Regardless of the size or nature of the business, no company can ignore the importance of an online presence. Whether you do the majority of your trading online or in more traditional ways, current and potential clients and customers will judge your enterp
With that in mind, here are some tips on how to optimise your website and enhance the ways it connects with your customers.
Website design is now a fairly established art, and you don’t have to be too innovative. See what your competitors are doing. Search for the websites of companies offering similar products and services to yours and take a note of what works well and what doesn’t. Those ranking highly on the search engines might give the best clues as to how it should be done.
Of course, you can also get tips from websites from completely different industries and markets. Get a feel for the tried and trusted ways of the World Wide Web.
### Layout and design
Here are some design points to consider when optimising your website:
* Make it clear and obvious. Your site visitors shouldn’t need to take more than a split second to work out the products and services you offer or the industry in which you operate. What they have to do to buy or engage should also be obvious. Treat your website as you would a shop front.
* Colours and text. Make sure your site is easy on the eye. Try to use bright, inviting colours without straying into garish territory. Text should be clear and easy to read. Make it interesting and inviting so users feel comfortable to browse.
* Display offers prominently. You’ll get users’ attention and encourage sales if you show your best offers in a prime position on the home page.
* Information. Ensure that all the really important stuff is immediately visible without the user having to scroll down. Sales points and telephone numbers, for example, must be clearly displayed near the top. You’ll need a prominent call to action, such as “buy here”, “phone now” or “sign up for free”, etc.
* Don’t clutter. There’s a danger of trying to do too much in too little space. Make it easy for your site’s visitors to find what they’re looking for.
* Branding. This should be prominent throughout your website. You should stamp your identity on all content, especially if it’s likely to get shared across the internet.
* Images. The use of quality pictures of your products or inspirational images relating to your services can positively reinforce your brand message. If you settle for second-rate visuals, however, you’ll look unprofessional in the eyes of your site’s visitors.
### Engagement, interaction and sharing
Engaging your website’s users and encouraging them to interact and share can spread your message and brand name across the internet, and encourage more visitors to your site. Include social media buttons for the likes of Facebook and Twitter on your pages. Also encourage user reviews. Positive reviews or other endorsements and recommendations can be used prominently on your site to validate your business and reinforce trust.
The use of video can also be effective for engaging your visitors – especially if you make the subject informative or funny. Encourage users to share any of content on your website via social media or email.
### Macro and micro conversions
One of the primary purposes of your website is to achieve your main conversion goals, i.e., direct sales of your key products or services. Obviously, many of your site’s visitors won’t complete a purchase or make a sales enquiry. However, if you also focus on micro conversions, you’ll turn more of these visitors into potential customers.
For example, by encouraging visitors to sign up for newsletters or marketing emails with special offers and product information, you’ll keep them engaged with your website and business, and they’ll be more likely to buy in the future.
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