Friday, April 26, 2013

The Business Website...

The top 12 points to keep in mind when designing your new business website. 

Part 1 of 2...

Your website will be one of your most valuable marketing tools when it comes to your business. It will most likely be the first place people will look to find out about the products and/or services you offer. When developing your business website, keep these all-important key points in mind.

1. Develop your website for your target market.  You want to appeal to the people that you want to be your clientele, so make sure that your content reflects what your business has to offer. Keep it streamlined for business and not personal. You're providing a solution to their problem, so avoid the sales and marketing tactics.

2. Create great, to-the-point content.  People scan websites as opposed to reading them like a book. Keep your content concise, relevant and informative while providing interest. Organize the information in easy to read columns with short, descriptive headers. Simplicity is the key and ask yourself if you would be interested in reading it. If you’re not the best writer, consider hiring a copywriter to help you with the content to ensure that grammar and sentence structure is correct and to also infuse creative writing techniques. Articles, tips, tutorials, special deals, freebies, etc., are even more ways to generate interest in your content as long as it is applicable.

3. Cut out the clutter.  You want your business message to be crystal clear. Keep the number of pages/links in your site relevant to your services to keep it streamlined. Focusing on the main aspect/service of your business will add more value and professionalism to your website.

4. Invest in professional photography. You want your business website to reflect your highest, most professional standards. So why would you include an out-of-focus "headshot" taken with an outdated digital camera from your college years? You are a business owner... hire a professional to take a photo that reflects your professionalism. Same with stock photography... invest in some key shots that portray your services (if applicable) and review the usage licensing associated with them. The more professional your site looks, the more professionals/target clients you'll attract.

5. Invest in quality, customization and branding. The look of your website will reflect on your business image and the clients you attract (or not attract). Working with an experienced web design/branding professional is the best way to ensure that your site looks good and is up to current website standards. Keeping your brand consistent throughout your website and your other marketing materials (business cards, advertising, etc.) is paramount. 

6. Keep your content up to date. Update your content frequently via a content management system to give your target market reason to visit often.  Add news, new photos/products, blog posts, features, etc. 

Starting with these first steps will ensure that your website is on the path to attract the right clientele. Check back for the next installment of idbd:focus for the next 6 steps to developing a successful business website.