March 31, 2017
In the year 2017, having a company website is pretty much a given. But with competition heating up in the business world, good websites are no longer cutting it; you need a great one to draw the right attention. Particularly if you want to attract younger customers, you’re going to have to conform to the demands of the information age.
For many people, slapping an address and a mission statement on a website seems like an adequate way of alerting customers to your presence. However, that’s a great way to turn people off. Websites are only as useful as the user experience, so adapt your website to the expectations customers are bringing in 2017.
The Five Ws
Your website needs to answer the five Ws: who, what, when, where, why. Who is running this business, what does it do, when is it available, where are you located, and why should customers come to you?
Depending on what kind of business you have, you will need to modify what is on your website, but all company websites should have the five Ws. Make an about page or a staff page that introduces people to the owners and, if possible, the staff. Let people know who you are and what expertise you bring with you to your business. Then, you need a clear explanation of what it is you do. If someone can read your entire website and not clearly articulate what industry you’re in, you have a problem.
Then you need standard business information. For many businesses, this is surprisingly difficult to provide. You need a when and where. What are your business hours, and when are you available? Will your store be closed for a particular period of time? Do you know what holidays you will be taking off throughout the year? Include all that information, as well as a business address for store fronts or, at the very least, a city name for businesses that don’t necessarily require in-person contact. People still want to know where your business is based.
Finally, you need a why – this can be a description of what experience you have that makes your business ideal, testimonials from previous customers about why your business is better and a statement about what you can guarantee.
Products and Services
Customers should be able to identify exactly what you’re selling them from your website. If you’re a consultant selling intangible products, describe your packages or services, how they’re available, and in what way you can deliver them. Simply put, you need a brief overview of your prices. If you’re a storefront selling specific products or a restaurant, include when possible an updated general inventory or the most recent menu available.
Make sure customers have the ability to identify what sort of options are available in your store, what general prices you’re selling them for and information about the products they’re potentially buying.
How to Reach You
Your website needs to be the most comprehensive account of your business online. That means your social media accounts shouldn’t have more information than your website, and it also means that your social media accounts should be linked to your website.
Along with your social media accounts, you should include all the options customers have to contact you on your website. This could include technological solutions, such as using a HTML5 geolocation, or simply publishing a business phone number, an email address, and, when possible, a chat feature to help people get in touch with customer service.
Customers don’t want to have to ask questions in the first place, but when they do, they want an immediate option for getting in touch with you. Businesses typically only answer the phone during business hours, and when customers want an immediate action, they don’t want to leave a message. Thus, it’s important to be available through other options, such as email or social media messaging.
Customers have a lot of expectations for business websites in 2017. Don’t get left in the dust with an incomplete and unhelpful website, or you may be turning away potential millennial guests with modern expectations and a lifetime of spending in front of them.
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