88 percent of Australians are now using the internet daily (Sensis, 2017), and e-commerce is allowing businesses access to a world of customers. Businesses without a website are missing out on opportunities to thrive online and deliver a better, more accessible service to their customers.
A website can offer so much more in addition to an effective means to buy and sell. Digitally connected consumers tend to expect every business to be fully searchable for product information, location, operating hours – or even to get to know your brand personality and wisdom through engaging blog content. According to GoDaddy research, 70% of small businesses with a website feel they have a competitive advantage over small businesses without.
With so much opportunity on the table, it’s likely many businesses will be considering how to build a stronger online presence this year. But don’t just jump in feet first – consider these ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to help make sure your site is doing the right things for your business.
Do think about the purpose of your website.
When you know your business back to front, it can be easy to get caught up in the design and functionality without walking in a prospect’s shoes. It is a good idea to be abundantly clear on the home page what your business offers.
When it’s easy to glean what you’re all about, site visitors are likely to feel more compelled to navigate the online journey towards your overall goal. Ensure it’s an easy goal to reach too. For example, while retailers will want to make the buying process as painless as possible, professional services might focus on showcasing their projects or portfolios in the best light. Alternatively, businesses selling experiences might consider videos and content the best way to generate excitement before prompting a booking or enquiry.
Do tell your story
So, you’re a retailer, a lawyer, videographer, restaurant owner – but what might set you apart from everyone else in your game? Perhaps, the story behind why you do what you do.
Videos, images, and blog content could be a great way for prospects to get to know the brand personality behind your operation, as well as your values and motivation. This may lead to deeper connections with your target market which could positively impact the growth of your venture, and in turn, set you apart from the competition.
Let’s take the example of a law firm – publishing regular advisory content might demonstrate to potential clients that you’re a trusted and conscientious group of professionals. Or, a restaurant may choose to post photos of menu items and specials for a more immersive online experience and to demonstrate that culinary passion diners want to see.
Do think about your call-to-action
One way you could generate leads from a website is by having a clear call-to-action. The type of call-to-action you use could vary depending on the product or service you’re selling. It should be well suited to stand the best chance of generating new business, while not putting off potential clients or customers altogether.
Think about offering incentive-based calls-to-actions such as discounts and free trials. Sometimes it can be a game of trial and error, but it’s important that your call-to-action is prominent on your website and encourages your customers to take an appropriate next step.
Don’t do too much
It’s easy to get excited thinking about all the different website functions you could incorporate, but it’s important to pay close attention to what you really need. As the saying goes, it’s quality over quantity, and any unnecessary pages or functions could lead to an off-putting and confusing experience.
A simple website is not only easy and cost-effective to build, it’s also easier for customers to navigate and extract that vital information. When you’re not over-stretched managing multiple site pages, you may also find more time to focus on other things like fresh quality content, fast loading speeds, and mobile optimisation. According to statistics, mobile browsing easily surpasses desktop browsing, while an increase in site speed could boost conversion rates by 74%.
Don’t try to appeal to everyone
Have a firm idea about who your target market is and focus on delivering an exceptional online experience for them. Otherwise, your website (and brand) may likely to suffer with an identity crisis which speaks to no one.
There are many things about your target audience that could influence the design, function, and content on your website. Some key questions could include: How old are they? What activities to they do? How do they communicate? How do they consume content? The answers to all these questions should help you create a website that resonates with your target market and effectively communicates how your products or services solve their problems or fit with their lifestyle.
Do choose the right designer
Once you have determined the strategy for your website, the next step is to build it. Do you employ an expert to do this for you? Or do you Do It Yourself (DIY)? The good news is that today there are tech tools that help to make it quick and easy to build and maintain a website without having a technical degree. Many website builders for example, offer a “smart-learning” feature, which suggests relevant site features, content and images to include – tailored to your industry – making DIY a real option for many.
Whatever path you take to create your website, you’ll want to consider these primary factors: cost, customisation, complexity, time, and ongoing maintenance. Now is the best time to get started, so jump online today, create your website and watch your business thrive.