All businesses have a personality, flavor and sensibility of their own. And when it comes to what you put on your website, it needs to be communicated loud and clear. What does your website say about you? Nowadays, it seems a business is instantly judged by its website. Your site is the online face of your business; it needs to make a stellar first impression on your visitors and convince them that you are trustworthy and the right choice. A well designed, maintained, and developed website can validate you as a legitimate resource and streamline your business.
If you are starting theprocess with a website design company, or already have a website, make sure it reflects the creativity and personality of your company. Your content will be king specifically because it drives people to your site. However, the first thing many visitors will judge is the design and aesthetics of the website.
Here are the 6 most important things you need to think about:
1. Who is my ideal client?
It’s important to really know what you want your website to communicate. Create a profile of your ideal client first, then make sure you’re writing copy and creating imagery that will attract that audience. Answer these questions as if you were the ideal client and target audience:
- 20k budget per project or monthly
- A funded startup
- A company with 10 million+ in gross annual under my belt
- Marketing centric and believe in it’s power
- To sell my service to a lot of people
- To make a lot of money
- Regional recognition
- Hands-off approach
- Long lasting relationship (partner in business)
What I do for a living
- Business owner/entrepreneur
- C-level executive
- Marketing manager
This is what I provide
- Services to other businesses (b to b)
- Average sale is over 10k-1 million+ per sale
This is what I want to achieve
- Establish my brand within the industry
- Hire and attract talent
- Get more business as a result of our efforts
This is what I do for fun
- Build or collect cars
- Play instruments
- Make wine
2. A clear sense of what your company offers
It’s incredible how many sites on the internet you can visit and you’re not sure what the company offers. Make it stand out on your home page to provide general information about your products and/or services, with links to specifics on a detailed page. Tell your ideal client about you in a voice they will understand, appreciate, and that will hold their interest.
Don’t be concerned about divulging too much information about your offerings for competitive reasons. You shouldn’t be writing a book on your high level website pages. Make the content scannable and readable at the 8th grade level. Use graphics that show your business is the solution to your ideal clients’ problems.
3. Design with best practices in mind
Your site needs to be visually appealing. What does your website say about you? Design changes so fast on the web that it’s not uncommon for you to have a website design company re-do the design of your website after a few years. Images are a powerful tool for boosting business credibility. Always make it a goal to only use quality images on your website. Hire a photographer or use good stock photography. Competitors pop up everyday with brand new sites. Make sure you hire creatives that can engage your visitors on an emotional level. Most times this means hiring a marketing agency to create and/or work with your website design company.
4. Make sure the ability to navigate is tight
If people can’t find it, they can’t buy it! Clearly display what you offer and have multiple options of getting there. Having your navigation on the top or left hand side is web industry standard. Making sure your website is responsive and looks good in mobile devices is very important. Having calls to action in sight on every page of your website is key. There should never be a spot on a page where if the user is scrolling, they cannot contact you immediately. If you have a captive audience, this is the time to grab them.
5. Contact information, including email addresses, phone number and physical location
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many companies are purposely vague about their location. Some prefer to do all of their business online and see no need to publish an address or phone number. This is a must, and it’s one small way of building credibility and trust with the consumer. A phone number, a street address and even pictures of your facility will go a long way toward building credibility. Showing a physical location comforts a customer that your business is real and legitimate. Provide a phone number that maps to that location and maybe even a google map showing your location.
6. Third-party validation
Real customer testimonials, client lists, case studies, awards and recognition you’ve received, positive news clippings and the like. It’s okay to toot your own horn on your website, but a little third-party corroboration can really help boost your credibility. Potential customers want to know who you do business with, and what current customers have to say about their experiences. Creating a video of real client testimonials (just like this: http://www.cmdsonline.com/agency/client-talk/) is a great way to let the clients speak for you. If you can’t create the video, ask clients to write a testimonial for you:
“66% increase in revenue tied to Web sales, which totaled just under $900k in 2012 (we did less than ½ of that in 2008 – the year before we brought you guys on). You guys are passionate about what you do and you do it well. That’s why I wanted to get CMDS in here knowing you would get the job done right. I trust that you will deliver a great site, profitable SEO results, and be fair with us to create a long-term business relationship.” – Marvin Hyer Jr., Marketing, Johnny on the Spot
All of this builds trust with your potential consumer. Having links to your presence on social networking sites and blogs, especially those serving your industry, is a great form of validation among customers. Another quick way to boost your business credibility is to simply back your content by data. Data-driven content helps reinforce your business’ credibility.