When businesses first began creating websites during the ‘90s they basically looked and acted like a digital brochure. Pertinent information was displayed with very little thought given to style or user satisfaction. Today, the look and feel of websites has changed dramatically with much of that change being driven by the goal of providing customers with a better user experience. Potential customers demand more out of a website than simply learning a business’ address, phone number, and hours of operation. Customers want to see your complete inventory, have the option of buying online, view today’s menu items, watch live webcam videos and much more.
The fact that the majority of consumers sue mobile devices to view and make purchases only further complicates how businesses must design their sites in order to cater to their target audience. Consumers also now expect an improved user experience that includes clean, easy to read and navigate webpages. If a refreshed website is still on your to-do list, you could be sending out the wrong message to potential customers. An outdated or poorly functioning website can damage a business’ reputation by giving customers the misleading impression that your company is outdated. Here are a few tips on how you can improve your business’ website.
Add A Content Management System
If you still need the assistance of your web designer every time you want to make a change to your website, you don’t have the ability to quickly update your site at the consistent speed your business demands. At the very least, you should have the ability perform basic tasks like adding new information, changing product availability, updating menus or adding blog posts using some kind of admin tool. Setting up this kind of easy accessibility is generally done by converting all or part of your business’ website to a Content Management System (CMS), such as sites like those created through WordPress.
By adding CMS to your website, you’ll also have the option of allowing multiple people to post content. You can delegate the need to update blog content to an employee, hire a contractor to work only on certain sections of the website or assign an editor to review any content before it goes live. This will give you the ability to keep your site updated without needing to constantly log in and do it yourself.
Mobile-Friendly A Must
As we’ve covered numerous times on the Local Fresh blog, mobile responsive website design is no longer a luxury, it’s practically required. Consider these facts: Google now indexes and ranks websites based on how well they perform on mobile sites. Research has found that in terms of shopping online, smartphones are the dominate method of user interaction among millennials, with 89 percent of the generation using smartphone to connect online. Finally, the average smartphone user checks their device up to 150 times a day. If your small business website can’t function on a smartphone, then it might as well not even exist to a large portion of your potential client base.
Know Your Audience
It’s common practice for department stores, retail outlets, and even restaurants to ask for their customers’ email addresses, so why shouldn’t your website have the same opportunity to obtain this valuable information? Your refreshed website should provide every visitor the opportunity to sign up for special deals by enrolling in your email list. You can choose to solicit their address either after completing a sale or as pop up that appears shortly during their visit. However you decide to capture that information, you need to regularly follow through with emails that include discounts to avoid being seen as spam by subscribers to your list.
Improve Load Times
No matter how well designed or aesthetically pleasing, no customer wants to use a website plagued by long page load times and a slow interface. Your bounce rates will skyrocket and you’ll lose a lot of would be sales opportunities. Fortunately, a number of free online tools exist that will test your website’s load times. If your site runs slow, try removing excess features like music or videos that loads automatically whenever a new user visits your site. Instead, keep your home page clean and your menus easy to navigate.
Once you’ve provided your refreshed website with a updated new look, plan on revisiting the design at least once a year and always stay on the lookout for ways to improve your site in both the short and long-term. Note what you like about other sites you visit and consider how you might incorporate those concepts. To stay at the forefront of your field, pay close attention to how other businesses communicate with their customers through their websites, and employ the best practices to your website.