Online statistics can be scary. We hear about millions of websites, hundreds of millions of Facebook fans and how more and more, people shop online first before they make a purchase – even from a retail store. Online competition can be fierce in some industries. How do you stand out online or compete online to grow in your marketplace?
Start with a better website.
The great news is that most business websites are so neglected or poorly designed that beating your competition online may not take much effort. We’re in the business of making better websites. Our experience is that many business sites are just not user-friendly. This article will focus on how your company can have a better web site by making it easy for online visitors to get information they need to purchase from you.
We routinely use the following five steps when preparing to design or upgrade our clients’ web sites:
#1: Assess your competitors. Create a table with 5 columns. In the first column, list the components on the websites. Components can range from a flash animated banner to a newsletter sign up. Use one column for each company and compare your top three competitors’ websites with yours. Completing this web site assessment step first. The results will show you where to focus to improve website.
#2: See through your prospect’s eyes. Are the most important things on your site easy to see without having to scroll down the page or click through to another page? Does your site have interactive elements like animation, video or sound? Do you offer information that reinforces your brand message while providing something of value, such as white papers or a downloadable brochure? Remember, websites must be visually appealing, well-organized and provide value.
#3: Make clients feel special. Is there special information only available to customers? Do you have exclusive offers or information for customers only? Do you make it easy for clients to provide testimonials or referrals? Too often, business owners put emphasis on attracting new customers and neglect the ones they already have. You might be able to beat the competition simply by using your online assets to show appreciation to customers.
#4: Stay up-to-date. Does your site look and function like a relic from yesteryear? Nowadays, online users expect a website to look modern and incorporate user-friendly technology. What new online tools or components could make your site more functional? As for text, write for people that are in a time crunch. You have only a few seconds to convince a visitor to stay on your site. Make sure copy gets to the point quickly. Use links to further information for those that want more.
#5: Bring visitors back. Do you have ways to keep people coming back to your company’s website? One of the best ways to use email and channels like Facebook, Twitter or a blog, is to post summary information with a link back to the main site. Let people know about projects, industry news, service updates, offer training, or ask for feedback. Social media tools are also great for keeping in touch with customers, professional colleagues and individuals that can help spread the word about your business.
These five steps make a good start the process of redesigning your company’s website. Always compare notes with your design agency to get objective input as well. At Creative Mind, we offer a web site assessment for just $500, and it’s done in five days or less. If you’re interested in making a better web site for your business, just contact me.
Thanks, until next time.