The Nuts and Bolts of a Successful Business Website

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There are a few essentials every organization or business should do to keep a positive web presence, but not every business owner knows them. Some of these ‘do’s’ are important to improving the confidence and comfort level of your visitors. Others increase the visibility or popularity of your company’s website and brand. All of these factors together create “Web Presence” and are essential to a successful business website.

What is Web Presence?

Webopedia defines Web Presence like this:

“The term Web presence refers to an individual or business having an established existence on the World Wide Web, through a Web site, e-mail, Internet advertising, blog, or a collection of Web files. Web presence is also called Internet presence.”  – Webopedia, Web Presence

In simple terms, your web presence is the living and breathing essence of your business online.

Your Brand Is Professional

Get a branded email address. Getting an @yoursite.com email is the best way to brand yourself. Keep it simple, don’t use hard to pronounce words and make it catch-y so your potential customers can remember you without looking at your business card or site. Keep it consistent. Use the same branding on your social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram since they all have custom URLs. You can use these little touched on your promotional materials to bring your branding all together.

Update your website regularly. A blog or events section can keep your content fresh and engaging to you website visitors. A good rule of thumb is to add some kind of new content once a week to once a day or more. The key is to keep your updates regular.

Customer Engagement

Offer opt-in notifications. If new offerings and events are something that your potential visitors may like to be notified about, then offer a place on your website for them to sign up for an Opt-In mailing list. Remember to not send more than once per week. Better yet tell them how often to expect it and stick to that schedule. Use your marketing skills to word each notification correctly and always include a call to action link to bring readers back to your freshly updated website.

Follow up in 24 hours or less. Always quickly follow-up any inquiry by phone, mail or email. One perceived delay can mean the loss of one sale. Habitual delays will mean many, many lost sales.

Use an auto-responder system. Even if you’re automatic email doesn’t confirm a sale. This is a good way to quickly follow-up with a potential customer and give them confidence that the message was delivered to the right place. Even after an automated response is sent, the 24 hour or less clock is already running.

Check your SEO

Ensure that your website is being found by the search engines. Google lists the top three business listings when a company name is searched. This is called the “three-pack” and it appears in the top spot in 93% of local searches. In a mobile age, local searches are on the rise as visitors are depending on their smartphones to buy, locate and find business hours. Adding your site to be index, as well as getting a Google business listing, is essential to a successful business website.

Learn to read your site traffic reports. It is important that you have up-to-date and clearly understandable statistics. Think, Google Analytics. These reports help you monitor your website’s performance. Ask us to help you with this; we’d love to teach you what to look for and how to better understand it!

Gather information about your online orders. Data about your customers can be invaluable. Measuring the number of times a visitor returns to your site, or how often they make a purchase, can help you decide how to focus your next website update. What keywords did they use? What search engine? What did they buy? What pages did they visit before they made the purchase?

Big List of Don’ts

Also stay away from web services that guarantee top 10 rankings. Whatever they are doing may increase traffic to your site for a short while, but the search engines are not likely to put up with it for long. Search engines, like Google, have thorough and complex algorithms to detect unethical SEO practices. It is possible your site will get a penalty or even blacklist your website from their indexes.

Don’t have slow loading speeds. If it doesn’t load fast, you’re just frustrating your potential customers. Heavy CSS, large graphic, and sluggish plugins can all be to blame for slow loading speeds. Check you speeds with Google Page Speed Tool.

Clean out your outdated code or Flash. The internet is changing. If you haven’t updated the back-end of your website, you may be noticing a drop in traffic. Many elements of HTML, CSS and Flash have been phased out or are no longer standard. Flash has been blocked by Apple products and developers have transitioned to HTML5, consequently any website attempting to be mobile friendly can no longer use Flash Animations.

“Improving the usability of a website can increase sales, reduce customer service calls, and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. For internally used software and websites, like intranets and timesheets systems, improving usability can increase productivity by reducing the time to complete a task, reducing the error rate, and increasing satisfaction. Most of these improvements can be quantified by measuring saved time, gained revenues, and increased productivity.” — Foraker Labs of Boulder, Colorado, Usability First

 

Our List of Do’s

Show off industry affiliations. Customers love to see “trust signals”. These are signs that you are established in your industry. Creating a widget on your homepage with credible affiliations will boost your customers’ overall trust in you. “Recent Projects” or “As Seen On” are two valuable ways to display logos of your network and improve your clients’ confidence in purchases.

Make the website part of your organization’s overall business strategy. Use the website to advertise events, engage in social media, offer FAQ to help reduce repetitive questions and share contact and location information. For the customer who doesn’t have time to call, your website is a valuable asset.

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About the Author: Linda Carlson is a UX designer with a love for wire-framing, planning and CSS at SonFisher Web Studios. For over a decade, she has focused her attention on small business needs and quality web services. Her writing includes content marketing, SEO localization and brand reputation.

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