Consumers are always looking for something. These days they’re likely to go online before anything else. But if they come to your website, will it provide them with the information they’re looking for to make a decision? Through our work, we’ve discovered some “must do’s” and best practices that help build the best website possible.
Having a web presence is always important, and your website should be the center focus. Every business is competing in a specific market, and therefore, a well-designed and well thought-out online presence is essential. Potential guests use the web as their primary decision-making tool, even surpassing word of mouth.
Your website should be your businesses calling card—you should never have to apologize for the state of your site. If a site site is clean, easy to use, and well designed, it will inform the customer that your businesses notices details and cares about how it looks and is perceived. Whenever possible, we try to visit your business, experience what your customers will experience, and then try to capture convey it visually online. A retails site should look and feel very different from that of a professional office: the interiors aren’t the same, the product isn’t the same, the service isn’t the same, and the web presence should be different—unique and authentic.
There are a few basic things every website needs:
1Hours of operation (up-to-date)
2An easy way to make contact
3Address and phone number
A good website will convey the experience of “being there” to a potential guest and make them want to take action. Good website design (and social media messaging) is about ease of use and telling the story through visuals. We’ve seen too many over-designed sites and sites that try to be trendy without forethought. A auto repair shop website shouldn’t be talked into a modernist looking site—it doesn’t fit. Just because a designer wants to try the latest trend doesn’t mean they should be allowed to. Owners should make sure their public relations partner is the right fit.
It’s essential that your site (and social media) provide the best look possible. Which means, there are 2 major no-no’s that you should avoid. They are:
1Using bad photos. Product photography is a niche unto itself and is an art. Photography is not an area to cut corners. Don’t use your cell phone images. Hire a photographer, get tons of pictures and use them for a variety of things.
2Using site builders for your websites. Visual is everything – content is king. A good website is going to cost you about $750-1,000 to build, and you should be spending more than $9/month to have a good host that will protect your site.
Once you have your site built, the overall look and feel should not need to be updated often – maybe once every 3-5 years; mostly to keep up with technical changes. As we said before, content; however, is king and should be kept accurate and up-to- date. Services/products, et cetera need to be updated online whenever they’re updated in your business. I’ve often chosen to go to a difference business when the one I wanted to use didn’t have a current website.