Your website is usually the first touch point for businesses to interact with their customers. Getting your business website right can be integral to growing your business and increasing revenue. More and more consumers today are turning to the internet to research what they want to buy before making a purchase. In fact, a study conducted by GE Capital Retail bank found that 81% of shoppers went online to research before buying. This means that getting your business website right is an extremely important must-have when starting your own business, so customers are able to obtain all the information they need to understand that your brand or product is something they are after. Here are five key points to help you design an effective and receptive business website.
1. Design for a target audience
After defining who your target market is, make sure the design of your business website is one that will appeal to them. If you run a software company, for example, having a site with well-selected graphics and flash videos can appeal to your audience visually compared to a plain page with just text. If you run an online apparel store, having a layout that allows customers to easily navigate through the types of clothing they want to buy is better than having one with all types of apparel on a single page.
2. Clean page structure
A good page structure organizes the information you are trying to get across in a clear and succinct way, and allows your customers to read what is essential to them. It’s a good idea to sketch out a diagram of what you want your website layout to look like. Within each page, ensure that you have a clear header, body copy and a footer. A header contains keywords and information for search engines and browsers to find. If you have an SEO strategy in place, make sure that you are weaving these keywords into the pages. Body text on a page is a main information about what the page is about and what your customers will look most at. A footer is a visual full stop for the page, and helps visitors grasp the site structure instantly. It’s also a good place to include links, footnotes, legal or privacy disclaimers and further reading. The right or left sides of the page could be a good place to have social media buttons or a sign-up area for customers who wish to subscribe to content your business produces.
3. Include all essential information about your business
Besides making your website all about your brand and product offerings, make sure your essential business information is also available. This includes having your address, contact details, social media platforms where the business engages and links to resources clearly listed in the headers. If you have a storefront, include a map of your location so customers are able to locate your business premises.
4. Use imagery that complements your brand
A picture is worth a thousand words, and you only get a few seconds to make an impression with your website, so the imagery you choose is vital in engaging your audience visually. Choose images that complement your brand message, and reflect your brand values. An accounting firm, for example, could have images that depict trust and professionalism, while an interior design company could use images from an existing portfolio to show off their work.
5. Build mobile-responsive interface
According to Google, more searches take place on a mobile device than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan. With mobile on the rise, it’s vital to make sure your website is optimized for mobile use. Keep text succinct and make sure it appears at a realistic size for mobile devices. Ensure calls to action are prominent on the page, with buttons large enough for mobile devices. Avoid making visitors scroll around pages and make sure images are compressed to decrease loading time. For more tips and expert advice on starting your own business, visit our Small Business Center.