In the digital age customers will check your website before even thinking about stepping into a physical location.
Since a website may be the first place that a customer interacts with your company, here are some tips on how to make a great first impression.
Define Your Audience:
Design your website with the person who will be searching for it in mind. If your business is trying to attract tourists, being on respected travel and review websites is a must, but using the endorsement of your local radio station won’t go as far. Making sure your audience is visually attracted to the website can go a long way. Using colors, fonts, and graphics that are on trend is more likely to appeal to younger audiences, and elegant no nonsense designs are better for older audiences or appealing to other businesses. Think of who your product or service is meant to be sold to and design and build your website for what they want from you.
Have Good Visuals:
Pictures and video are the best was to communicate the visual aspect of your business, and it may be cliche, but a picture is worth a thousand words. Potential customers will be drawn into your site by the visuals that you present, rather than a paragraph of text. Pictures can help show the quality of service that customers will receive and what they can expect to see when they come to your business. Retail locations should visually show the types of products and brands they have to offer. Service and experience businesses should make sure they have visuals of their offers and happy customers. Restaurant and bar establishments are immediately judged on the way their food looks so their website must have pictures that benefit them. The visuals on your site can also further define your audience, use pictures that would appeal to your ideal demographics and make your company seem relatable to them.
Key Information is Easy to Find:
Keep important information on the homepage and easy to find. The first information to show should be a combination of the following:
- Store hours, clear for each day of the week
- Address, with a link to Google or Apple maps
- Phone number, that has direct link to phone ability.
- Link to menus or service options
- Simple, positive reviews or rankings
- Contact us page
The first information seen will be how a decision will be made, so make sure they have everything they need to know. The more time a potential customer has to search for what they want, the less likely they will be to chose you. Give the customer the information they want. Overloading a page won’t help, so start off with the information that will answer their pressing questions. After that you can provide content that will keep them on the site and engaged. Particularly for restaurants or businesses that thrive on choices, keep your options and prices easy to find, not on a pdf that needs to be downloaded or a format that needs a document viewer. Extra steps like downloading from the website inhibit mobile device accessibility, something that most businesses cannot afford to do. Keep in mind the questions that someone will have when they are first learning about your company, and why they should choose you over your competitors. That is the information that needs to be front and center on the website.
Keep the Website Updated:
Sites that were last updated two years ago do not lead customers to believe that you are a thriving business. By updating the content, you show your customers what you are proud of doing and what you want to show off. Having your best form of social media directly on your website is an easy way to do this, just make sure the feed being updated as well. It may seem daunting but a quick visit to 10 SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE TIPS TO SMASH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA, can help. The other element of staying up to date is being willing to change your site to follow major advancements. Examples being designing for mobile-use and recent design trends. Be sure to compare your site to competitors’ to see how you stack up.
Nothing is more frustrating than clicking on the link that should answer all of your questions, but it leads to nowhere. Since a website is your primary digital interaction with customers you want to show that you care about the conversation. Check on a regular basis for outdated plugins or old software that may need to be updated. When all of your links are working, check to see how they work in comparison to one another. Does one open a new tab and another changes your current page? Do they work on all devices or operating systems? Do you want to keep the customer on the site or send them to check a positive third party review site? Also, keep in mind if the links will return to the previous page or move throughout the site. Keeping these factors consistent will help consumer’s overall perception of your website and your company.
1.2 billion consumers are turning to their phones for internet, so don’t get left behind. Designing for mobile is different than for PC, not only because of the screen size is smaller but also because mobile users behave differently. Mobile consumers want to see information quickly and visually, rather than with words or descriptions. Another important aspect to mobile is page loading time. Mobile consumers expect a website to load in under 10 seconds, and will divert to another site if that timeframe has not been met. Even more incentive is that Google looks down on sites that are mobile friendly. Websites that do not meet certain mobile friendly criteria will be ranked lower on Google searches, meaning your company will have less opportunity to be visited. If your website hasn’t been designed with mobile as a priority, even if you get everything else right, people may not even make it to your page.
Understand Your Customers:
Find out how your customers are seeing your website, and where you are losing their interest. Google Analytics is a free tool that allows businesses to see how long a customer stays on a page, how they got to your website, their internet browser, operating system, and much more. While this is not something that customers see, having customer data can help spot red flags. Information like time spent on each page, bounce rate, and how the customer found your website is especially important can tell you if consumers are even making it to the information you want them to see. The information that you collect will be important for helping make decisions when it is time for an upgrade and it will help you make decisions that will improve your overall business.
Most customers are guilty of judging a company by it’s website, so make sure that yours is going to be judged in your favor.