Yes, that’s right, your eyes aren’t deceiving you; the title does read “you don’t need a website”. You see, in the present day, it is better not to have a website at all, rather than have a substandard website that misrepresents your business.
So many organisations spend a heap of money on the interior of their business premises or shop floor, yet put up a cheap looking DIY style websites on the Internet. It doesn’t make sense for a business to spend big in-store but spend so little on an online store.
The internet has the potential to provide thousands more visitors than any high street store. So why do people still pull the purse strings tight when it comes to investing in building a shop front within the world’s largest marketplace?
However, if you’ve chosen going the website way, here’s a few must-follows for you:
Your Website is the Customer’s First Port of Call
Your website exists to interact virtually with potential customers who find your business on the internet. Rather than phoning or calling into your premises to find out about your services, a potential customer will visit your website as the first port of call.
In essence, the website is a very large, detailed business card. Your website tells a visitor exactly what your business does. It conveys your values, mission, ethics, level of customer service and attitude towards business. A website says so much without actually speaking.
Presenting Your Company to the World
When putting your business on display to potentially millions of people, the last thing you want to show them is a dated website built in the 90s or even pre 2005. Web design and modern day Internet standards have moved on considerably in the last few years.
An ancient website gives the reader the impression that your company is lazy, old fashioned and disorganised. A shoddy looking website suggests the services of your company will deliver similar results. You need a website to demonstrate to your target audience that the mindset and skills of your company are modern, even if the service you provide is based on skills from decades past.
Avoiding a Bad Reputation
In the celebrity world bad promotion can often work in one’s favour, but unfortunately this doesn’t ring true for website design. Bad promotion through a poor quality, outdated website will repel potential customers.
It isn’t just about losing sales; it is about the knock on effect of a bad impression. The internet community is well-connected. If your website looks cheap and poorly constructed it reflects negatively on your business practice. People with a shared interest in your industry will discuss your inadequacies and often leave negative comments in forums and on blogs.
A bad reputation spreads like wildfire, and once your reputation is tarnished it will cost a lot of money spent on advertising to reverse. Better to invest properly in a website from the start rather than spend money clawing back your reputation at a later date.
Achieving an Admirable Brand Impression
A website conveys the ‘core story’ of a brand. Attached to a brand are the values of a company, the style of conducting business, the level of professionalism and essentially the complete personality of the organisation. When designing the brand of your website you need to consider the following things.
- The Logo:
The logo is the silent voice of your business. The logo should appeal to the type of customer you want to attract and correctly sell the image of your company.
- The Colour Scheme:
Once your logo is in place, the colour scheme of your website should compliment and blend appropriately with your logo. There is nothing more unprofessional than having the logo and the colour scheme of your website clash. Not everything has to be colour coded, but ensure that the uniform of the site is pleasing to the eye.
Images need to be appropriate and compliment the website. Images should seamlessly blend into a page rather than distracting the user from more important aspects of the content. Images should be neutral and leave no room for negative interpretation or association by the viewer.
- Video Content:
When using video content be sure to use quality recordings. Amateur phone footage or webcam recordings will reflect badly on the company. All content on your website should be of a high professional standard.
- Textual Composition:
A large aspect of your branding strategy is the implementation of effective copywriting. The copy on your website provides the tone of your brand. For example, a music related website might have a cool, friendly, perhaps conversational tone, whereas a financial services website may choose to employ a corporate approach with a fair amount of industry related technical wording.
All aspects of your branding strategy must work in harmony to deliver the correct image of your business. You are not just selling services or products, you are selling a brand that you want etched in the mind of the consumer. Good branding builds loyalty and loyalty increases profits.
Creating a User Friendly Structure
It is said that you have approximately 7 seconds to hook a visitor before they click that infamous ‘X’ button in the top right hand corner of the screen. If there is a single off-putting aspect to the navigational structure of your website then you could be losing valuable business.
Complicated websites with fancy animations that distract from the desired action are a thing of the past. Simple, user friendly websites that allow the user to dig down effortlessly through content are the modern standard.
There is no shop assistant to show a visitor around your online store, therefore the shopping process must be self-explanatory. The user must be able to get from the front door, through the products/services section and to the checkout with ease. The slightest confusion has the potential to end the transaction before it is completed.
Writing Content that Compels
A website is based on information. Achieving the correct delivery of information is no easy task. The copy must first engage the reader, and then provide the information they need in a concise and interesting manner.
Lastly, the copy must prompt the user with a call to action; this usually directs the user towards a sale or to provide contact details. Unless you are specifically an information portal, web pages should not be wordy.
Most readers will not read every word of the copy, they will skim read perhaps 30-40% of any given page. This means the copy needs to be structured for skim reading by effective use of sub titles and concise sentences. You should also use a reader friendly font and a font size that is suitable for all ages.
No website gets it right at the first attempt. No matter how perfect things seem initially, there will always be things you spot after the build that you want to change. Conducting a user survey with clients, customers and friends is a great way to know exactly what is and what isn’t working for the masses.
Websites must move with the times and continual improvements are a part of the process. It is advisable to conduct a website review every few months and look to make enhancements. In addition to this you should be updating the site with fresh content regularly. Search engines value new content and static sites often become less popular. Provide new articles or blog posts, introduce new features or company news updates. Keep things alive, fresh and modern.
If your website doesn’t cater to the above, we’d say you’re better off without it. You don’t need a (bad) website!
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