What Does Your Website Say About Your Business?
Posted by Matt
In the mid to late 1990s, simply having a website was enough to impress your prospective customers. It didn’t matter if it was a bit clunky or even downright ugly, the fact that you had a web presence showed that your business was tech-savvy. It showed that you were pro-active about your marketing and about making your business accessible to as many people as possible; and typically it meant that your business stood out.
Fast forward to today and pretty much everybody who’s anybody has a website. The barrier to entry is so low that a lot of business owners have even had a bash at building their own site themselves using one of the many entry-level, template/website builder programs that exist.
However, just as the technology that has brought about this change has moved on, so have your customers’ expectations. The average consumer is now much more demanding when it comes to what they expect a website to offer and this means that if you want to give the right impression, it’s essential your website presents a professional image.
But what is a ‘professional website?’
It’s a term that gets thrown around quite a lot and is usually one of the first things many of our clients say when they talk about what they want from their online presence.
The importance of simplicity
As a bare minimum, a professional website should achieve two main objectives. It should be pleasant to look at and it should be easy for people to use.
This means adopting a clean, uncluttered design where, generally speaking, less is more. This is particularly the case if you want your website to present a modern and credible image of your business and reflect the minimalist style of today’s design standards.
More importantly, however, a clean and uncluttered layout that follows proven design principles (i.e. visual hierarchy, proportion, white space etc.) is a lot easier for people to find their way around and a lot easier for people to read and digest the key information you want to get across. And ultimately, it can be the difference between a prospective customer making an enquiry or searching for the exit.
Responsive design matters
One aspect of web design that is becoming increasingly important is that of responsiveness.
A website that is responsive or mobile-friendly can be viewed just as easily on a smartphone or tablet as it can on a regular laptop or desktop computer. Responsive sites tend to load more quickly, even on slower data connections; and their layouts fluidly adapt to smaller screen sizes, which makes a huge difference to prospective customers who want to see large buttons and clear, readable text when browsing on their mobile devices, as it enables them to browse the website more efficiently.
Mobile optimisation is also essential if you want to make sure that your website ranks well in the search engines for people using mobile devices, and if you want to attract footfall from local users searching on the move.
User-centric and up-to-date content
The technical and design-oriented features of your website are not the only things that will make your site stand out as ‘professional.’ It’s equally, if not more important that your content is useful and written with your customers in mind.
Too many website owners follow the ‘me, me, me’ model and concentrate solely on bleating about how great their company is and how fantastic their services are. This can be a real turn-off for prospective customers and often brings about a ‘so what?’ reaction, because the reality is, people don’t really care about you or your business. All they care about is their problems and how they’re going to solve them.
So rather than simply talking about how great you are, provide your customers with the information that they are really interested in and in doing so – show them how great you are. This means providing user-centric content that includes a mix of evergreen articles and topical posts that give value to your customers.
And make sure you post regularly to ensure your customers know that your business is active and your content is current.
There’s a lot more that you can do to present a professional website to your prospective customers but if you implement some of the ideas featured in this article, you’ll be on the right path to owning a site that says all the right things about your business.