your business, so it matters that it looks good and is current. Your site should match your current branding, if you haven’t created branding yet then ensure your website, logo and other marketing material are designed to compliment each other.
All aspects of your website can be customized to suite your business needs. Sit down with your Designer and/or Programmer beforehand and explain what you want the website to do for you; they should be able to build a site tailored to fit your business.
6- Keep it fresh
Hmm latest news is from 2 years ago…are they still in business? Update content frequently, at least every few months so your content doesn’t go stale. Add news, post to your blog, swap out photos, update featured items. Any change you make will keep your site fresh and active and give people a reason to revisit your website.
Coming soon pages are a bad idea, if you have content that isn’t ready to go online either don’t mention it at all or give a specific date it will be online and make sure it’s actually there on that day. Think of how many sites you have visited where you wanted to see a page however it said “coming soon” so you check back later and it’s still there, did you give up? Most people will, they can’t be bothered with your site if they’re disappointed every time they pay it a visit.
Tip: Revisit the overall design of your website about every 2 years. Survey your clients to ask what they like and don’t like about your site to help you freshen up your layout and design.
7- Make your site friendly
The navigation should be obvious and easy to use, no matter where a visitor enters your site they should be able to find their way around with ease. Text should be big enough to read, galleries should provide close up views, your contact information should be easily accessible. Music, videos and other noisy elements should have a clearly labeled stop button.
Don’t force users to fill out tedious forms or register to access certain parts of the site if it isn’t necessary.
Tip: During the design phase do user testing, let unbiased people (preferably in your target audience) evaluate your site so you can make necessary changes before your it goes online.
8- Stand out from the crowd
Think purple cow. Look at your competitor’s websites and see what they do, is there something they all do the same? Do you think they do that because it works or just because it’s safe? How can you stand out from the rest?
Let’s say you own a spa, you’ll find that most sites have images of women in white bathrobes and tea light candles. Avoid those tired clichés and try for something completely different. You could try adding humor, how many spa sites do you see that make you giggle? Isn’t laughter the best stress reliever of all? Be creative and brainstorm ways to make your site unique.
9- Be picky with affiliates and advertisements
Who’s product are you selling, yours or theirs? Avoid the temptation to plaster your website with advertising, it can damage your credibility. If you do have advertising make sure it’s relevant to your websites content. For example; if you’re a real estate agent your affiliate ads could be for mortgage brokers, moving companies and other complimentary businesses.
When it comes to your business website, any affiliate ads you display will give the impression to your clients that these are companies you recommend. Make sure you know who your affiliates are and how they do business otherwise it could hurt your reputation.
Also affiliate ads and other advertising can drastically cut down on the amount of leads your site generates if it is a lead generation website.
10- Be sincere
Marketing 101- you’re not selling a product or service, you’re providing a solution to a problem.
Don’t use high pressure sales tactics to try and encourage people to buy, it’s off putting and looks insincere. Be honest about your business, speak plainly and remove any marketing fluff from your site that isn’t meaningful.
Put your heart into it and allow your website to show you’re confident with your product and service.