For many of us a web page is our first port of call in this digital world. We have been told at some point or another, “You don’t have a website? You really need to have a website if you want people to find you”
Maybe this statement was all the rage 10 years ago. Actually having any kind of website offered you a competitive advantage and compared to your neighbouring business you did have a website! Hei, business was open to the world, anyone could type your web address and see your business online.
So, how important is a good website?
Fast forward 10 years, it´s now 2015, look around you. How many of your competitors don’t have a website? How many do, in fact, have a website that is looking better than yours?
A professional, efficient website can put you ahead of your competitors. You will also see an increase in traffic from search engines like google, Bing etc. helping you reach new customers.
Today having a website is not only a must, for many of your consumers’ it´s their first point of contact with your company, and where they will form their first opinion about you and hopefully not the last.
How do I know if my website is good enough?
Here are a few things to look at when evaluating your website:
- Can you see your website on a mobile/tablet device and find easily all the information?
- Is your design up to date? Does it look fresh or old and tired?
- Can you easily update the information or make small changes on your site?
- Does your competition have a website that looks far worse than yours?
- Do you have your services or products updated?
- Do you receive any traffic from search engines for the services or products of your business?
- Do you get new customers monthly?
If you answered no to two or more of these questions, it would be a good idea to consider refreshing your website or even making a totally new website.
So what should you look out for when choosing to update, or making your first website?
On average, more than 80% of customers will visit a business´ website before making a decision whether to buy or not from that particular business, so is really important that you extract the maximum benefits from your efforts. These are the 4 main areas you need to have in mind:
Mobile first! I could bore you with plenty of numbers, but simply, look around you. How many people you see using their mobiles & tablets? On the bus? At the café? etc… We are more connected than ever. Last year the internet traffic from mobiles overtook pcs and laptops.
With this in mind, any website must be able to offer a good experience to all users, no matter what device they are using. Today, you have at your disposal responsive design, this allows your website to automatically resize and reconfigure its look & feel according to the device the user is accessing your website without missing any information.
Content is King! If you think of having your contact details and address, maybe even a link to map on your site is enough, think again. Users want to hear about the latest news, what are you selling? Any new service? Special summer offers? Today, most website systems include a Content Management System (CMS) that allows you to easily make changes and updates to a website without any software, simply type and publish your latest info. There are many free options out there, some of the most famous ones are WordPress, Joomla or WIX, choose your favorite.
Social Proof. Other´s people opinion, what they say about you, what do you do and say in the social networks is very important. You can easily create profiles in Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc… or those appropriate to you and use it as a communication channel with your customers, make sure you add those connections to your website, so your clients can also become your fans!
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Sounds techie uh? No worries, simply translates to “get found in google, (and bing)” If you have a business location, you want to appear in some of the millions of search result that search engines deliver every day, whether is “hairdressers in Helsinki”, “massages in Tampere” or “nail treatment in Oulu” this is one of the biggest sources of traffic on the internet, and is free!. Google yourself up and ensure you are appearing in the search results for your business name at least, otherwise, someone else is getting that free traffic.
I hope you are now convinced there are many reasons why to convert your website from a business card to sales channel, is not difficult, is not expensive and it will increase your business!
(Finnish version of this post is available here.)