Here are a few things I think a business website should be or have in the year 2016.
Fresh Content: For a website to be successful, it needs to be updated regularly. This is a sign to visitors that your business is, in fact, in business. I like making websites with WordPress because it originated as a blogging platform. It has evolved into a “content management system”, which means it’s made to handle updates easily.
Blogging is a way to demonstrate your expertise in your business. You can review tools, educate your clients, and share the latest news in your industry. Sharing is an effective method of generating goodwill with the public. The marketing coach Anita Newton suggests a 4-to-1 ratio of information sharing to selling. This means for every single attempt to sell your services, you should make 4 attempts to inform.
Mobile Friendly: A website should be easy to read on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. You would think this is obvious in 2016, but I’m alarmed at the number of small business websites that are still made just for desktop computers. Touch screens let you “pinch and zoom”, but that’s annoying. In years past, it would be logical to have desktop and mobile versions of a site; the mobile site shows up first on your phone, and there is a link to the “full website”, or desktop version.
A new solution that I love is “responsive design”. This is when the images and text on a page rearrange themselves to adapt to different sizes of browser windows. To see whether a site is responsive, just grab the corner of your desktop browser and re-size the window. Responsive sites re-size automatically on mobile devices. I always choose a responsive design template when I make a new site; that way, I only need to make one site that will work on all screens.
Ease of Navigation: It’s tempting to fill your website with advanced tools and gadgets, as well as elaborate design and wordy text. However, it’s far more important for a visitor to find his or her way around easily. A simple and easy-t0-navigate site can actually take as much work to build as a complex one, because the design needs to be carefully thought out. Your site has only so much of your visitors’ attention before they decide to move on to something else. If it takes too long to find something, or too long to load, you could lose your audience.
Clear Message and Call To Action: This is similar to ease of navigation. You may think writing long and wordy content conveys expertise, but the best language is always efficient language. On the Internet, viewers’ attention spans are different than they would be reading print, so you need to offer content in small pieces. I’m breaking this blog entry into separate installments. Break up your text into manageable, easy-to-organize blocks.
Also, you want a clear Call To Action that stands out from the rest of the page. This is something you want the viewer to do that’s easily measured by your analytics tools. It could be filling out your contact form, downloading your app, applying for your main service, etc. Not only should it stand out from your other content, it should be mentioned repeatedly throughout your site.
More to Come: There are a lot more ideas I want to share. Come back in the coming days for Part 2.
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