Why it’s essential every business has a website
In the ever-changing marketing landscape, websites are an essential sales tool.
Very often customers and businesses use a website to perform initial research on a company they are considering buying from or working with. So without one you’re in danger of being overlooked.
It’s crucial that potential customers can find out about you quickly and easily online and that your website is a good representation of your brand.
Plane Perspective can assist with custom website development or can help with maintaining and improving your current site. Here are a few ideas and some practical advice to help you plan a new website, review an existing one, and refine your layout, content and design.
1. Creating a new website
Before designing a website, think about the structure of the site and the content you want it to have. What are the main areas you want to cover on the site and what type of content should you provide? Go about this in an organised way:
a. Step back and think about what you’re hoping to achieve through the site. Do you want to:
- Promote company/brand awareness?
- Promote specific product/benefit awareness?
- Provide general information to existing customers?
- Gather contact details for subsequent follow up?
- Generate sales enquiries?
b. Next, identify your key target audience(s)
- Which sectors do they operate in?
- What will they be looking for on your site?
- What are the key messages to communicate to them?
c. Map out the structure of your site
- Draw out your menu structure in a clear tree with levels of hierarchy
- For each page identify the keywords that will be its focus (ideally carefully researched long-tail ones)
- Write copy for each page based on the keywords and take professional photographs of products, people and places as needed
d. Brief your design agency
- Let them know what you like, and what you don’t like – and most importantly, why
- Have a budget in mind and let them know what this is – you don’t want surprise invoices and it will help them to manage your expectations
- Let them know how your see the structure of the site, and listen to their advice
2: Conducting a review of an existing website
When conducting a web review, analyse the objectives of the site and define who the target audience is. Given that we are dealing with an existing site with an established purpose here, use existing performance statistics to decide what you might do with the site to take it to the next stage or make it work better for your business.
Review the current site web traffic analytics to see:
- How many visitors you currently attract
- Where they are coming from: search engines, direct access, other sites etc.
- What they are searching for
- Where they spend their time on the site
- What pages they ignore
This will help identify what is and isn’t working and what areas you need to focus on.
3. Design, look and feel
With custom website development the overall content, structure and usability should take priority over the design. A site may look great but if it’s hard to use, people simply will not use it. Bear in mind the following:
- Ensure consistency with page layout and design features e.g. use a consistent colour and layout for headings and buttons
- The site should reflect the brand, but because you are applying it online you may need to alter a few aspects e.g. fonts, imagery etc.
- Keep copy brief, clear and to the point. Research shows that to be effective online you need 60% less copy than print material
4. Technical Information
Ensure your site comes with basic content management, which allows you to update your own content regularly, such as company news. Also ensure you have integrated Google analytics, which is easy to set up.
It’s critical that your site is reliable too. If it’s slow, or worse, has crashed, visitors will not return, and could even assume you’ve gone out of business.
Remember your website has two main audiences with different requirements, humans and search engines. It is paramount that your site is attractive and easy to understand to both of these.
5. The Content
Around 90% of visitors reach a website’s homepage and decide within three seconds whether they will click further or leave. Your homepage needs to grab your visitors’ attention, so ensure it’s professional and constantly up to date. Communicate the benefits of the site straight away, to entice visitors to read on.
About Us / Our Services/ Why Us?
Highlight why people should deal with you and stress your unique selling points. For example, broad expertise, one stop shop, established presence etc. Including a picture of the team or the office can help reassure people there is a real business behind the site.
Attract and qualify visitors by ensuring all your products are mentioned and get them to contact you based on their needs. Often sites will feature too much technical jargon or assume the user actually knows the products. So write in ‘layman’s terms’.
Keep your website up to date. There’s nothing worse than seeing a site that last had its news page updated six months ago. Or one that features a latest offer that has already expired.
Include a clear call to action on all pages. While you might aim to generate online queries using forms etc. you should also provide a phone number and postal address. Respond to all queries quickly and efficiently.Want to talk marketing? Get in touch