Recent research from Google shows that over 50% of businesses in Northern Ireland don’t have a website. However many businesses that do, suffer from a poor web user experience and the consequences of this activity can be just as negative.
In the US 46% of people will cancel plans to buy from a small business that has a poor quality website. So if your potential customers are faced with a bad user experience or can’t buy a product on the site the chances are they’ll move on to another site that delivers what they need. Perhaps that’s your competitor’s website!
Effective Website Advantages
A well-designed, professional website should always be developed around improving your marketing and sales. Sadly, many web projects are focussed too much on the design and not enough on outcomes. Projects too often get bogged down in tweaking the logos, fonts and colour schemes, while ignoring the big picture of how the site will:
- Grow your leads and sales online
- Educate and help you audience
- Promote your brand / key people
- Convert visitors to take an action, such as buy from your site
If your business is serious about its marketing and sales you’ll want to ensure you have a website that helps support that.
What should a website do?
Put simply, an effective website should help your business sell to your target customer. Think about the people searching online for products or services similar to yours. What do they want to get from a website and how can you help them? So, for instance, a restaurant will want to provide very clear information about their menus, prices, latest offers and include plenty of really good quality images of the interior and food dishes. But probably most importantly, their website must make it easy for people to contact them or make a booking online.
Next, your website needs to convert people to take an action. Typical actions could include contacting you, filling out a web form or buying a product from the site. For B2B websites, typical actions will include capturing the contact details for prospective customers, downloading an online guide or booking an appointment through the site. For ecommerce websites, you’ll want to encourage visitors to view a product and purchase it quickly. However, the chances are that your website does a poor job at converting people to take an action. Indeed, most websites are not designed with conversions in mind, especially if the design elements become the focus of the project. The problem is amplified if you are spending money on marketing and advertising and driving web visitors to a website that fails to convert visitors to take an action.
Key Steps in Website Design
If you have recognised the importance of investing in a website and want to work with a company to deliver one, here’s some key steps you should take.
Firstly, you’ll have to agree and set aside a budget. Prices for website design can vary wildly, however any businesses seeking to simply gain a lowest cost website is likely to be faced with a lot of problems. An old adage springs to mind here: ‘if you think a professional is expensive, then wait until you hire an amateur!’ Many small businesses have fallen into the trap of buying budget web services and ending up with a very low quality product. In an effort to save money, small business sometimes allow their websites to be designed by family friends or students for a very low cost in a bid to save money. In reality, it’s a false economy. In these cases the business becomes the guinea pig for the novice designer and the end product will invariably have to be redesigned in the near future.
Secondly, you have to develop content that is useful and informative your customers. Again, this comes down to putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and developing content such as online guides, articles videos or a blog.
Finally, think about the types of devices your customers use to access the internet. New forms of devices including tablets and smart phones are having a major impact on how people access the internet to research and shop online. Will your new website render properly on a smart phone?