If you read some of the articles on this blog, you already know that I firmly believe that every company, big, medium or small, should have its own website. Even if a certain firm is not going to directly make any money from it, it should still invest in its web presence.
Why? – Because your website can help you better market your business. Next to that, it can help you gather valuable feedback on your products and services, and gain new customers by showcasing your expertise to them on daily, weekly and monthly basis.
There are still a lot of people out there who fail to see the benefits of owning a professional website. They think that just by owning any type of website, they’re doing more than enough for their business.
The Web is full of awful company websites, and I’m not just talking about design. There are many other elements that play a much more important role. People will rate your site on its speed, structure, UX, content, responsiveness, etc.
Hell, even Google will penalize you for having a terrible website.
If, for instance, you have a website that is not quite user friendly, that confuses your visitors and makes it hard for them to find certain information about your products and services, then your website isn’t worth a single penny. People will leave it without making a conversion and you as business owner will be left there to watch your worst nightmares become reality.
From contact information, product and service description, to your website speed, there are a lot of things a small business owner needs to get right if he or she wants to make a name for themselves in the extremely competitive digital global market.
1. Clear Communication and Objectives
The internet is basically all about communication, so it is of crucial importance that you present your message in a clear and straight-forward manner. Clear communications will help people easily understand who you are and what you’re selling.
By keeping your message simple and easy to understand, you are showing your customers that you are professional and trustworthy. Of course, if your message is jumbled and includes errors, you are showing that you don’t care about details so customers will think you won’t worry about details within your business either.
Good communications builds your reputation, your credibility and your relationship with customers, and all of these build your business. Clear communication is critical to the success of any business, but it is often left to care for itself in many businesses.
2. Intuitive Site Navigation
People aren’t patient as they used to be, so it’s pretty important that you make it easy for them to find what they need on your website, if you want them to do business with you.
For example, I love eating at this one restaurant. It has great food. Everything on the menu is terrific. Unfortunately, I’m not always free to swing by for a quick launch. Sometimes I have to order it in. Thinking of it as a pretty standard task, a couple of days ago I set down and tried to order their food online.
What was expected to be an easy and joyous function, turned out to be a complete nightmare. Their website is so awful that it actually gave me headaches. The menu is out of date and confusing, plus it’s really hard to navigate. It took me a few minutes to find it, and when I did, I couldn’t figure out if I placed an order or not. Naturally, this drove me nuts, so I took my business elsewhere, to a place where I can see what I’m actually doing.
So, what happened here? Due to poor UX, content and design, this restaurant lost its loyal customer. Although I still eat there sometimes, when I have the time to come around their place for lunch, but I never order their food online. This sucks for them ‘cause, as you know, I have to eat everyday.
When developing your navigation strategy, you should consider a call to action. What is it that you want people to do on your site? Place an order? Download a file? Leave their information? Put yourself in their shoes and carefully examine if a certain action is logical enough for them.
3. Contact Information
Making it easy for people to get in touch with you should always be on top of your priority list.
If you own a business which makes all of its profits by stimulating people to visit your website and order all sorts of goods and service from it, then publishing your email address, business address and telephone number is mandatory. The more options you give your potential customers to come in direct contact with you, the better. Failing to do so makes your site look like a scam operation that many people will not dare to trust with their money. Hence, you’ll find yourself in a pickle.
Apart from coming into contact with potential customers, leaving your contact information public on your website could be of great use to you in all sorts of different scenarios. Let’s say that a certain investor digs what you do and decides to partner up with you or even buy your business. How will he come into direct contact with you if you don’t leave your info on your website? He’ll comment on one of your blog posts? I don’t think so.
What if a certain superstar designer, or content manager, or developer, or whatever is that you seek, finds your website, falls in love with what you do and decides to send you his resume? Where’s he or she gonna submit it?
Your contact info should never be something that’s hard to find. Think about this long and hard before you choose a place where you want to display it on your site.
4. Customer Testimonials
I know a lot of people who cannot imagine shopping for certain items or services before checking on the web first what people are saying about them. Digital technology has given us the opportunity to browse through a lot of options, read about the products and services, and make smarter choices.
