If your business could make a New Year’s resolution – what would it be?
How about a new look for 2012?
If you can’t remember the last time the words ‘website’ and ‘update’ were mentioned in the same sentence in your office, chances are a website makeover is long overdue.
A new year's resolution to develop your online marketing with a new and user friendly web design or ecommerce website could make 2012 a successful year for your business!
But where do you start?
Paul Haslam, Creative Director at The Web Bureau in Belfast has simplified the process into the following 5 easy steps:
1. Say what you do
Websites must reflect the company accurately in order to attract the correct audiences. Your website is your ‘online face’ and the first place many prospective customers will visit to find out if you offer what they need. If it’s not on the site they probably they won’t stay. If products and services offered by the company do change regularly, it is important to communicate this on the site. Broadening the appeal of the company can only be a good thing.
2. The sales path
A journey through a website should be easy for users. Whether the end goal is a purchase or simply a sign up for a newsletter, you should make the process as straightforward as possible. Looking through your website analytics will allow you to see how many visitors to your website actually completed any of your set goals. Converting ‘visitors’ to customers should be the ultimate goal of the site; if it isn’t, you’re missing opportunities. User journeys should be regularly tracked. If the conversion rates are continually poor, you may need to reconsider the user journey.
3. Needle in a haystack
If users can’t easily find the page they need, they’ll leave the site. By keeping the layout simple and using clear, specific headings on pages and subpages, users will be able to see immediately where they want to go. Analytics will allow you to see how long people are staying on your site or how many pages they access before they leave your site. But it won’t tell you why they have left, so you may want to consider implementing a site survey as users exit the site.
4. Be the boss
Having the ability to manage the site yourself is a huge advantage. Content Management Systems allow you to easily update content without going through your web developer. Regularly updating product lists, stock quantities, promotional offers and news items may just set you apart from your competition!
5. All singing, all dancing
Perhaps you want the option of doing more on your site. Additional features such as blogs, quizzes and videos may not be supported by your current system but can easily be incorporated into a new system. This is also the type of content that will encourage users to return. If you do decide to set the ‘online facelift’ wheels in motion, it is important to keep in mind the key purpose of the site. By making a brief checklist of objectives and working closely with your web developer throughout the process you can ensure you get a website fit for 2012.