- Use Simple, Clean Design
While it’s tempting to put every imaginable bell and whistle on your site, your visitors would rather you didn’t. Remember, your goal isn’t to dazzle them with your design skills; it’s to get them to follow through with whatever action you’re looking for (such as calling for appointments, buying something, or signing up for your mailing list).
Try to pare down anything that could slow down a customer’s visit or obstruct your point. Too many social media icons, extra images and unnecessary information can make your site seem cluttered. Look at sites you frequent; chances are, they have a streamlined design. If you use a clean layout, your users will thank you for the improved experience.
- Start with the Five Core Pages
If you’re not sure what information to include on your website, the best approach is to start with the five core pages. These pages set the right expectations for visitors and cover your basic business needs:
Home — Add a prominent call-to-action, and the primary way you want visitors to contact you.
About Us — Create trust: Share what your business is about, why you started it and include photos of you or your staff.
Products/Services — Include things like detailed descriptions, images, pricing, warranty and return policy.
Customer Testimonials — Include quotes or reviews from satisfied customers.
Contact Us — Phone numbers, hours of operation, location & map, email address.
- Use Strong Calls to Action
A clear, decisive call to action helps you generate sales and capture future customers. The most effective calls to action have a clear, explicit purpose; there’s no harm in telling people what you want from them, such as “call us for a quote” or even “order now!”
- Include Sign-up Forms
Email is an invaluable tool to create loyal customers and increase sales. Stay connected with your customers and potential customers by asking them to sign up to receive your online newsletter. An email sign-up form helps you re-engage your existing customers, and promote your business to potential customers. Entice visitors to sign up by offering something of value in return for their email addresses, like exclusive VIP offers, future discounts, or expert advice.
- Keep Information “Above the Fold”
In Web design, the “fold” refers to the bottom of a customer’s window on a Web page; for visitors to see anything “below the fold,” they have to scroll down. If the content above the fold isn’t engaging, visitors are much less likely to bother scrolling for more, so make sure your most captivating or valuable content isn’t buried on the bottom of your page.
- Invest in Images
Even on the Web, pictures are worth a thousand words. The key is to make your visitors feel confident about in what they’re buying. If your product photos are too small, or there aren’t enough product views, they may look around for better images and end up purchasing from a competitor. Even if you’re on a tight budget, a few product shots from a professional photographer can pay for themselves many times over.
- Make It Easy to Contact You
Make sure your visitors know how to get in touch with you. Display your business phone number prominently on your Home page or have a dedicated Contact page in your site’s primary navigation. Customers want to know that you’re trustworthy and that there’s a real person behind the website.
- Add Customer Reviews
92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth, so share what your satisfied customers have to say about your business. By adding these reviews, you’ll increase their confidence to do business with you. You can start by asking your top customers to write a few short sentences about your products or services. Better yet, list your company on popular FREE online business listing sites like Google® Local, Yelp® and Yellowpages.com®. These sites are set up to allow consumers to leave and share reviews. You can integrate some of these, like Yelp®, directly with your website so they update automatically whenever you get a new review, or you can hand pick from the ones you want, and add them manually to your site.
- Get Personal
Adding an About Us page to a website is more important than most people realize. When a new visitor comes to your site, it’s your chance to create a relationship with them and connect on a more personal level. People want to do business with people they feel they know and trust, so share who you are and your passion for the business.Don’t make this page a sales pitch. Get passionate and get personal. Explain who you are, where you come from and why you started the business. Here you can introduce members of your team and share fun photos of you and your staff.
- Make Friends with Google
Your website won’t do you much good if people can’t find it. Search engine optimization (SEO) makes sure that search engines like Google and Yahoo! find your website and rank it high in search results. There are countless articles on SEO and how to identify and use keywords and phrases on your site, as well as some really good tools and services that can do the heavy lifting for you.