Mill St. Blog
Is Your Website Working for Your Business?
Regardless of the size of your business, if you have a company website, you want to ensure that your site is both visually appealing and functional for its target market. Nowadays, more and more people are turning to the Internet to purchase products and services, as it has become an easy and convenient way to “shop” and gather information from multiple resources. Instead of visiting stores, people are browsing the web in search of a product or service that fits their budget and promises to solve whatever their current dilemma is. The Internet also allows for consumers to quickly and easily draw direct comparisons between your company and your competitors. So how do you ensure your business website is working for you, and not against you? We have faced this question many times from prospective clients, who have come to us saying things like: “I’ve spent all this money on making my website the most beautiful, attractive website there is out there, yet I don’t seem to be receiving any traffic”. Or even worse: “People are visiting my company’s website, but no one is buying anything”. As you can see, having an attractive website is only half the battle. You could have the most expensive, visually appealing website on the Internet, but what does it matter if you’re not generating any leads or sales from it? To learn more about website design best practices, and the difference between a good looking website, and a website that actually converts and works for your business, check out the following five steps.
Step 1: The Design of Your Site
Yes, of course your website has to be easy on the eyes. Maintaining both an attractive and professional looking website is imperative if you want your company’s site to succeed in converting visitors into customers. Remember, when a first time user visits your site, you want them to be impressed – and you only get one shot at making a good first impression. A well-designed website will make use of the same group of colours that are consistent with your brand, which will help prospective clients to remember your business. Having inconsistent colours, fonts, and too many images is overwhelming for users, so stay away from this at all costs! You want to reflect a professional yet visually appealing corporate image for your company. That’s the first step, but without the following four steps, all you’re going to end up with is a really nice looking website that doesn’t really work for you.
Step 2: Usability and Functionality
Remember when I said that having an attractive website is only half the battle? This is where step two comes in. Having a website that is both usable and functional is absolutely essential for online marketing success! Your website must be both easy to find (i.e. have good searchability, which we will discuss further in Step 5) and easy to navigate. Think about all those times you have visited an overly complex website, with all the bells and whistles, moving images and a wide array of colours. What did you end up doing upon visiting that website? Chances are that you most likely left the site, never to return. Too much visual stimuli overwhelms people, including your potential customers, and only deters them from visiting your site. So skip the unnecessary and flashy graphics and keep it simple. A clean, professional-looking site will engage your visitors and make them more likely to return. Another key feature that falls under usability and functionality of your website is making sure that your site is viewable on many different platforms. Nowadays, everyone seems to have a smart phone, tablet, or laptop with a different web browser on it. You want to ensure that your website is not only accessible on any given device, but also that it maintains consistency and looks relatively the same across these platforms and browsers.
Step 3: Your Site’s Story
The content on your website should be compelling and engaging in order to turn first time visitors into lifetime customers. To do this, you need to make sure you are writing content that is easy to understand. Avoid using phrases and terms that sound like a sales pitch. Most people will discount these attempts as marketing gimmicks or ploys, and thus will be put off by your website. Instead, try engaging with your target audience by relating to their dilemmas and problems and letting them know that your company has the solution that is right for them. Talk about what your company does and why your company is a better choice than some of your other competitors (without naming or singling anyone out, of course). Be honest and truthful in your written content. People respect this more than being lied to or being enticed with false promises.
Step 4: Be Direct and Let People Know What You Want
This is one of the most overlooked and common pitfalls in online marketing strategies. Remember, people aren’t mind readers. Just because something seems obvious to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is obvious to the world. Perhaps you helped design your company’s website, or had a hand in mapping out what goes where on the site. If so, you have prior knowledge of what it is that you’re trying to achieve by putting this website up. But that doesn’t mean that your target audience automatically “knows” what it is that you want them to do upon visiting your site. So make it crystal clear for them! You can do this by including Calls to Action (CTA) somewhere on your website. CTA’s include saying things like: “Contact us today for a free consultation” or “Click here to find out how you can grow your business today”. If you’re clear in defining what you want your visitors to do when they arrive at your website, you will likely notice an increased conversation rate (meaning visitors are turning into customers), which is a huge part of making your website work for you!
Step 5: Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of naturally (also known as ‘organically’) boosting your website’s traffic by improving its searchability and visibility in popular search engines. Just about every successful website has good SEO practices in place. Without the implementation of proper SEO techniques and strategies, your website will be buried under the many other relevant websites that pop up in the Search Engine Page Results (SERPs) when a user types in a search query. If you want your company’s website to appear on page one, or close to the top of the SERPs, you should invest the time into learning good SEO techniques, or hire a firm who is able to implement these strategies for you. SEO includes both off-page and on-page optimization techniques, which you should definitely make use of if you want your company’s website to rank highly on the search engines. Remember, the better your website ranks, the more visible your site is, and thus the more likely you are to experience an increase in relevant traffic to your website as well as higher conversion rates.
So if you’re beginning to notice that you have a gorgeous, visually appealing website for your company, but it isn’t converting (or in other words: it isn’t working for you), then perhaps you need to try the five aforementioned suggestions to improve your website’s visibility, usability, and overall rankings. Having a beautiful website that is just sitting there idle, doing absolutely nothing for your business is essentially a waste of time and money. You have to make sure that your website is working for you, and by that I mean that it is getting an adequate number of visitors per day and that a significant percentage of these visitors are converting into leads or customers. In order to stay competitive in the online marketing world, it is crucial that your business website works for you, and not against you. If you want to learn more about how your company’s website can help you instead of hinder you in the growing realm of Internet marketing, feel free to contact us today for a consultation! We can help you decipher between having a good looking website that doesn’t perform, and having a website that is designed to both generate traffic and convert visitors into leads! The possibilities and potential impact your website could have on the overall growth and success of your business are endless!