Your Website Sucks
Yes I said it. “Your Website Sucks.” In these extremely competitive days and times having a website is just not good enough anymore. Your website has to deliver a one, two punch in order for you to really captivate your audience or more importantly gain a new client. With so many choices out there you just have to stand out, be more, be better…you get the point.
Below are 15 must have that your website needs in order for it to be effective and profitable.
1. Have Company Info
You MUST have your name or company name, phone number, email address, and physical address somewhere on your web site, preferably on your contact information page. A street address is better to give than a Post Office box, but if you don’t have a physical address, stress what city you are in are what areas you serve. If you want people to do business with you, you must provide at least this basic information. You would be amazed at how many people overlook this simple requirement.
2. Have Effective Content/Copy
Have you heard the saying “Content is King.” Well believe it, because it is so true. Isn’t content the reason why people come to your website in the first place? How many times have you received an email or visited a website that offers multiple guarantees, includes too many exclamation points and makes promises that are impossible to quantify? Probably more than you can count. While the promises and guarantees can be effective, they probably turn away more visitors than they appeal to. You should be making it easy to find the best you have to offer. Put your best information on your web site. If your content is getting old and stale, be sure to refresh it with something new and different. Content is the single most important aspect of the overall value and quality of your web site.
3. Have an Attention Grabbing Headline
Do you give your visitors something that will grab their attention when they visit your website? Something that says or makes them want to do business with you. Something that makes them believe they are the right place. A headline will help decide whether a visitor will stay to learn more or if they’ll move on. The best headlines should focus on how your company or brand meets the needs of your customers in a short, three- to eight-word summary. Bottom-line your headline should be so catching from that start that is helps you stand out from the rest.
4. Social Media Buttons & Links
I have probably said to so many people about the importance of social media buttons and links on their websites that I could possibly sound like a broken record that constantly spins. We now live in the world of a social media society, whether you choose to be a part of it or not. In order for you to attract more customers to what you have to offer you must have an active social media presence. While certain social media networks are better than others for different businesses, you should always be actively working on building relationships with customers online. While you want potential customers to visit your website, your social media pages should attach customers as well.
5. Have Easy Site Navigation
You MUST have easy site navigation on your web site. If visitors to your website can’t find the information they’re looking for quickly and without a hassle, your website has failed. Simple text-based links are normally the fastest and quickest way to navigate. Limit the main navigation to five to seven categories, and utilize drop-down menus for more specific pages. Image maps, when not too big, work well too. However, remember that most web surfers are unimpressed with whiz-bang complex navigation schemes they do nothing but help spend too much time trying get to what they want. Most users are incredibly impatient, and in many cases anything more than a few seconds is too long to spend looking for information. So be sure to keep site navigation simple, and easy to use.
6. Have A Strong Call To Action
Even the most well-designed websites cannot be effective if visitors aren’t sure what they should do next. Surprising, directing your visitors in the right direction doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth or something. Putting a strong call to action in place that is clear and easy to follow can help ease the pain. Something like, “Click here to sign up today,” “Purchase my super great product here” or “Call to set up a consultation” – lets yours visitors know to how to continue in a direction that positively affects your company’s bottom line.
7. Have A BLOG
While I personally underestimated the importance of having a blog, once I began blogging I quickly found its importance. Blogs also provide a way for you to share important information with your customers on a regular basis. Websites that publish authoritative, valuable content on a regular basis are rewarded over sites that remain stagnant. The easiest way to accomplish this is by creating a blog that is a part of your business’s webpage. They can easily be shared across social media channels and through email newsletters, providing additional touch points that could enhance your long-term social media marketing strategy.
8. Have A Quick Loading Home Page
Your home page should have no more than 60 – 80k in graphics, and must come up quickly for the web surfer. If you have tons of fancy graphics or other bandwidth-intensive content, put them on another page in your site. Additionally, you must be extremely careful when using audio, video, Java, Java Script, Shockwave, and any other browser plug in. Realize that people who cannot manage the technology may have trouble viewing your web site.
9. Have A Contact Page
Want to lose a customer fast then don’t provide them with a means to ask a question or voice a concern. Not being able to reach a person that can provide an answer to a question or concern is a sure way to lose a customer. Make sure you include contact information or more importantly a contact form to receive questions and answers. If your site visitors are able to ask a question or share a concern without leaving your website or taking an additional step, they’re more likely to do so. I found that short on-line forms can generate almost twice the response! It may well be in part because people like to click on buttons, drop down boxes, etc Whatever you do, make it easy for people to inquire about your services, while they are still online.
10. Have A Map
If your business is brick-and-mortar, you should make your location available. Your visitors should be able to find you easily, without leaving your site. While including an address is a given, you take it one step further by using a map and plug-in like Google Maps, on your website. Maps make it easy for users on all devices – especially smartphones and other mobile devices – to locate your business and to populate directions from their current locations with ease.
11. Have A Site Promotion Strategy
If you want people to visit your website then a site promotion strategy is your best method. This may be the single most important thing you can do! Don’t believe for a minute that “if you build it, they will come.” If you build you have to provide a way or means for them to come.
12. Have A Clean Site
Your website should be legible and work on all systems. Your site must work with all web browsers and all screen resolutions. Additionally, be very careful when using offbeat fonts, sizes, colors, contrasts, and combinations. If you want to do business on your web site, make it easy to do so. Also, if you want to sell, it may be best if your site looks a little on the conservative side (trustworthy), rather than leading edge (here today, gone tomorrow).
13. Have It Appear on Search Engines
Internet search engines are the best way to boost traffic to your site. Second best are links from related web sites. Even banner ads and ads in email newsletters can produce good results. Believe it or not, there is no magic formula for getting traffic to your web site. The best approach is one that uses several different methods to build traffic to your website.
14. Have An Email List Generator
You MUST have a way to ask your web site visitors for their email address, in one way or another. This provides you with the opportunity to resell them later, by sending them quality, informative helpful email at a later date as a follow-up. There is nothing immoral or unethical about this, as long as it is done responsibly and in good faith.
15. Have A Secure Website
If you are a e-commerce site, you MUST offer a secure server to encrypt customer credit card information, for their safety and confidence in your organization. Money spent on this additional capability should be offset by an increase in orders as a result.
So there you have it. You now have some important guidelines that can help you to not have a “Website That Sucks.”
Jacqueline Morgan is an advocate for business success. As a business leader I strongly believe in tapping into the power of your potential. As President of J Morgan Designs and Consulting, she can help your business to strive in both the real world and online. Find out more about her at http://www.jmorgandesigns.net