Never before has it been so easy to build a website for your business. Back in the day, you had to create your site with long and tedious lines of code. If you didn’t have a coder on your staff, you’d have to outsource the work, and that could cost you thousands of dollars. With the advent of drag and drop website builders such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace website building has become easier (and cheaper) than ever. Simply building your website, however, isn’t enough. If you run a business, it would behoove you to incorporate the below features into your site.
No, I’m not talking about that thing you do when your kids wear you out. NAP stands for name (of your company), address, and phone number. How would anyone know how to get in contact with you unless they had your NAP? Place your NAP front and center on your Contact Us page (we’ll cover that next). That’s where most people will expect to find that particular bit of information. You can also post your NAP on multiple pages. However, ensure that it remains consistent on each page. Check for typos and other mistakes to ensure that you don’t confuse your visitors.
Contact Us Page
Speaking of the Contact Us Page, let’s delve into why it’s so important for every business website to have one. First, if you don’t post your NAP anywhere else on your website, you’ll definitely want to post it here. After all, this is the place where your customer will look to get into contact with you. The contact us page should also have information such as driving directions, maps, pictures of the location, etc. You should also incorporate a contact form. Remember, you want to make the contact process as streamlined as possible for your customers. Trust me, if the user experience on your website is terrible your visitors will go somewhere that’s more accommodating to their needs. And by that I mean they’ll go to your competitors.
You have to demonstrate that your business is run by living, breathing humans. Therefore you should cram as much information about your business on this page as possible such as hours of operation, social media links, forms of payment accepted, etc.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) Page
If you do enough research, you will find that many consumers in your industry will have the same types of questions. Let’s look at a couple of generic examples: how far are you from the freeway? What happens if my package arrives damaged? How long are your deliveries? A good FAQ page should preempt any questions that any of your visitors may have. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. It’s a hassle to have to email or call in to ask questions. They don’t like it and you don’t like it (no one likes to get yelled at over the phone). You should always make the user experience as painless as possible.
Pictures speak a thousand words. That adage couldn’t be truer as far as business websites are concerned. Your customers aren’t there to read paragraph upon paragraph of “product descriptions”. In reality, you can typically get away with just a few short and concise sentences appended to a nice picture of the product. In most cases, if the picture is good enough, it will sell itself. Think about it this way. Images are your opportunity to “wow” the customer. Running a restaurant? Post images of your deal of the day, customers enjoying themselves, or perhaps your selection of drinks. This likely doesn’t need to be said, but it’s important that your pictures are high quality. Low res pictures can turn away potential customers. I’d even go as far to say that if the only picture available to you is grainy, distorted, or just all around terrible you should go without it.
Quick tip: pictures that look fantastic on your mobile phone may look horrible on a desktop computer. Thus, you should always check the resolution of the image across all mediums (smartphones, tablets, and computers).
Ah, yes. The testimonials page. This is the page that’ll convert a ton of people into customers and help to drive up the authority of your site. The testimonial page is all about influencing the perception of your product. Testimonials such as “this is a fantastic product!” – Kim J. or “I can’t believe I haven’t been using this all of my life. It really works!” – George R.R. will influence those on the fence and hopefully convert these people into paying customers. You can gather testimonials via a form on your site or notes from third-party platforms such as Google or Yelp. It’s the job of a testimonial page to validate the legitimacy of your business to new customers. The statistics speak for themselves. As many as 92% of consumers read testimonials and online reviews when determining whether a website has a trustworthy reputation.
Customer Service Policy
The customer is always right…unless they’re wrong, but even in that situation they’re still “right”. This is why you should implement a clear customer service policy within your organization. Sure, this means you have to do a lot of butt kissing to keep people happy, but if you want to stay in business, you’re going to have to treat your customers well. It’s my personal opinion that every member of your staff should memorize the customer service policy (at least the important bits) so that when a customer comes swinging at them, they’ll be able to address the situation knowledgeably.
