Your company’s website is one of your most important marketing tools. It can make a great first impression, convince visitors that your company is worth buying from, and even make a sale. Given how important your site can be, it’s critical to make it the best it can be. The good news is that small improvements can make a big difference.
This checklist can help. Use it to review key features of your site. Based on what you find, you can develop an action plan for site improvements.
1. Contact Information
One of the primary functions of a website is for prospects and customers to connect with your business. Despite this, a surprising number of business sites make it hard to find contact information. Review your site to be sure that it:
- Features a prominent “Contact Us” link. Ideally, this link should be on your home page and on each and every page of your site.
- Provides multiple contact options, including phone and email. Give the email address a compelling name such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Be creative and make the email inviting and friendly.
- Makes it quick and easy to contact you. Allow people to email you with a question or request quickly and without completing a lengthy web form.
- Let visitors know the best way to reach you. If email is the quickest way for someone to get an answer to a question, state that on your site in a customer-friendly way such as “The quickest way to get a response from us is…”
2. Address, Directions and Hours
Your site should make it easy for the prospects and customers who want to visit your location to find you – when you’re open. Your site should:
- Feature your location prominently. Provide your actual street address, a map of your location, and directions for driving and public transportation, if appropriate. If you have multiple locations, make it easy for visitors to find the location nearest them. Location and directions should be no more than one click from the home page.
- Make your hours of operation easy to find. Hours should be featured on your home page or one click away.
3. About Us
The “About Us” section of your site is an opportunity to showcase your company’s mission, philosophy, founding story, expertise and unique value or offerings. This section is important because if someone is visiting it, they want to learn about your business – and thus may be a good prospect. Review your site’s “About Us” section and be sure it:
- Is clear. Your company description should be informative and complete so that anyone who reads it knows what you offer. Keep it concise and keep jargon to a minimum.
- Explains your unique story or approach. Why did the founders start the business? Do you have an unusual culture or ethos? Does your company sell products that are not available elsewhere? What unique background or expertise does your team bring to its projects? These types of value statements help visitors get to know – and ideally get them to want to do business with – your company.
4. Customer Responsiveness and Reassurance
Indicating that you regularly check emails and phone messages will encourage site visitors to connect with you. Your “Contact Us” page can say something as simple as “We are happy to hear from you and will respond promptly.” Better yet, promise a specific response time – for example, “We frequently check email and messages and will respond to your message within one business day.”
Be sure you have a process for responding to all web inquiries quickly – before those prospects buy from a competitor! Your site should auto-forward emails to someone who can check them frequently. Making customers wait for a response these days constitutes poor service: 67% of social media users expect a response within a day, and 42% expect a response in an hour or less, according to 2012 research by Edison Research.
Pictures of your team, storefront, products or completed projects can tell a powerful story about your company. Research from Baynote found that 68% of site visitors evaluate a site based on its product images and copy. Review your site for opportunities to tap into the power of images by having photos of:
- Your team. Many companies choose to feature management or service personnel as a way of putting a “face” on their companies.
- Your storefront. If you have a retail location, a picture of the exterior or interior of your business can serve to draw people in.
- Products or completed work. Shots of your products or a completed project can help site visitors evaluate what you can do for them.
6. Signs of Life
A simple way to keep your site looking fresh is to include “signs of life” or proof that the site is regularly updated. Maintaining your site sends a strong message about your company because it indicates that you take care of your work. Consider:
- Featuring on your home page some kind of offer or news that you can update easily and often. For example, one week it might be an announcement of a new shipment, the next it might be an in-store event, then a new video or a webcast, then some kind of employee or company news, etc.
- Including a separate feature, such as a blog or newsletter, that you update frequently. If you use social media, link to them from your site and post to them frequently.
- Featuring a “last updated” date on your site
- Establishing a schedule for regularly checking to ensure that all of your site pages and links are operational. At the same time, review your site for expired offers and old copy and images that should be updated.
- Reviewing your site annually for functionality. Ensure that your site presents your company as contemporary and provides all the features, such as e-commerce and customer service, that your customers want.
7. Site Optimization
Your site visitors are increasingly likely to access your site from a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. In a recent survey from Baynote, 70% of shoppers reported using a mobile device to find a retail store.
Make sure your site is easy to view and access from all devices by:
- Ensuring that your site is “optimized” for all devices including smartphones, tablets and computers. If you use a do-it-yourself site development option, be sure it supports this functionality.
- Checking for yourself that your site operates well on any device. Visit your site from different kinds of smartphones and tablets, and through as many Web browsers as possible, to ensure that it functions well from whatever device someone may be using. This may sound like a lot of work, but it is well worth it.
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