The primary purposes of business websites are to attract customers and motivate them to take action. The action might be initiating contact, ordering something, bookmarking the site for future reference, or referring others to the business. If a site simply entertains without motivating, it's not doing its job. To build a site that will work for you, consider the following suggestions:
- Define your customers. Determine who is most likely to want your products or services, and why.
- List your customers' needs and concerns in order of importance. Then create headlines and text that relate your products or services to those needs, in the same order.
- Clearly describe the nature, characteristics, capabilities, or parameters of your products or services.
- Include prominent links for navigation, questions, and order placement on each page of your site.
- Provide product reviews and/or references.
- Answer inquiries promptly, and/or respond immediately with automated e-mails stating when you will follow up.
In building your website, avoid the following pitfalls:
- Too much flash, sound, and fury. You're trying to bring in customers, not win a design award. It's better to minimize on-site confusion and focus on explaining how you'll meet your customers' needs.
- Too much detail. Voluminous pages and files load slowly, which tends to make customers move on. For the same reason, minimize graphic files and high-resolution images wherever possible.
- Complicated navigational systems. Navigation should be simple and obvious, with consistent and prominent navigation bars on each page.
- Obscuring essential information. Present information in order of its importance to the customer. The text should be clear and concise.
Your business website can be an effective sales tool. Be sure you are giving it the attention it deserves.