Invest in the Best
What matters most in a website?
The things that a professional web developer & specialist business webhosting can ensure:
- speed - studies consistently show that people don't wait for slow-loading webpages;
- easy navigation - menus that flow, page layouts that are easy to read, important information is upfront, no broken links;
- reliability - the site is accessible whenever users need it, all functions work properly;
- security - hackers cost businesses hugely in $ and reputation. Small businesses are a favourite target - partly because they don't expect attack.
And there's one factor that depends on you...
Up to date & relevant information
Like every public face of your business (brochure, radio ad, shopfront...), your website needs regular maintenance. That means ongoing investment of your time or finances.
You probably won't update a website as often as a social media page. But don't confuse less often with never.
For your website to be found via online searches, you'll need effective search engine optimisation (SEO) of keywords and key phrases. This isn't scary. There are some difficult industries (eg retail clothing, female vocalists, web design in major citiese) where businesses might need extra help and/or outlay for effective SEO. For most of our clients however, it's a matter of commonsense and a little effort.
Small business SEO made simple
- Communicate naturally in a style that your customers understand.
- Use a well-structured website and content management system.
- Craft a brief search description (metadescription) for each webpage, that entices people to visit your site & see more;
- Aim to rank well for the search terms that will bring you the right customers, from your local area or your niche market.
- Regular new content helps to maintain your site's high ranking in search results.
Sometimes your site will need a full makeover, to reflect major changes in your business, your customers, your industry or the Internet. Because SUTTONNet stays in touch with our website clients via our hosting and support services, we are on hand to help you with major website upgrades.
Show your customers that you care, by maintaining a well-presented and useful website.
Fighting giants online
Establishing online trust is a major issue for small-medium businesses.
So it's important to show a trustworthy, professional face online.
In the study cited above, 70% of customers felt that chain stores were more likely to have a stable business, even though they wanted to buy from smaller suppliers. How do you convince site visitors that you aren't a fly-by-night concern, and they can trust you with their credit card and personal details? A website security certificate with a trust seal can help.
Ecommerce - the 'how' matters
A simple sales process with no hidden extras, wins customers.
- 35% of respondents abandoned their shopping cart if the website wanted them to create an account;
- 27% gave up because checkout was too long or complex;
- 24% left a site when they weren't shown all costs upfront.
Demonstrate to customers that payments are secure and your business is genuine: eg purchase a security certificate with site seal and display it prominently on your payment page.
What customers want
What else are customers after online, that your business can offer? Check out the results of this US survey. You might be surprised that - at least in the US - customers are eager to post positive reviews of local suppliers and service providers; and to make their bookings/appointments online.
If that's what your customers are saying too: ask SUTTONNet about tailored bookings and online reviews/ratings software.
Plan, talk with experts, revise your plan as needed. Build and maintain a website that will really work.
Lies, damned lies &...web statistics
SUTTONNet tries to find reliable, research-based advice for our clients on site user behaviour and building sales online. It's not simple.
Easy-read marketing graphics and summaries don't always match the data. Even original reports can be vague about what was measured & its significance. We don't get too excited about exact numbers.
- Look for trends across survey results;
- Look for simple changes you can make to your site, that will let you measure impact;
- Use your judgment. Not all 'research backed' recommendations will relate to every business or customer group, but some are no-brainers.