These days, maintaining a website for your business is a must in almost every case. But merely having a website is not enough- you have to carefully design your web space and maintain it in order for it to be effective in capturing the attention and business of your target market. To that end, here are ten vital elements of a successful business website:
1. Professional-looking web design. First impressions make a big difference- especially among trigger happy web surfers. If you can’t afford to hire someone to build your site, then at least opt for a quality DIY site builder.
2. An appropiate URL. Your URL is not just your address online, it speaks volumes about your online brand. Registering your own domain name also shows professionality, commitment, and investment. If you are having a hard time finding the right name, you can see if suitable versions are available with a .biz, .net, .co url extension.
3. Easy navigation. You can have the best content or product in the world, but it won’t do you any good if visitors to your site can’t find it.
4. Fresh and relevant content. A static website is boring and by nature will not draw repeat visits. If you wan’t visitors to come again, then you have to give them a reason to do so. This can come in the form of compelling content via a blog, a contant stream of company announcements, or the frequent production of ebooks for example.
5. Sticky content. Your content not only needs to be fresh but it must be compelling. You should make it a point to have content which keeps visitors on the site (called sticky content). This can come in the form of quality, relevant blog posts, ebooks, listings, or check lists.
6. Signs of social interaction. Crowds attract further attention and interest from those passing by. For this reason, a crowded store or restaurant will generate even more customers. The same is true of your social networks, and by extention, your website. Make sure visitors to your website can see signs of social activity- from comments, to the number tweets your blog posts generat and Facebook likes.
7. A good conversion path. Small businesses that use their sites to sell directly to customers or capture customer contact information must create a clear path on their website that draws people in to the desired action. In marketing parlance, this is called a funnel.
8. Contact information. You should make sure the put your business’ contact information in an accessible place. Include not only your business’ telephone number and address, but also your email address and social networks.
9. Keyword optimized. By optimizing your site for targeted keywords, you help it to get properly indexed by the search engines, and that means people can find you in a search. Local small business owners should also make sure their site is optimized for local search.
10. Brand of distinction. Be careful with the images and overall layout of your site. Overly using stock photos or a “canned” web template, will make your website, and consequently, your business look cheap. Ideally, you should include pictures of you and your employees at work and/ or pictures of your business.
Bottom line: if you want a good website you have to invest in it. Make sure you are utilizing the tips above.