Before we go any further, and before all who know me fall about with laughter – I am a bit of (hell let’s be honest – a helleva) technophobe. So what I am putting down here is what I have found on the web (a little common sense and logic) and because, no matter what I tell you or write here, my web is looked after by Meryl of Pixelmagic (www.pixelmagic.co.za), so no matter how much I ‘break stuff’ she assures me she can fix it! How cool is that? Anyway, back to the subject at hand. The bottom line of course, is that if you are going to try these things yourself, it’s a good idea for you to have a “Meryl” of your own, or I am quite happy to share mine with you.
It really does not matter if you use your website for fun, family connections (when your family is scattered to the four corners of the world like mine is) or for Business purposes, the fact is that around 70% of Businesses have websites. No wonder we are spoilt for choice! The problem, however, is that the majority (some homemade and even some that have been professionally done) are really crappy!
The reality is that even the really crappy ones are competing in the market and trying to sell their products or services – how scary is that!
So – let’s have a look at what the internet says are the top 10 tips for improving your Business Website.
1. You have to have a plan!
As is most things in life, if you don’t have a plan, you have exactly . . . nothing! Write it down – what is the purpose of your website, what do you hope to achieve. Write down your goals, short term, medium term, long term and, then brainstorm them – how are you going to achieve them. What do you need to do in order to fulfill them? Be realistic, we all have budgets. Match your immediate goals to your wallet – you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve!
Again – if you can’t measure it you have a problem. How would you know if your website is being effective, or if you are just wasting your time, money and, effort? You need to measure, how many people visit your website, how many sales result from your website, how many connections are made out of your website? Is enough traffic being driven to the website and how can you improve on these numbers?
3. Promote yourself?
I keep saying – if you don’t tell people who you are, how will they know? So, use your website. Keep your customers updated on what is happening in your life – actually, they are interested. Tell them about your successes, post your testimonials, tell them what plans are in the pipeline (they may want to partner up with you). Now is not the time to hide your light under the bushel – now is the time to let it shine out brightly!
Remember your brand will always be associated with you – so make sure that it is special! Your brand, logo, and byline should be unique to you and your product or service. It has to stand out to the world and especially your target market. Keep it simple though – complicated branding looks messy and cluttered on a website.
You are the expert on what it is that you do – aren’t you? So write down what it is that you do, give out tips or teasers. Keep your content updated and interesting. Like it or not, we are all looking for information (yes even in this world of information overload) – make sure your information is new, fresh, and current – it will keep people coming to your site on a regular basis.
This is one of my pet hates – getting myself lost on a website or having to ‘go back’ all of the time to get myself to the home page or where-ever it is that I want to go, is really just a pain in the rear end. Let me tell you from experience – the easier it is for me to get around your site the longer I will stay and browse. So keep it simple.
Statistics tell us that Products or Services sold over the internet increased by 100% between 2002 and 2005. How fabulous is that? This means that your website should make it easy for your clients to purchase what they want/need/desire online.
Your database on your website should not only have all your business and personal contacts on it, but it should surpass anything that you may have in your ‘little black book’ or your customer base. This is because as people visit your website, they should be encouraged to leave their contact details behind. This gives you a huge opportunity to entice them to spend some money with you by sending out regular communications to them, in the form of newsletters, specials, and useful tips and information.
Make sure that everybody gets to know about your website. Put the address on every single piece of literature that you have, your Business Cards, your Letter Heads, in the signature on your e-mail – everywhere!
10. Overloading your website
It is said that often ‘less is more’ – keep everything short, simple, and to the point. Don’t waffle on and on about something. Say what you have to and then move forward.
Now – let’s have a look at an additional 3 tips as recommended by Meryl. Meryl says:
a. Know what you want your website to do for you
Yes, generate more income, but how? Do you want to be talking about your past successes and showing testimonials from other clients? Do you want your site pointed towards getting the visitor to contact you?
b. Know what you want your website to ‘feel’ like
The ‘feel’ of a website selling kids’ toys is going to be very different from one selling financial services to big corporates. Draw up a list of 20 or so emotive words that describe the tone of your site: fun, funky, young, colourful or corporate, serious trustworthy, etc.
Also, asking your designer to get you a good copywriter is a very valuable option. Copywriters ensure that Search Engines love reading your site as much as humans do, as well as getting the feel you’ve chosen to carry across into the words!
Oh, and a – don’t have a look at my website just yet – Meryl and I will be doing some changes right now!