We all know the saying “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover,” and the importance of how it can affect our lives. However, in the case of a website and its business, the judgment is virtually inevitable.
With 88% of Americans online today, it’s crucial that you have a website that clearly defines your business and sets the right expectations for your potential customers.
One of the worst things you can do for your Westchester NY small business is to NOT have a website, but even if you have one, a bad website can also mean bad business.
75% of people judge a business by its website
Consumers are using websites to decide on whether they’ll visit your store, office, restaurant, or make a purchase or use a particular service. Not only is your website your 24/7/365 virtual salesforce working for you when you’re not, it’s also a reflection of how you run your business. Bad content, old information, difficult navigation, illegibility on mobile devices, these are just a few of the detriments to a website.
Some vital statistics to keep in mind are:
- It takes 50 milliseconds for users to form a first impression of a website.
- 97% of people’s first impression of a business’ website is design related.
- 48% of users say that if a business site isn’t working well on mobile, they take it as an indication of the business simply not caring.
- 97% of those online are shopping for goods and services.
Taking that into consideration, your website is where your credibility, professionalism, creativity, expertise, and not to mention, your products and services should shine.
Here are the 10 most important things that make a great website that will positively support and drive sales for your Westchester, NY small business.
1. Design Synergy with Brand
Your website should be consistent with your branding. Your logo and core marketing message should immediately be visible. The colors should mimic and not conflict with the type of business you are. For instance, if you’re a yoga instructor you may want to use softer more soothing colors versus harsh tones. If you’re a creative company this is your chance to show your mastery through graphics and images. Cohesive branding will demonstrate a professional online appearance which helps builds credibility as an industry leader.
2. Rich, Fresh Content
Rich content does not mean a wordy website. It means making it visual, emotional and interactive. The use of photos and videos and thoughtful copywriting will make for a functional, yet engaging experience for the user. Let your potential customers get to know who they are buying from. Make the experience more personal with the use of team photos and an interesting bio on how and why you started the business.
As for fresh content, having an outdated or unappealing website can leave a bad first impression. Making regular updates to your website shows you care about the customer experience and want to provide them with the most current information. Using a CMS platform, such as WordPress, allows you to make updates easily at any time. A well-cared website means a well-cared business.
3. Seamless, User-Friendly Navigation
Now that you know what content needs to be placed within your website, the next step is making it easy for the user to get around. They want to be able to find the information they need quickly and easily, so be strategic about placement. Think about how the user interacts. Without sacrificing creativity, try to stick with web standards for design so certain content appears in the customary places. Make sure your navigation (menu) bar is visible on all pages and includes all significant pages. Break your content into digestible pieces that guide the user to the next piece of content that makes the most sense. Give your potential customer control.
4. Build with Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in Mind
90% of people online use search engines and over 2.9 billion Google searches are made every single day. In order for people to find your website you must appear in search engine results. Organic SEO is the natural, unpaid way that search engines source requests for information. Content placement and the use of keywords are essential to this. Keywords should be at the top of pages and used as headers. Keywords should be used in your title and meta descriptions. Your geographical location should also be part of those keywords. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to organic SEO, but a very good place to start.
5. Mobile Responsive / Friendly
85% of people online use mobile devices to access the internet and 62% of companies that designed their website(s) for mobile platforms increased their sales. With those statistics it’s imperative that your website is responsive and provides the user with the best experience possible. Did you ever go to your phone and land on a website that the print is really tiny and you have to pinch, enlarge, or scroll to read…that means it’s not mobile responsive. Mobile responsive simply means that your website “responds” to the device it’s being viewed on…desktop is landscape/horizontal (left to right) and a smartphone is portrait/vertical (top to bottom). So if a potential customer tries to access your website from their phone or tablet and they can’t see the content easily, they’ll go elsewhere. Now you’ve just given your competition a leg up.
6. Strong Call-To-Action (CTA) for Lead Generation
You not only want someone to visit your website, but you also want to give them a call-to-action that turns into a lead. CTA’s are one of the best tools for lead generation. Offer a “Free Consultation,” “Free eGuide” or a “Limited Time Offer” that sends them to a form that captures more information on the user. You can now use this information to continue to target and develop a relationship with the user that you can potentially grow business with.
7. Inbound and Outbound Links
Inbound links are also known as backlinks, these with outbound links are also an important SEO tool. Easy ways to create outbound links are by linking to your social media platforms and to any companies or organizations you are affiliated with. Reciprocate this by linking from your social media to your website. Add your business to citations, also known as online directories such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, Better Business Bureau, etc. From these, you can backlink to your website. All of this is an indication of how popular and credible your website is. Google rewards websites that have quality links and consider them as more relevant and therefore more likely to place them into search results.
8. Contact Information
Once on a company’s homepage, 64% of visitors want to see the company’s contact information. 44% of website visitors will leave a company’s website if there’s no contact information or phone number. Enough said! Obviously, you want your potential customer to be able to get in touch with you, so this is a must.
84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends. Trust is built with online testimonials. Not only that but positive reviews are likely to spread, which not only brings in repeat business, but new business as well. When it comes to the decision-making process, positive testimonials prove to be very influential.
70% of consumers learn about a company through their blog rather than ads. And it’s free! This is just a piece of added value to your website and business. This is where you showcase your expertise. This is where you can maximize SEO with the use of more keyword content. This is where your “fresh” content lies because you can create a new blog as often as you want. This is where you tie in your products and services. Better yet, if you can get an influencer or authoritative person in your field to guest blog for you, it’s a win-win.
The bottom line is, more than not, your website is the first impression your business will make. And as the other saying goes, “First impressions are the most lasting,” so make a lasting impression with an amazing website.
We’re here to help…
As a busy Westchester, NY small business owner, we know your time is limited, and building the perfect website does take time, so that’s why we’re here. At Exceller Marketing, we create powerful mobile-responsive websites that generate leads and ignite sales. We can deliver an outstanding website with compelling content, responsive design and SEO to attract and entice visitors to take action and get results.
Feel free to contact us for more information, as well as a FREE consultation, on developing your business website.
For more information on how people will judge your business poorly by what they see on your website, visit our blog “Alert: Google Website Security Requirements.”
Best regards, until next time!
Exceller Marketing is a boutique-style, full-service web design and digital marketing agency in Westchester County, NY. We empower small businesses and entrepreneurs with outstanding web design and expert digital marketing services that keep our clients ahead of their competition.