10 Elements Of An Effective Small Business Website
An effective website is very important for every small business. Potential clients judge the quality of a business by the quality of its website, and a poor website can turn off leads before you even knew they were interested. To compete in today's marketplace, every small business must develop a high-quality website which clearly displays who they are and what they do.
Developing a quality website which clearly displays an organization's products, services and pricing is essential. Web users tend to be impatient, and they browse quickly. They scan rather than read, but can still tell high quality, credible content from keyword laden fluff.
1. Keep It Simple
Web users want instant gratification. Websites which force users to think, or make them click around for information, will be much less effective than those which deliver exactly what the user was expecting. Navigation should be easy to use, and don't use more pages than you need to, unless you're providing exceptional content.
2. Informative, Original Content
Original content is very important. Search engines spot duplicate or similar content easily, so original content will help them give your site a good rating. Users, as well as search engines, require interesting content in order keep reading and revisiting your site. Find ways to provide relevant information about your industry or service and build your customers trust by demonstrating knowledge, and customers will buy.
3. A Visually Appealing Site
Visitors browse visually appealing sites for longer than ugly ones. Keep the colors complimentary and avoid anything too bright. Avoid lots of small text, so the website does not feel cluttered. Stay away from video advertisements as they often take focus away from other areas of the site. The eye is more sensitive to movement, so if videos are used, they should be the focus of the page. However, small, simple visual touches and short, subtle movements can break the monotony of a simple page and make it interesting for users to interact with.
4. Use Plenty of White Space
Empty space is a very effective way of defining elements on a webpage. White space is not wasted space, rather, it helps show where one area ends and another begins. It contributes to a clean and uncluttered look. The first thing a visitor does when they arrive at a website is subconsciously divide the page into small pieces of digestible information. White space between sections helps them do this quickly, reducing the thinking a website user has to do, which encourages them to stay longer and return more frequently.
5. Style Your Content Effectively
Web writing is very different from print or advertising copy. Web users are savvy and avoid overtly promotional text, or text with keywords or phrases highlighted in bold. Be concise, use short paragraphs, be objective, and offer logical reasons for users to stay on your site. Read all your content to make sure the style is consistent. Reputable websites provide a consistent voice throughout their content, and users expect you to do the same.
6. Don't Make Users Register
Most websites want to collect email addresses for a mailing list. Users will provide one more easily if you allow them to try a demonstration of your service before you asking for a commitment. Forcing them to sign up for an account with a separate username is deters all but the most determined of visitors. Web browsers know they're going to get emailed when they sign up, so show them why they should before asking them to commit.
7. Manage a User's Focus
Users have certain patterns when browsing a website. Make use of those patterns by using visual cues to lead users to your most important information. Keep this information towards the top and left hand side of the page. Users are very good at recognizing patterns and alignments, so take advantage of these important elements and lead users to the information you want them to see.
8. No More Than Three Clicks
There should be no page on your website that can't be reached with three or fewer clicks from any other page on your website. This means that no matter where a user lands, they should be able to click three or fewer times and arrive at any other page on your website. Users don't want to waste time searching through a website they searched to find. Keep clicks to a minimum and information organized so users stay on the site longer and revisit more often. If it takes too long to get around, users will leave and look for the information elsewhere.
9. Test The Usability of Your Site
Test your website throughout the construction process. If possible, testing should be performed by your target audience, because they are the users whose experience you want to optimize. Users should continue to test the site throughout the process. Some usability issues may be masked by other issues and not show up until the first issue is fixed. It's also much cheaper to fix a problem while the site is still under construction than it is to go back and fix the issue once the site is live.
10. Keep the Site Updated
Don't let your site fall into disrepair. Keep information up to date with changes in your industry and company. Regular updates help keep your site in good standing with the search engines, as well as give users an excellent reason to return on a regular basis.
Build your website while taking these tips into account and you'll have a something which will serve you well into the future. The easier and more informative a user's visit to your website, the more often they will return and the more likely they'll be to buy. Keep your website informative and up-to-date and the sales will take care of themselves.