These days almost everyone has a website. Schools have them. Sports teams have them. There are entertainment websites, news websites, auction websites, travel websites, shopping websites, blogs, forums, directories, search engines – you name it. A lot of people are even creating their own personal websites.
The business world is probably the most prominent example of this trend. Almost every entrepreneur or business owner has established an online presence to complement his or her company’s brick and mortar identity. But how much thought do companies give to what their websites look like? More importantly, how much care do they take in seeing to it that their websites accurately reflect their business approaches? It’s always tempting for a web designer to experiment with a fresh creative approach and try out new ideas on a company’s site, but if these approaches end up interfering with the firm’s business message or distracting from its overall image, the website can actually become more of a liability than an asset. Here are a few key
points to keep in mind to make your website a real boon to your business:
The last thing you want your site visitors to say when they look at your website is: “I don’t get it. What are they all about?” You want your message to come across loud and clear, and you want it to be easy to read. Make sure the contrast between the text (darker) and the background (lighter) is large enough to promote easy readability. Also, make certain that the text doesn’t interfere with any images or graphics on the page. To highlight your message, pick three or four key words that you want people to use in describing your business. And then see to it that those words appear prominently in several different pages on your site. Another good idea is to make your “About Us” page very personal. Show viewers that your company is real and make the page an attractive window into you and your business. It doesn’t hurt to include photos of
staff members – there is no better way to build trust and to show people that your business is real and legitimate.
Your website should be a reflection of your business. If you have a brand identity, then the website should mirror this brand in every way possible. The entire site should be designed around your firm’s brand colors. Also, make sure that both the visuals and the language on your site represent your business. For example, if you have a sports thrust to your site, then use some sports jargon. And don’t forget about your company logo. It should appear prominently and liberally within the various layers of your website.
Put your most important information front and center! First impressions are often lasting ones. And the first place a visitor focuses his attention when he visits a website for the first time is the middle of the screen. This is where you want to display your most important business or sales information. Save the lengthy contract details and sales agreements for less visible places on the site. Another important aspect to visibility is prominent links to social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). It’s a great way to extend your brand and your market. And integrating social media into your website conveys the message that your site is contemporary, dynamic, and successful.
You don’t want your business to be viewed as boring. So don’t make your website boring either. Make your site look as exciting and enthusiastic as you want your business to be. Use vibrant colors; update the site frequently; include interesting blog articles; invite reader comments. Vibrancy is one aspect you can control, and it can make you stand out from your competitors.
Above all else, make sure your website lets your customers know how you can solve their problems. You want to make it crystal clear that you are qualified to deliver what they need in the way they want it and that you can do so better than your competition. There are numerous ways you can do this. When you list your services, list them in bullet form and use action verbs. Include case studies and testimonials on your site. List your company’s credentials. Make sure to point out any awards your company has received. In general, try to convey an image of closeness between you and your customers and let them know that their feedback is very important to you.
Websites can be informative and they can be fun but to a business they are a lot more. They are like a brochure that you want people to open and look at…or a shop that you keep open 24 hours a day for people to visit. To a business in this day and age, a website is almost a necessity. But until that site becomes a boost to your business you can’t really consider it a success. When you begin to design your site with the same vitality that you run your business, then your website can become the online image that will boost sales for your real-world company.