That is why it’s of great importance that you offer your potential buyers some “social proof” that your offer is great. Although there are a lot of companies out there that don’t want to admit this, a lot of sales these days are influenced by custom reviews. Why? – Well, because they’re candid. There are written in plain language by regular people, who don’t collect a salary from the owners of certain products and services they’re reviewing. They’re just satisfied or unsatisfied customers who are willing to share their two cents with anyone interested in conducting business with a certain party.
Why is this section so important for your website? – Custom reviews and testimonials build trust in you, especially if you’re a new business. People love hearing stories from other people. It helps them put things into perspective. If you have 5-6 great customers testimonials published on your website, your potential customers will start seeing you as trustworthy source.
5. Good SEO
So, what does this exactly mean? Good SEO is a pretty vague term. It means that you need do all you can to make it easy for people to stumble upon your site. A good SEO strategy is and should be to improve the rankings of a website. To accomplish this goal, your SEO strategy might need to include highly complex and time-consuming activities or you could get away with just performing the SEO basics, it would highly depend on your target keywords, the industry and the level of competition it faces.
So, a basic SEO plan includes activities such as creating a good website with at least 10 high quality articles published on your blog (for best results, keep articles over 1200 words and embedded with rich media), using your website to build your social graph (Google+, Facebook, Twitter, mailing list), marketing QUALITY content on that very same social graph, such as infographics, image quotes, media rich articles, videos are the best, doing some link building by commenting on various blogs, answering questions and connecting with other blog owners and writing guest posts.
As your site builds authority, more people will want to work with you, link to you and it will be easy to get featured on bigger blogs. This is a full proof recipe. Sure it takes time to build your authority, connect with influencers from your industry and drive traffic to your website, but hey, nothing’s easy in life. Be consistent, show a lot of hustle, and I promise you, you’ll see your business dominate on the Web.
6. Content That Speaks to Your Targeted Audience
Today, for most businesses who operate online, content marketing is on top of the priority list. The only problem is, most companies who invest in this field don’t really know how to make it work for them.
Why? – Because they don’t quite understand it. They think that content marketing is something that can be automated. They think that this is something that can be copied and recycled over and over again, like every other form of marketing, without investing a single brain cell into its development.
The fact of the matter is that content marketing has become the most efficient and effective way for businesses, big or small, to increase their online presence and position themselves as experts in their field. It has given everyone a fair chance to demonstrate their knowledge to the world and gain customers and all sorts of different brand ambassadors solely by what they create and share on the web.
What makes content marketing so attractive is its power to form strong and loving relationships between businesses and their customers. When such a relationship is created, the likelihood of the customer buying your company’s products and recommending your business to his or her family members, friends and colleagues increases substantially because these people now trust your brand, which means that they’ll do everything in their power to represent it in the best way possible.
As I already wrote on this blog, anyone who has ever built anything, be it a house, a LEGO castle or a website, will almost automatically tell you: “Before doing anything, focus on building a solid foundation for your project!”
Foundation to projects is what feet are to people – If you had no feet, your legs would be useless. No matter how bulk they are, you wouldn’t be able to stand or walk anywhere.
All structural problems come from a bad foundation. Cracks on the walls, swinging doors, uneven floor, jammed windows – these are all foundation related issues.
When you really sit and think about it, our website is basically our home. We spend most of our day on it, we invest a lot of our time, money and energy in making it nice and tidy for people who come to visit it, and we’re always trying to make it a reflection of who we are, what we’re all about and how we want people to see us.
It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on design, or how great your UI is, if your website isn’t secure or hosted on a proper server, you’re basically waiting for it to go under!
When it comes to investing in your website, next to great content, good hosting service should be on the very top of your list. Without it, your website cannot performer on a desired level.
To find which hosting best suits your business, please read the following blog post.
That’s it. These are all the essentials you need to think about when creating a website for your company. Now that you know where to start, and on which elements to focus on, go out there and start making a name for yourself.
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