“A company’s webpage is a reflection of the business itself”
That is most certainly what a customer may think since it is often his/her first introduction to a business. With this in mind, creating an excellent website is vital to the success of your business. Before you consider design and marketing, you will first want to make sure your site provides visitors the right information at the right time. If you are just getting started with your website or are updating an existing one, here are a few important tips you need to follow to create a valuable webpage.
TIP 1: MAKE IT SIMPLE
When it comes to designing your website, the old adage KISS is good advice: “Keep It Simple, Sweetie”. Here is why:
For your visitors understanding
You don’t want your customers to leave your webpage because they can’t find what they are looking for. Think about what information is important for someone to buy your service or product, and organize this information in an easy structure, such as a simple main menu. Make sure the important information is available from the main page and that it is not necessary to scroll down to access it. Also, do not overload the page with unrelated information.
Use design to make it easier to complete tasks, not just for design sake. A simple but important design tool is the font you choose. You want your site to look sharp, and the font choice is essential to this. Keep in mind that the font you select should be easy to read so visitors can remain on your site for more than 5 minutes without feeling like they are cutting onions.
You don’t use your website – your customers do! Adding music to your webpage might seem like a great idea, but visitors won’t go to your webpage because they love the music on it, and it is likely that most people do not share the same taste in music. If you do choose to add music make sure you give people the option to turn it off.
For SEO result
Designing a website that is straightforward and easy to navigate will also help your SEO result. If the structure is easy, search engines will give better results and the search experience will be faster and more positive.
Limit the use of animations and Flash. There are many major companies out there with big, shiny we sites that contain a lot of complicated and cool-looking Flash. But here’s a secret about it: a search engine can’t read those sites.
TIP 2: MAKE IT RESPONSIVE
More than 80% of the mobile phones sold in 2012 were smartphones. In other words, most of your customers may already own a tablet or a smartphone and they are going to use it to visit your webpage. Are you ready for this?
If you decide to update your website or make a new one, you need to ensure that it is responsive. Responsive means easy reading and navigation with minimum resizing, panning, and scrolling. It also means creating a site that looks great across a wide range of devices, giving the customer a great experience whether he or she is using a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone.
If you want to build a responsive website but design is not your passion or your skill, you can consider using website companies such as Wix.com or Weebly.com. They offer great looking websites at an affordable price. All sites are 100% responsive and require very little work on your part.
TIP 3: MAKE IT TRANSPARENT
It is important to remember that sales are about trust and there is no trust without transparency. There is some strategic information you MUST show on your webpage if you want people to trust your business:
- Pictures: A picture is worth 1000 words and it is the best way to show what you do, who you are, and what you sell. Would you book a room if you can’t see a picture of it? The answer is a definite no. Also, great pictures will make your web design much nicer. If taking pictures isn’t your forte, then it is worth the expense to hire a professional photographer to do it for you.
- Features / Services: Be specific and precise about what you offer and try to answer the following questions: what? (What is it? What do I get?), when? (When does it starts/ends? When will I receive it?), how? (how does it work? How can I book?), and where? (Where does it take place?)
- Prices: If you are concerned about advertising your prices, remember that most customers will likely not buy your services if you don’t show your prices. Potential customers may think, “If they don’t show their prices, then they are probably too expensive”. Ensure your visitors can easily find your rates and keep the price structure as simple as possible. If customers need a calculator to figure the cost, then it is too complicated.
- Contact info: Most of the time you will convert customers when you talk to them. The contact information must be easy to access and your email address should be easy to remember.
TIP 4: MAKE IT FAST
Did you know that 40% of people will leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to open?
If your site is slow, the experience is frustrating and you certainly don’t want to give that feeling to your potential customers. Here is some data on how your website speed directly affects your revenue: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/?wide=1
There are several things you can do to improve your site speed:
As we said earlier, keep your website simple. The more data you have on your page, the longer it will take to transmit.
Be very cautious with Flash animations, pop ups, and ads that could slow down your site and distract your visitors attention from the important information.
Here are more easy steps you can take to increase your website speed: http://www.dailyblogtips.com/6-ways-to-speed-up-your-site/
TIP 5: MAKE IT SEO FRIENDLY
It doesn’t matter if you have the most amazing webpage in the world, if nobody can find it, you will not make money. Google and other search engines use the keywords as well as the content to determine what your site is about.
Typically you will want to include the following keywords: who you are (business name), where you are (location or address), what you do (bed & breakfast), and what you offer (reservations).
Where and how you add keywords to your website depends on the software you are using. In many website design tools it’s called meta keywords or search keywords.
Here are some nice tips that will help you improve your keywords efficiency: http://www.sitepoint.com/the-5-most-valuable-places-for-keywords-on-your-website/
TIP 6: MAKE IT BOOKABLE
If your visitors are able to find easily the information they are looking for and consider it is reasonable, they will logically want to book online because it is the easiest and fastest way to make a reservation. Additionally, you want your customers to be able to book online so you don’t have to spend your time taking reservations. You can focus your attention on other business tasks such as marketing and sales. Having an online booking system will help you with the success of your business.
WebReserv.com offers a flexible booking system with an easy setup and an affordable price.
Once you’ve done these changes, get feedback from your friends and family. Ask them to go to your webpage and navigate through to find the important information such as descriptions, pictures, pricing, contacting information, and the booking page. Find out how long it took them to find the information and what was their honest opinion about their overall experience. Furthermore, ask your customers about their experience, and take the feedback in account to keep improving your webpage.