For businesses today, having a website where customers can find you is essential. Whether your customers are consumers or other businesses, most customers today research products, services, companies, and potential vendors online prior to purchasing. Additionally, many then make their purchases online. Building your company’s website doesn’t need to be expensive, or complicated, but it should be well thought-out. Here are our top 3 tips for creating a company website.
Once you’ve outlined your company’s website project, you can act on your content and implementation plans and begin building. Keep in mind specific considerations that will help your marketing efforts succeed. There’s no substitute for having a site that is useful, usable and desirable for visitors.
1. Craft compelling online content
There are few better ways to promote your business than by writing and sharing helpful online articles that demonstrate your credibility and expertise. If you've got strong web content that can be found by search engines, you'll have a natural edge over competitors. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Users aren't always readers. Web users typically scan a page first to determine if it’s what they’re after. If it is, they'll continue reading. If not, they'll go back to the list of search results.
- Keep it scan-able. Even when users find online content interesting, about 80 percent will only scan a web page for "highlights" and move on.
- Don’t get wordy. As little as 15 percent of site visitors actually read the entire contents of a page—all the more reason to parse out copy into manageable chunks rather than long articles.
- Offer richness. Remember that there are many ways to deliver messages—copy is only one tactic. Smart use of multimedia (including video, audio, visual elements and slideshows) can prove more compelling than text.
2. Follow design and usability standards
What makes for a “good” website? It may seem a matter of personal taste, and you may wonder if yours is meeting basic best practices. Here are some general rules to consider as you create or update your site:
- Useful content. Make sure that the information you provide helps users understand your product or service offering so they can accomplish tasks and get the details they need. Avoid unnecessary marketing hype of content that doesn’t serve a useful purpose.
- Consistent, easy to use. Adding website bells and whistles that don’t have much function prove more distracting than appealing to users. When in doubt, keep your site simple, easy to navigate, and with a targeted purpose.
- Legible text. Rely on dark text on plain, high-contrast backgrounds, and use white text on dark backgrounds sparingly. People read black text on a white background up to 32 percent faster.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a core tool for pushing traffic to your website. No matter what kind of business you own, you want your site to be easily accessible and searchable. It is the key to sales and growing a profitable business.
- What it is. Search engines look for specific features on millions of different sites to determine how relevant they are to a user performing a search. SEO is the process of optimizing your website so that the search engines will find it relevant and display it in the list of search engine results. The higher it appears, the more likely a user is to click and view it.
- Why it matters. All business owners want their website to be compatible with the search engines so they can receive valuable traffic. A search engine looks for keywords when determining your site’s relevance to a user query. When you “optimize your website” you are fine-tuning your site so search engines will find it relevant for keywords that your target market uses.
- How to do it. There are several steps for search engine optimization:
- Keyword optimization. Make sure your site contains the right SEO keywords. Research popular keywords related to your site/industry. Make sure your site has content relevant to these terms. Strategically work the keywords into your website’s copy, headlines and page titles, but be careful not to make the text less clear or distract from your overall message.
- Link building. Once you have a site that has been optimized for keywords, work at building inbound links to your site from other more established sites. Search engines consider both inbound links and keywords when determining your search engine rankings.
- Optimize site technology. Use languages like HTML to develop your site that the search engines can read. Avoid using Flash technology. While Flash may make your site more interesting visually, search engines cannot read this language and so they ignore this content.
Your website should make it easy for customers to find and do business with you, whether or not you allow customers to purchase online.