Over the years I have spoken to many new and small business owners who claim their websites don't work for them. When asked what they are doing about it they look blank. If the website isn't working then something is wrong and should be investigated and put right.
Investing in a great website design is half your battle when trying to convert visitors into paying customers. Getting it right at the beginning and knowing how to promote your products online can mean the difference between failure and success.
Working with a professional website design company who know how to talk to your customers, and how to promote your business will see you reaping the rewards faster than doing it yourself.
Below is a checklist for establishing a successful website:
- The objectives for establishing the site must be clear from the outset.
- The site itself should be informative rather than persuasive, since it is a sought communication - people do not go online to be sold to.
- Graphics should be kept simple if possible; not everyone has a broadband connection and many people have slow connections or slow computers.
- The impact of the communication should not depend entirely on the graphics; people using a dial-up connection might find the download to be too expensive. This is not a problem in the United States or Australia, where telephone calls are free or are set at a fixed price no matter what the duration of the call.
- The site must be integrated with other communications; cross-marketing will encourage subscribers to visit the site.
- The site should be set up to gather information from those who visit it, either through requesting contact details from visitors or through downloading a tracking cookie (a piece of software which records and feeds back customer activity) onto the visitor's computer.
- The site should encourage interactivity by the use of offers, competitions, sales promotions and other incentives; people prefer interactive communications in general.
- Hyperlinks need to be fast, so that users can access the information they really need quickly.
- Access. The website should be easy to access, quick to download and simple to understand.
- Website interface. This should be informative, easy to navigate and engaging for the individual.
- Trust. Establishing trust is particularly important, since ordering goods over the internet involves divulging credit card details. Although security is constantly being tightened, fraudsters are also becoming more adept at breaching security.
- Attention. Websites should attract attention and should also show that attention has been paid to customer needs.
- Credibility. Exaggerated claims, small print and unverifiable statements are likely to detract from the overall credibility of the site.