If you want a site that more than just another boring corporate brochure, here are 10 tips to creating a website that really works.
Brand your website
Your website is a direct reflection of you and your business. Your visitor's first impression will either keep him browsing through what you have to offer, or encourage him to go elsewhere. A professional website should be pleasing to the eyes, well organized, easy to navigate and load quickly.
Know what you want to achieve
Is this website about creating an image, getting known in a new region, marketing new services, producing leads, allowing potential customers to assess you, getting actual sales etc. Knowing what you're aiming for makes sure you design your site with those objectives in mind.
Design your Site to rank high in the Search Engines
Ensure your designer knows how to include META tags, keywords and text to promote your website ranking. There are numerous internet sites on the subject, and many outsourced suppliers to handle the detail.
Use text and images that SELL
Your words are the entire foundation of your business. Most website failures are the result of ineffective content. When writing your website text, use the following formula:
A - Attention: Use a powerful headline that demands attention and an interesting introduction (interesting to him, not to you). Use relevant, professional, fast-loading graphics.
I - Interest: Intrigue, interest, educate, excite and create curiosity
D - Detail: Provide details about your product or service
A - Action: What do you want him to do right now? Phone? Ask for a quote or request an RFI?
Drive traffic to your site
Create a steady stream of traffic to your website by giving your visitors a reason to visit and continue to visit in the future. Fresh content could be news, articles, advice, training, tips, on-line calculators, horoscopes, weather or links to appropriate websites. Your content should be representative of the focus of your website and your viewers interests, and be updated on a regular basis.
Display your track record
Gain your visitors trust by displaying customer testimonials or a track record of experience. Why not use a program to to rotate them on your main page so that its fresh and new every day?
Let your visitors know who you are
Address, phone number and email addresses to request information and support.
Tell your visitors about privacy and security
Customers won't want to interact with you unless you tell them exactly what you do with any personal information you collect.
Provide a tangible reason to actually contact you
Focus on getting viewers to take that Action Step. Offer a sample or trial of your product or service, a discount, a gift. Not only will this increase your sales, but it will drive more traffic to you site as well.
Remove the risk
Identify anything that your contact or customer may perceive is a risk to him and find a way to allay his fear, or remove the risk completely. Make it easy for him to decide to interact with you. Your website is a powerful marketing tool and a valuable asset to your business. Use it wisely, and make sure it works hard for you.