Now, more than ever, your site has to keep customers within the site map and give the reader everything from information, to entertainment, to engagement and loyalty. It’s more of a home than a business shopping trip. The same goes for ecommerce sites. Let the visitor find everything quick and easily. The same must be said for any site or blog.
I recently heard a writer speak about how she will only write a maximum of 300 words on a web site front page. Any more, she explains, and the reader loses interest. It seems odd to be able to communicate in just 300 words. Tweets, of course, are only 140 characters and people make themselves heard and understood with those. So, how much does it take to make sure your web site is complete for customers?
What is “Complete?”
“Complete” is everything the customer wants, everything you know they need… and a few extra considerations. If it seems confusing, it’s actually boiled down to the simplest form of completion.
So, making finding you and your product, navigation, purchase, and checkout second nature to customers is important and is guaranteed to bring back repeat customers and word of mouth recommendations? Yes, but it’s not all in one step.
I was reading yet another article on marketing myths. This one was no different than any others with the same good, foundation advice (which is why the information at the end of this article is different from other articles), but it had two things on the list I didn’t expect. As per other articles, this one, by author Debra Murphy, entitled “Marketing Myths You Should Ignore,” covered the usual reminders that social media reaches all age groups, every business needs a mobile web site (it should actually be responsive design for all devices), email marketing still matters, why marketing takes time for the proper results, and why a logo is NOT your “brand.”
It was that section and the one following that caught my eye, in terms of creating a complete web site; the insistence that a non-professional friend or relative can build you a professional web site is wrong and in reference to the logo not being your “brand,” once again a call for the use of professional services. Too often a small business will get cheap with these two visual representations/selling tools/marketing material and THAT is a bad investment. If you think the first solution will save you money, then fixing it will cost a fortune.
A professional will know what’s needed to sell your service or product, and, if you’ve chosen well, be able to help with copywriting and marketing. Ask for referrals on these services (often through a design studio or a savvy, experienced freelancer) from other businesses you admire.
What Should You Look for in a Site?
- Check out your competitor’s sites as well as the biggest manufacturers in the world. Take note of what you like and don’t like and when it comes time to build your site, you’ll have examples to show, which always helps in the design process.
- Shop an item at a competitor’s site and then purchase it. That will give you an idea of a good or bad shopping experience. If you are service based, see if a competitor’s site is doing list building, has localized their search criteria, and, using your personal email, see how long it takes for them to return a electronic request. Take all of this information and do it better!
What About Blogs?
- Depending on what it is your business does, a blog that holds interest for readers across the web, it’s marketing for you. It takes dedication to keep up fresh content that will not only have people returning, but also sharing the material on social media avenues such as Facebook and Twitter.
- A blog can become a humanized line of communication between you and your customers. It also gives you a great way to receive and request feedback. Almost 80% of customers search a company and ratings online before they shop for their desired item or need. A blog offers you a way to become your own news source and information center. Becoming popular as an expert will only help business and adds value to your site.
What About Podcasts and Webinars?
- Technical, but not impossible (actually, quite easy), but you need the content upfront and continually coming.
- It’s not for every business but, if you have the time and resources… well, remember the two bothers who did “Car Talk” on NPR for 35 years? There’s an audience for any subject!
Know Your Technology!
- Or pay someone who does to keep you on the cutting edge of web technology.
- An unbelievable amount of companies do not have responsive design (web sites that detect and fit web pages to mobile, tablet, device, laptop or desktop screens).
- The web changes quickly and a good web designer, hopefully the one who built your site, will contact you with any news on big changes in web technology, but it doesn’t hurt to have some idea of how the technology AND the audience is moving.
- If you offer content that will slip off the home age to an archive, make sure customers can still find that information.
- Along with liberal sharing functions, it’s a great way to go viral.
Listen to Customer Feedback!
- Your customers will provide the best feedback as to how your site works for them. Having them opt-in to emails when they purchase something from you gives you a perfect link to communicate with buyers to hear truthful advice on what the customer expects from you.
- Treat each complaint with interest in why the customer is angry or had a problem.
- By the same token, treat appreciative customers with a coupon or some other perk for their future loyalty.
Words of Wisdom
There’s more one needs to know about creating a site with a strong, warm and assuring brand to it as well as tip top functionality, so here are some more articles to help you create a superior web site.
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