Why you need a modern website and what it can do for your business.
All too often websites are seen as little more than table stakes, a tool you must have just because everyone else has one. But if you don’t recognize that your website is a window your customers are using to shop your business, you are losing sales.
Do you remember the days of “main streets”? You know, a central road in a town lined with local businesses where everyone did their shopping. What attracted people into stores was their visual storefront–what was in the window. Owners would spend hours, even days, to decorate this storefront window into a portal of enticement which would draw local passerbys in. But then something happened. The “main street” became virtual, and websites became the new storefronts. Now, a business must use their website in the same way to attract and entice visitors to “browse their selection”.
All websites are not built equal. It is important to recognize that the saying “You only get one First Impression” applies even more so in today’s online community. The average person will automatically do research online before purchasing any product or service. When conducting this research, any obstacles that present themselves will immediately cause the user to change course: Long Load Times? Bye. Not Mobile Friendly? I need to pinch to zoom?!?! See Ya. Outdated Information? Are you even still in business? Later.
Imagine walking into a store in the middle of December, excited to buy some holiday items, and seeing 4th of July Promotions and Items. Pretty ridiculous, right? What message is this sending to the potential customers? Now imagine walking into a store but there’s a line for everything–A Line to get in the store, a line to view each item, a line to use the bathroom, a line for the cashier; heck, there’s even a line to leave the store. How frustrating is that experience? Nobody wants to deal with that. Finally, imagine walking into a store where there was no structure. Men’s clothes overlapped the women’s section, the electronics section ended up inside the home & garden section, everything is just a mess. I’m sure you can see how people would become irritated and just leave the store in these scenarios. So why would it be any different online? In fact, it’s easier to do online because you remain relatively anonymous.
It’s never good to let the structure or functionality of your website be the reason why someone does not do business with you. A good website has a few key components:
(1) Easy Navigation: Make sure your users do not have to search around for the next step. Make your Main Navigation Bar easily visible, and direct the users with large Calls-To-Action to assist in creating a journey through your content.
(2) Responsive – Mobile Friendly: Your website MUST be mobile-friendly. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to have it be “responsive”. This eliminates the need to build a separate mobile-website, and allows you to present all your same content across multiple devices.
(3) Hosting/Security: In the past, this has been overlooked, but it is becoming more and more important, even for local small businesses. Daily Backups of your website files, as well as Detection Systems against Intruders, Hackers and Spam are just the foundation of what every website should have. Depending on the information being submitted on the website, different levels of security and hosting power would be necessary. Obviously, you wouldn’t need the same setup for a website taking email subscriptions as you would for an online store selling products and taking credit cards.
(4) Modern Design & Updated Content: Nothing can turn a user off more than seeing outdated content. To many people, it shows you don’t care. Nowadays, people can also tell the difference between a website built within the last 3 years and one built in the last 10 years. There is a distinct difference in look, feel and overall functionality. Don’t let your customers think of you as “outdated”. A simple refresh and updated content can go a long way for your website.
So think twice before you say, “My website is fine.” Is it the best representation of your business? If not, you should strongly consider a change. There is no time or cost that can be valued or associated to the ability to attract new customers to your business. Give your storefront the best chance to outshine the competition.