The primary thing to remember is that the customer service policy is an internal affair. Think of it as a guideline on how to treat the customer reasonably as well as how to handle disputes when they arise. Without internal structure, your business website is a lot like a stack of cards. It just takes one strong puff of wind to send it tumbling down.
Customer Rights Guarantee
The customer rights guarantee is basically the public version of your customer service policy. It should state in clear terms the guarantees that you make to your customers. It should also indicate the quality of service that you will provide as well as explain to the customer what’s expected on their end. You should make this guarantee as easily accessible as possible.
Simply put, if you don’t have a customer service policy on your website you’re just asking for trouble. Look at all of the big business websites (Amazon, Wal-mart, etc.). You’ll notice that every single one of them have a customer service policy. With that being said, your personal customer service policy should have an email (mandatory) and a phone number (if applicable). Always keep your website customer-centric.
Sales Page/Product Page
The sales page is where you’ll be making all of your bread and butter. This is where you will want to funnel all of your visitors to achieve conversions. I’d go as far as to say that you could even incorporate elements of your testimonial page with your sales page to really lock people in. The sales page be as long as it needs to be to get the job done, however, endless paragraphs are guaranteed to scare people off.
The product page really does deserve its own section, but it utilizes many of the techniques employed by the sales page. The product page should have well-written copy incorporated with images and a medley of other features. These features include thorough text descriptions, FAQs, accolades, product guarantees, videos, etc.
The homepage is typically the first page a visitor will see when they type in the URL of your website (unless otherwise redirected). As a business, your homepage should accomplish two things:
- it should summarize your entire site for those who are in a rush
- it should help those researching your site
As I’ve said the homepage is the first thing your customers will see. If you don’t get it right, you may lose a potential customer. The home page should deliver the most vital information your site has to offer at a glance. For example, let’s say you run a flower shop. If someone were to navigate to your website and land on your homepage, they should ascertain that you sell flowers in just a few seconds. People like to get fancy with their websites by adding a ton of graphics and hiding certain features all the way at the bottom. News flash: no one cares how fancy your website is! They only care about usability. So do yourself a favor and avoid all the fancy stuff and keep your homepage simple. The first thing that should come out of the mouth of ALL of your visitors is “Ah, this fellow sells flowers”.
Furthermore, your homepage should have clear navigation. Typically, navigation controls are appended to the top of the page, but there are several examples of sites with side navigation as well. Do what works for your website. Finally, it’s a fantastic idea to update your homepage from time to time. You don’t want people to think your site is stale, do you? If you have a new blog post or if you’ve ordered new product place it front and center on your homepage!
Call to Action
What’s a business website without a call to action (CTA)? If you think that your customers are going to buy your goods on their own, you’re in for a surprise. Believe it or not, people need to be coaxed, prodded, guided or sometimes outright pushed into making a purchase. For those of you who don’t know what it is, a Call to Action is a piece of content that is intended to direct a viewer to perform a specific action. Here are a few examples of CTA:
- Buy now
- Click here
- Visit us today
And whether you realize it or not we’re inundated with calls to action every single day of our lives. So even if you might have thought you weren’t familiar with the “call to action” concept you’re actually quite familiar with it. Now it’s time you incorporated a few CTAs onto your business website. Keep these three core principles in mind when implementing your CTA:
- Deliver a clear and compelling message
- Make it visible
- Utilize a careful choice of supporting elements
Every page of your website should have a call to action. It’s not such a far stretch to prompt people to “call now”, “view our product page”, “fill out this form for your free consultation”, etc. Pick apart your site and strategically implement your CTAs accordingly.
Your business website should be your baby. Take care of it, pay extra attention to it, and make sure that it’s presentable for the public eye. Never forget that your website is an extension of your business. A terrible site may lead people to think that your business…well, sucks and we both know that isn’t true (as long as you’re putting your all into what you do). Now, don’t assume that once you’ve implemented these strategies, you’re done. This list is in no way all inclusive, so make sure to do your homework to supercharge your business website!