Congratulations, your company has a new website, but will it help you reach your business goals? One common mistake is a lack of content strategy and messaging that specifically meets the needs of users. If I search your business and want to buy your product, it should be extremely easy to “Buy Now”. If I am presented too many options or it’s not clear where to click to make a purchase, I will likely leave without buying anything – which completely defeats the ultimate goal of your website.
Remember that today’s online customers have very little patience and that your competitors’ websites are just a click away. When it comes right down to it, your website must serve its purpose and, frankly, get out of the user’s way.
What key components should be included your website?
- Customer testimonials or reviews. What social proof do you have to back up your business? Ask your valued customers to create Google reviews and increase your ranking on Google. These should appear on your website as well.
- Contact Us information with a Google map. How easy is it to find you or look for directions from your Contact page? This section should include a clickable email address and phone number. If it makes sense, you should also have your phone number on your homepage.
- Easy to navigate navigation bar. Do you leave a breadcrumb trail? Host a focus group and ask your users to complete a specific task on your website. You’ll see that users employ different logic, but they all need to know where they are and where they’ve come from.
- Solid About Us section. I want to know about your company, but I don’t want to read a novel. “Chunk” information into digestible pieces so your users can skim.
- Make use of your header and footer. Does it have the ‘contact us’ information stated above? Your customers will look at the header and footer for quick information.
- Search bar. Are you using the same language as your customers? The search bar is used as the last resort if your users can’t the information they’re looking for. Make use of Google analytics and see what key phrases are being used. If you learn your customers are searching “prices”, “cost” or “rates”, you need to edit your content and use these keywords.
- Mobility. Can you navigate your site on a smartphone? Most businesses will have 33% of their customers viewing their website on a phone by 2012. Just how cutting edge are mobile sites?
A quick local case study
I did a search on the top 10 bakeries in Edmonton (as listed in the Yellow Pages) to see whose websites hit our bare minimum requirements. The results are extremely disappointing. Three of the top 10 bakeries didn’t even have a website, so here are the results for the seven that did.
Phone number on homepage? 1/7
Email link on homepage? 2/7
Google map on ‘contact us’ page? 1/7
Contact form to request more information? 0/7
Mobile friendly? 0/7
As you can see, if you own an Edmonton bakery, it’s easy to have an all-star website and out rank your competition. So many other local industries show similar stats.
It takes just seconds for customers to form an opinion of your website, and first impressions are everything. It’s worth spending time to incorporate these key pieces of content on your website. A well designed site should not only meet your business goals, it should help make an impact on your bottom line.