In the business world, there’s one thing not to be neglected: your business needs a website. It wasn’t even that long ago that a website was seen as an optional extra. Something that might help your company reach a bigger market and audience but wasn’t necessarily going to be the central hub of your business.
All that has changed over the last couple of decades. The internet has gone from the realm of programmers and experts to being an integral part of every single person’s everyday life. Whether it’s shopping, communicating or banking, the internet is a part of modern life, and there’s no getting away from it. This means that now, without a website, a business is basically declaring that it has no interest in connecting with the vast majority of its potential customer base.
However, even those businesses that do have a website are often left unsure of exactly how to go about getting the most out of it. For whatever reason, their website simply isn’t drawing in the kind of traffic that they were hoping for. There are a number of factors that go into why a website isn’t doing as well as it could be, design, functionality, navigation. And a lot of the time is a combination of a bunch of different factors. Whatever the reason is, a bad website is something your business simply can’t afford. With that in mind, here are some things that you can do to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your website.
Think about design
A lot of businesses think of their website as purely functional. Of course, functionality should be right at the top of your list of priorities. After all, if your customers can actually use your website then it’s as good as useless. But that doesn’t mean that you can neglect the aesthetic qualities of your website. Human beings are a visual species. I
t might sound shallow but it doesn’t matter how good your business is, if your website is drab, dated and ugly, people are just going to click away. A website that doesn’t look professional just gives out the impression that your business isn’t professional either. The key is to examine what successful websites have done to create that air of professionalism.
For example, look at companies like Apple. Their websites are crisp, clean and elegant. Audiences want to see that kind of well-designed simplicity. Not only is this style very aesthetically pleasing but it also solves another common problem with the design of a website: navigation. If your customers can’t find their way around your site, then they’re going to get frustrated very quickly. By simplifying your website, you make it far easier for them to find their way around. Make sure that you know what your customers will be most interested in when they come to your site, and then make sure that you put that front and center.
Never stop learning
If you’ve built your own website or have dedicated software for your business, then it might be tempting to think that you can maintain it on the level of knowledge that you already have. This kind of thinking is a very easy way to get yourself stuck in rut of confusion and frustration. Online technology and software move on extremely quickly and the last thing that you want is to find yourself getting left behind. You should make sure that you’re always pushing yourself to develop new skills. There are plenty of ways to do this.
The internet is filled with online tutorials that can help you to learn new skills and techniques. Of course, there’s no substitute for actual training. Places like https://www.simplilearn.com/project-management/devops-foundation-certification-training are a fantastic way to get some formal training on various aspects of software and design. Even if your energy is not always spent on the online aspect of your business, pushing yourself in this way will help you combat any problems that you might come up against.
Talk to your customers
There’s really only one way to truly understand what it is that’s preventing customers from properly engaging with your website, and that’s to talk to them. Without actually talking to your customers, you’re inevitably going to end up trying various ineffective solutions that just waste your time and energy without actually solving the problem. Ask your customers to fill out a survey letting you know what could be improved about your website.
Also ask them what they do like about the website so that you avoid taking away a feature that your customers are happy with. By conducting even a small amount of research, you’ll start to see trends emerge that will give you a very clear image of exactly what it is that you need to change about your site in order to make it more appealing to your customers. Don’t just do this once either, make sure that you’re getting regular feedback with each new change that you make. Not only will this keep your customers happy but will give you a sense of which direction modern design and online trends are moving.
It’s not always going to be possible to do everything yourself. There’s even a pretty solid chance that web design or programming are skills that you simply don’t have. You may have some idea of the basics, but that last thing you want is to do a below average job that ends up doing more harm than good.
Not only that, but web design and maintenance takes a good deal of time and energy, time that you may not have to spare. Instead, consider outsourcing your web design needs to someone else. That way you can free yourself up to focus on other aspects of your business where your skills and time are better spent. By outsourcing to a professional, you can ensure that the quality of your website is as high as possible. Professional web designers a
re much more likely to be up to date on modern trends and customers preferences than you are. And it’s their job to find the right balance between that and the specific needs of your business. Make sure that before you hire anyone, you carefully discuss the precise needs of your website. The very last thing you want is to bring someone in and then to find that they don’t have the skills or the know how to achieve an important element of your site.
Link it to your social media
It’s shocking just how many businesses treat their website and their social media as completely separate entities. You should always make sure that your Facebook and Twitter pages are easily accessible directly from your website. Consider including a banner or widget that allows customers to click straight to your social media, regardless of what page they are currently on.
By the same token, there’s a good chance a lot of customers will find your business through social media. If someone finds your company through Facebook but is unable to find a link to your website, then it will have been essentially pointless. Make sure that your social media profiles all have clear, direct links to your website as well as including the link in whatever you post.
Include a blog
Every business needs a website and blog. While it might not seem like a particularly important aspect of your website, the presence, or absence, of a blog and make or break your business. Here’s the reality: people don’t care about businesses. They care about people. And a blog is the best way that you can show the human side of your business. Use the blog to create thoughtful and entertaining content for your customers.
If you can engage with them directly, it will build a far greater sense of loyalty. You can also use your blog to give a glimpse behind the scenes. Let customers get to know the people behind the business. They will be far more likely to care about your business if they have a greater sense that it’s being run by real people, rather than just being yet another faceless company.
Remember, the world of business moves quickly, and the online world moves even faster. Make sure that you’re keeping up to date with new developments and literature so that you don’t get left behind. Don’t just assume that what works for your website now will continue to work for it in the future. As technology evolves and advances, so should your business. Standing still is the worst thing that you or your business can do. Make sure that you keep your eyes on the future, and always keep moving forward.