How many times have you been searching for a product or service online and clicked on websites with spelling mistakes, incorrect grammar, broken links, confusing layout, missing landing pages, or that are just simply difficult to navigate your way around? In my experience this happens incredibly often, and it never fails to put me off dealing with that business.
I am in the 80% of people who studies show typically search for product and service providers online rather than referring to traditional off-line sources such as print advertising, printed directories, flyers, word-of-mouth and so on.
Your website is playing an increasingly vital role in promoting your firm. As the central hub of your online marketing, a website represents your identity to an ever-increasing audience. And if this is your only online marketing tool it is even more important that it represents your identity accurately and positively.
Many firms fall into the trap of investing in a website then forgetting about it. It essentially becomes a dusty, unchanging online brochure. We’ve all seen bad websites containing errors, broken links, obsolete product information and contact or staff details that have never been updated. At their worst, these sites paint a very negative picture of the business – after all, if their online identify is obsolete and full of mistakes, what will their product or service be like? A bad website can be worse than having no website at all.
It may seem like common sense, but your website should have a logical layout that is easy to navigate. The content should be correctly written for your customer. Triple-check the spelling and grammar, as well as each page and link. If your website is accurate, aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, it suggests to customers that your product or service will be similarly reliable. You can also consider creating signature content reflective of your brand. This could be in the style of text used, images or icons, or including an aspect of your business culture that differentiates you from your competitors (such as a charity or sport you are passionate about). Although many websites are created from low-cost design templates, that is no reason to prevent you making your site unique to your business.
Give your existing customers a reason to visit your website. Learn how to make basic content and image changes on your site – it’s not rocket science. It will give you the flexibility to make the most of your site and investment with regular updates, such as:
- Regularly refresh your client testimonials. These are important validations of your product or service, and posting new comments from your customers illustrates that your business is continually satisfying or exceeding customer expectations.
- Ensure any online product information is 100% correct. List new products or services, delete discontinued lines, ensure pricing details are up-to-date, feature special offers, and update stock levels if appropriate.
- Share relevant news articles, related content, event details, research studies, best practice guides, links to helpful tools.
If you don’t have a website and are not planning on investing in one in the near future, ensure you still have an online presence via online directories such as Google My Business, Yellow, Finda and Localist. These will all help your business to be found when those 80% of people are searching for a product or service online.