Are your website users trying to communicate to you through an outdated and unresponsive site?

Your business website is where your clients find out the most information about you, before they actually talk to you. So you want to show off your business … right? Many business owners have a go at building their own website and they use free internet based sites that are not flexible and use simple and outdated designs that don’t allow for the integration of today’s modern tools that a business requires. This is either done because there is no cash to pay for a website or the business owner ‘wants to have a go’ and build one themselves. Either way, it spells disaster. To have a professional and functional site doesn’t have to cost you your shirt and trousers, but you do need to invest.

Your website is one of the most important business tools you can have.

It does not work in isolation but in conjunction with your, your brand, your product and your clients. So why on earth would you not want a great and functioning site and to have that you need to incorporate the 8 points below at a bare minimum.

1. Mobile responsive

This goes without saying doesn’t it? I mean, just about everyone has a smart phone and they want to be able to check things out in their own time.  They want to find out all they need to know about you before they actually make contact with you.  Contact … that leads me to my next point. Simply, this means your website needs to be mobile responsive. Is it?

2. Contact details

This one drive me nuts personally.  I find so many websites that do not have any contact details, no location details, no phone number, not even a physical address.  What is it you feel you need to hide from potential clients and customers?  Why would you not want to make it easy for potential clients to contact you?  Next time you are surfing looking for information, take note of how many sites actually have an email address. Most have contact forms, a personal dislike of mine. Yes, I have a contact form on my site, but I also have my full contact details giving user the ‘choice’.

3. A great design

Your design should reflect your professionalism, and provide your user what they are looking for.  A cryptic website with too many links that lead to more links soon wears thin and visitors will simply click off your site. I recommend you build your website with your client in mind, what is it they want to see and do, what information are they seeking, what are their expectations? Talk to your niche market, conduct polls or a survey.  Before you release your site, send it out to some of your target market and business acquaintances, ask them for their opinion.   I would expect them to be brutally honest. Don’t ask friends, sometimes they just don’t want to hurt your feelings and will say it’s great when it isn’t.

4. Social Media links

This one is scary given the day and age we live in. We want people to be able to share our websites, and help to get our name out there by sharing what they have read via social media. This is beneficial to your business, it increases your search-ability on the web. Isn’t that what we want? We want more and more people to know who we are and what we do. We want more people to know that we are SME’s and we want their business, it’s as simple as that.

5. Metrics

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

If you cannot analyse the traffic to your website, what your customers / clients purchase, how and when; how can you improve on your service or product?  It is vital to today’s business to be able to determine who uses your site, what is looked at and clicked on. This helps you determine how and what in your product range you need to change, add or delete.

6. Good Hosting

Many use hosting from a variety of sources, generally what ever is the cheapest. Problem is, cheap is just that, it’s cheap. You want a host that is available 24/7, you want one in your own country. You don’t want your hosting going via other countries before getting from the server to your computer. If something goes wrong, you want someone on your own time zone that you can contact to get things fixed.

7. Maintenance

Your website is not a set and forget thingy … it needs to be maintained and updated.  It should be fresh and all of your links should work. Sometimes though, a link may be overlooked and your customers / clients will tell you.  Make sure it is fixed ASAP, your website is a reflection of you and your business, if it doesn’t work, what does that say about you and your business acumen. That you are too cheap to pay for a good site or not knowledgeable enough to fix the problem?  It’s all about perception.

I’d love to read your comments. If you have a minute please leave one below.