If you’re starting a new business, you’ll want to have a website as one of your marketing tools. If you already have a website for your business, you might be considering refreshing the layout for a fresh new look and editing or adding to the content. Whatever you want to do, building a website that converts visitors to customers takes time and effort. In order to streamline this process, it is important to create and follow a plan. This helps you to identify potential problems early on so that you can focus on your website’s purpose, goals and objectives.
Your website is your most important marketing tool for your business because it works 24/7 and you’ll want to have your site launched as soon as possible. The sooner you launch, the sooner your website can be a strong source to help you grow your business online, reach your audience and get new business.
The list below is a guide to the essential features that every business website needs.
1. Clearly describe who you are and what you do
When a visitor lands on your website, they should be able to learn about what your business is about and what you do a few seconds. You should clearly display your business name and display an overview of your products or services using a combination of images, videos, and text.
2. A simple domain name
Your domain name or web address represents your brand, being used for both your website and email addresses. It should be easy for anyone to type in and easily remember.
Keep your domain name simple. Don’t use more than 3 words in your domain so that it is easy for visitors to remember. Avoid using numbers which can confuse visitors, and dashes as they can potentially cause SEO problems.
3. Always have call-to-action links and buttons
A call-to-action is an instruction to the visitor to provoke an immediate response. Use them to tell your visitors what you want them to do in clear terms. For example, you might want them to “call for a quote,” or “book a consultation,” or “subscribe” to your newsletter.
4. Visible contact information
Website visitors expect to find information fast. If they can’t find the information they are looking for, they will search and go to another website. Most visitors don’t have the patience to click through multiple pages on your website to find your contact information. The best place to display your contact information is the top left or top right corner of every page as well as the sidebar and footer.
5. Keep content fresh and relevant
Always add new content to your website. This not only keeps visitors coming back to your website, but it also is good practice for search engine optimization. Ensuring your website has fresh content shows customers they have reached an active business that they can trust.
Most of your pages won’t require regular updates, but having a blog is a sure way to keep visitors interested and help your website rank in the search engine results pages. Having a news page that displays upcoming events, company milestones, new product launches, sales and other noteworthy events is also very beneficial. This shows you have an active, growing business.
Google will reward your website if you continue to provide frequent, relevant content about your expertise and your industry. Sharing blog posts to your social media profiles will help strengthen your brand and demonstrate to google that you are active and relevant. Having visitors subscribe to your newsletter also will help to grow your audience.
6. Customer testimonials or case studies
Displaying testimonials or case studies from clients and customers can help increase trust and tangibility in your product or service. Use testimonials that explain how the product or service satisfied the customer or a client’s needs. The reason testimonials work so well is because they are genuine, unbiased opinions from people that have used your product or service, as opposed to a strong sales pitch that visitors see right through.
Testimonials will help to create build trust by your visitors, making them more likely to convert to a customer and enriches credibility for your business.
7. Home Page
Start by using an impressive relevant image for your home page that wows your visitor. The image you use on your home page is powerful in drawing visitors to want to more about your business and what you offer them. The image should resonate with your target audience and communicate a compelling reason why they should work with you.
8. Create a design that is pleasing and functional
Web visitors want to see a vibrant, interactive website that is easy to navigate. If your website is “old fashioned” with a design from the 1990s or early 2000s – plain with small font styles, and reams of information to read through, they won’t want to stay on your website. Your website should provide clear information, and a design that is eye-catching and even exciting to look at with different font typefaces (no more than 3) and sizes, images or videos and doesn’t overwhelm visitors with hundreds of pages to navigate through. Visitors want to find what they are looking for in a few seconds in a layout that is straight-forward with content that gets right to the point. Whether you choose to use striking images, engaging videos, illustrative graphics, or all of the above, make sure you plan and test your design thoroughly in order to achieve the best results.
When writing content, use the following points to keep you on track:
• Break text down into short, concise paragraphs.
• Use bullet points where applicable.
• Try not to use more than 3 Typefaces (i.e. Avenir, Arial, Futura, and Helvetica).
• Try not to use more than 3 font sizes.
Applying these design principles will help you achieve a professional design that visitors will find is easy to read, can connect with it and encourage them to want to read more about your business and the services or products you provide.
9. Social media
An active social media presence helps to build trust with your audience by opening a two-way communication with them. It can also help improve your search engine ranking when you include links back to your website in your social media posts.
Are you starting a new business and need a website? Do you have a website but want to freshen it up with a brand new, sparkling look? Tell us your ideas for your website. We work with you to create a beautiful responsive optimized website you will be proud of for your business. Contact us today for a free quote.