In some cases, small business owners decide to create their own sites. This must be done with care and intelligence. Here are a few questions all business owners with a Web presence should ask themselves in order to help set their site on its way into the World Wide Web.
Does your site have enough content? One of the most common mistakes a small business website can make is to provide insufficient content. Not only do visitors need to understand what your business is about, so do the search engines. Search engines depend on your content to determine whether or not you are an authority on the subject that is represented within your site. Say it loud and say it proud, include as many details as possible about that subject to gain a keyword-rich copy that the search engines will gobble up and serve up in their rankings. But be aware that your content must have a theme, if your site talks at length about “Web Hosting,” “Web Hosting Services,” or “Web Hosting Plans” the search engines will understand that your site is about those terms. But if someone searches for “Web Design,” your site won’t show up unless you use that phrase on your site, too. Be conscious of the keyword terms you want to use and maintain the presence for those terms within your website copy by providing valuable information on the subject.
Is your site easy to navigate? A visitor who arrives at your site and cannot navigate it for the specific information they seek will surely get lost and could very well leave in complete frustration. A good site design means a good navigation structure for your web site. What does this mean? It means that the visitor can find the information with ease. Usability is not the same thing as design. Just because you might have a design that is ingenious does not make that site easy to use. It is crucial that visitors be able to follow your navigation scheme or they won’t be able to find your products or services. And if they can’t find them, how can they buy them? Do not expect visitors to send you an email to ask for more information because it is a lot easier for that visitor to find what they are looking for with a competitor of yours. Bottom line, if they cannot find it on your site easily they WILL go elsewhere.
Take more notice of websites as you surf the Web over the next few weeks, keep an eye out for usability issues you come across on other sites and learn from them. Usability issues are basically anything that makes you back up, stop to figure out the next step, or stare blankly at your screen. Make a note of that site and bookmark it for future reference. Don’t allow your site to be one like those and learn from other people’s mistakes.
Why is my site not converting? Now let’s discuss creating pages within the site that boost conversion (sales/leads). By this I mean making sure that your visitor is set up to make the desired action whether it is a purchase or inquiry. You might ask yourself:
“What is the page’s primary objective?”
“Does the page have a clear objective to persuade a visitor to make the desired action?”
Does it have a clear headline?
Do I use images that could potentially distract visitors?
You should be using each page to direct a visitor to do what you want them to do. Ensure that your visitors’ questions are answered prior to them asking them. Consider addressing your visitor directly with “you” and “your” instead of “us” and “our” personalizing their experience. Keep visitors options limited, too many options can deter a visitor instead of leading them to a desired action.
Also, consider that top upper corners are “prime real estate” for key pieces of information such as special promotions or phone numbers. Avoid using these areas for images that will not entice a visitor to proceed to a desired action. Images can automatically draw attention and therefore do not need to be placed in dominant positions in the natural eye-path. Ensure that your visitor understands the desired action that needs to take place and keep your call-to-action simple yet compelling.
By Melissa Cartagena