Branding

Why your business needs a website – part two

By Mark Ainsworth

So you’ve decided that you do need to get yourself a business website, for the reasons listed in part one.

You might need to get yourself a web design and hosting company to help you put it all together, but otherwise it really is up to you what you put on there. As you don’t want to make your website too complex or confused, what are the essentials that your site needs in order to be a success?

Important business information

This may seem obvious, but before you get started you need to work out what is the most important business information for your page to display, and how to display it. The most important things to include will depend on the type of business that you have, but basic information such as contact details, an ‘about us’ section and links to social networks should be standard on any website.

You will definitely want to include your mission statement with your about us page, to give your audience an idea of who you really are. However, keep it simple, because newcomers to your business aren’t going to be interested in reading your autobiography or your hopes and dreams for the future.

Consider Paypal’s mission statement as an example – “To build the Web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.” It tells you everything that the company does and hopes to achieve, in just 11 words.

Other important information will include great product listings and images for retailers, menus and food photos for restaurants, and pictures and testimonials for those in the service industry. Knowing your business best, this will be up to you to determine.

Simple navigation

Don’t try to be too clever with your site. People don’t want to have to work hard to get what they want out of a company that they have no investment in yet. As quirky or clever as you design the site to look, it needs to be so easy to navigate that a four year old could do it. Avoid putting too many options and categories on the home page, and have everything clearly signposted.

You should also decide what it is that you want people to do once they are on your site, and build that call to action right into every page. If you want people to buy something, make it super easy to find products and check out. If you want people to email for a quote, make sure that the email address is prominent on every page, or that you have a very obvious contact form in easy reach.

Integrate social media

It is a mistake to rely just on social media, instead of having a real website, as mentioned in part one of this article. Social media sites frequently change their algorithms, so that marketing which worked well a month ago might not yield any return at all now, and just having a lot of fans and followers doesn’t guarantee that people are seeing your posts.

However, it is also a mistake to neglect social media, as it provides a wide and varied pool from which your business can draw from. Facebook alone has more than 1.59 billion users, and word of mouth spreads quickly across social media in all of its forms.

What social media platforms should you sign up for? The simple answer is as many as you think you can manage. Try to work out which are the most popular in your target audience and focus first on these, but the more platforms you have the wider your potential reach.

Once you’ve linked your site to your social media, maintaining your presence doesn’t have to be that difficult, as you can set all sites to update when you update your website

Mobile compatibility

Making your website mobile compatible is absolutely essential these days. More than 90% of internet users now switch between computer devices, tablets and mobiles throughout the day. If an internet user switches to their mobile phone only to find that the site they were previously using isn’t mobile compatible, the likelihood is that they will switch to one that is. People are also more likely to idly browse the internet on their phones whilst watching television or not otherwise engaged in activity, making this a prime time to create new customers from casual browsers.

Mobile websites not only offer easier navigation, they also offer enhanced visibility, with graphics and web design altered to fit the dimensions of a mobile phone screen rather than a computer. Without being mobile optimised, traditional web designs can be illegible and impossible to navigate on a smartphone, leading consumers to navigate away from the page quickly. Google recommends responsive web design for this reason and, in 2015, changed its algorithm to favour optimised sites over traditional ones. This means that optimising your site for smartphones could even help with your Google rankings!

Excellent design

Studies have shown that over 90% of internet users make a decision within 10 seconds of visiting a page as to whether they are interested in the site or not. This means that you could have the best deals on the whole of the web, or the most fascinating content, but if your site doesn’t look fantastic then no one will hang around to find out.

With the home page being the very first impression a random internet user has of your business, it is critical that its aesthetic is unique, beautiful and compelling, and says something about the business without physically having to say a word. When putting together your web design, see how it fares with test audiences, friends and family long before you put any words in, to see if it is presenting the impact you want.

A great CMS platform

You should think about going for a content management system for your site, instead of hand-coded custom sites. It  is all well and good having a professional put together a clever and intricate site, but if you aren’t comfortable updating it and interacting with your users, the site will basically be a very clever and pretty waste of resources.

Using a CMS platform should ensure a much smoother process for setting up and maintaining your site, including:

  • Quick development and deployment times. Working with a web design company you could have your site up and running within a relatively short timescale.
  • Advanced site functionality. It is very simple to implement blogging, forms, polls and event calendars.
  • Quick and simple content adding and editing 24 hours a day.
  • Online help available around the clock, from a range of web professionals.
  • SEO tools. Many CMS platforms even have inbuilt SEO tools to help sites perform well in online searches, and your ability to update and interact with ease also boosts SEO.

In these two articles we have looked at all the reasons why your business should have its own spectacular and feature rich website. A website truly is your electronic shopfront and you have to make sure it is right to compete in the market.

You can do it yourself, but in all honesty, it is much better to put this task in the hands of the professionals, such as MaxWeb. From initial design to the finished product – and everything in between, we have crafted websites for companies across the UK and are masters in our craft.

To find out more please call us on 0151 652 4777 or email info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk and ask to speak to our website development team.

Previous Article

Why your business needs a website – part one

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