WHAT FUNCTIONALITY SHOULD MY WEBSITE INCLUDE
Having established that every business needs a website, the next question is what should your website include?
WHY VISITORS COME TO YOUR WEBSITE
First and foremost, you should understand why visitors come to your website. It’s up to you, and your web designer, to figure out why. There should be more than one reason visitors come to your site. For example, people visit a restaurant website for location, contact information, hours, a map, menu, a way to order online. Think about your business and ask yourself what someone taking the time to visit your website is looking for, and provide it.
GIVE VISITORS A REASON TO COME BACK REGULARLY
Take it one step further and think outside the box. What value can you provide your website visitors that they don’t even know they want/need. Steve Jobs created the iPhone long before anybody knew they needed it. if you’re out of new ideas, examine what websites in your industry are doing. If you’re still struggling, talk with your web designer for ideas.
The most basic website is nothing more than an online brochure. This type of website seldom gets repeat visitors because once they have seen it there’s no reason to return. Basic websites will include the following:
- Business name clearly identifiable
- What your business does
- Contact information
- Contact form
The next level gives a bit more detail and adds:
- Service offerings described
- A map of your location
- Examples of your work
- Pictures of key executives
- An about page that describes your business
To that we add functionality that lets the visitor interact with you, and includes:
- Reservations and appointments
- Pricing Tools/Estimator
- Questioner or survey
Not everything is appropriate for all businesses. You have to decide what’s right for your business. Never forget to design your website with the visitors intent in mind.
You need to determine your goals; what you want your website to accomplish. If you don’t define what you expect a website to do for your business you’ll be disappointed with the results. Here are common goals.
Maybe you just want to be seen as a legitimate business. After all, any business that doesn’t have a website is perceived as old fashioned at best, illegitimate at worst. If your only goal is to validate your business, a simple “brochure website” does the job. But if you’re not giving people more reasons to visit your website, you’re missing out on taking full advantage of what the web can do for your business.
ACQUIRE NEW CUSTOMERS
Many business owners assume that simply having a website will bring new customers and are disappointed when it doesn’t happen. There’s a lot of things that need to be done right to turn visitors into customers. A professionally designed website is just the start. Keep in mind a poorly designed website may cost you customers. But if your goal is to acquire new customers, is one new customer satisfactory? Or do you expect 50 new customers. Per month? Or per year? Define what your goal is.
Visitors to your website turn into repeat visitors when you provide information they are seeking. Become known as an authority in your industry by posting current information and/or articles about your business. Providing information might lead to reducing expense if you can reduce or eliminate expensive print materials. Most people prefer to consume information online.
Think about websites you visit again and again. Of course there’s shopping sites like Amazon that many people visit regularly, but what other kinds of websites do you visit more than once? The kind of website that solves a problem. Repeat visitors will come to a website that provides value.
A website needs to be attractive to signal you care enough to do more than throw up a website. To truly be a valuable asset for your business it needs to engage your visitors and ideally be interactive.
Think outside of the box and ask yourself what value you can give your website visitor. Most people today prefer to do everything online. The more a visitor can accomplish on your website the better.