15 Characteristics of a Strong Company Website
In today’s tech-based society, having a web presence is essential for business. Studies show that 97% of customers shop online for services and products. Its not enough to simply have a website, but it must be an active tool that brings in new business and engages your customers. Keep in mind that your website is an extension of your business. It represents your company and should inform customers of your services, mission, and goals. The website should also be user-friendly, easy to navigate and build trust with your customers to provide them with a positive experience. If your website is outdated, poorly designed or prone to errors, your visitors will have a negative impression of your entire business.
Does your company have a strong website that serves your customers? Check out the following list to see which areas your site is performing well in and also some possible areas of improvement.
1. Contact Information
Contact information is a basic element, but it is often overlooked. More than 25% of small businesses don’t even have a phone number listed on their website. Ideally, your company’s phone number will be listed near the top of each page so that it’s quick and easy to find. Having a fixed header on each page of your website ensures your contact number stays visible all the time.
Your website should also include a company email address such as [email protected]. Having a company branded email address looks more professional than using a free email service such as Gmail and gives your visitors the security in knowing that your company is legitimate. Website Restore can assist you in getting setup with company email accounts, or if you prefer to do it yourself, we highly recommend the business email plans at NameCheap.
2. Hours of Operation
Business hours are another critical element for a website. Your company’s hours of operation should be posted in the header and/or footer sections of your website. Hours should be updated for temporary changes too, such as holiday schedules.
You can also use the power of Google, Facebook and Yelp in getting the word out about your business hours. Your website visitors are actively using these platforms so they are the perfect place to keep your important business details readily available and up-to-date.
3. Location and Directions
Location and directions are important elements of your company’s website. Along with having written directions and location details, you should have a map showing visual details of your company’s location. Post your mailing address along with the physical address if they are different. We encourage you to use Google Maps to create a shareable link to your company location that can be included in your email signature.
If your business has multiple locations, offering your site visitors a location finder is a great asset to your website. Website Restore can add a real-time location search to your site and detect the closest location to your visitors. Rather than relying on your site visitors to find you, you can help direct them to the services and products they are looking for.
4. Pictures and Video
Even though a website is used to conduct business remotely, customers still like to know that they’re dealing with a “real” company and staff. Posting pictures of your company, including the storefront, the entrance, and images of your products can help with marketing and sales. If people think your company and its products are appealing and attractive, they’ll be more inclined to do business with you.
Adding video takes this even further. A high-quality company video can tell your visitors a story and will lead to more sales and happier clients. Show your visitors who you are, how your company operates and what makes you better than your competition. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how much more effective is a quality video presentation?
5. Contact Form
Even when your business technically closes for the day, customers will still be on your website looking for and purchasing products and services. To avoid losing your customers to competitors when they can’t get in touch or can’t get a response from you, set up a contact form on your website. The form should collect as much information as possible from customers so that you can understand what they need and respond accordingly. The contact form should forward their request to a company email address that is checked regularly to avoid delays in response time.
After the visitor has completed the form, they should be notified of the expected wait time until they receive a response from you. This can be a simple response on-screen letting them know that you have received their message and will get back to them promptly. You can take it a step further and email them a short thank you letter which should include your contact details and a copy of the message they just sent to you.
It is important to know that while adding a contact form can be very beneficial to your website and business, it does open up the potential for site vulnerabilities. To combat any malicious use of your website forms, it is best to review how to protect your website.
6. “About Us” Page
Part of building trust and establishing a relationship with your customers involves sharing some insight into your company, including why your business exists, what you offer, and your experience. This information should be included in an “About Us” page, with at least one paragraph dedicated to the company’s history. If you can provide pictures of the staff and your products or other work, even better. If your company has received any awards or special recognition, that information should also be added to your “About Us” page.
The “About Us” page is your opportunity to put a face behind the name and to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Visitors love knowing who they are working with. For the best results, your page should be well thought out and designed professionally.
7. CTA and Customer Testimonials
Ultimately, you want customers who visit your website to purchase what you’re selling. Adding a call to action “CTA” provides an incentive for people to complete a purchase. Even a simple message such as “call us today” will work. Calls to action need to be clear and separated out from the rest of your website content. Typically this can be done with bold headlines and buttons. A user who visits your website for the first time, should be able to clearly and easily navigate your website and follow the sales path you have created for them.
Additionally, posting real customer testimonials with positive product or service reviews will inspire others to buy your goods. According to TrustPilot, an astounding 89% of consumers read reviews before buying. Just think about how often you search for the best restaurant in your town, or where to find that perfect gift for a loved one. Reviews and testimonials matter, and adding them to your website is crucial. Posted reviews should include the review itself, and if you have permission, can include the person’s name and photo for added legitimacy.
Going even further, if your business is not asking your current clients for online reviews, you need to start doing so today. While you should not incentivize your clients to leave you a positive review, you can email them a personalized thank you letter and include a link to your Google Business page, Facebook page or your Yelp listing. It is best to let your client know how important positive reviews are for your business and how much you appreciate them.
8. Coupons or Discounts
Everyone likes to save money. Offering coupons or discounts for your customers is a great way to provide cost savings, and you’ll be more likely to attract customers. It is best to market your discounts directly on your home page, either in the page header or in another prominent place. Coupons are a great way to build your newsletter contact list as well as turning your current customers into repeat customers.
9. Social Media Links
Most customers (76%) expect businesses to have at least one social media page. That number increases to 95% for millennials, and it applies to local businesses along with larger corporations. If you don’t yet have a social page, it’s a good idea to start one. Creating a social media presence can easily boost visibility and build trust.
Each social platform caters to a different audience and it’s important to know which attracts your potential clients best. You do not need to have an account on all of the available platforms so spend some time reviewing each to understand how they work and the type of people using them. LinkedIn for instance is typically for business professionals while Instagram is mainly used by the youthful smart-phone generation. The best content for you to share also highly depends on the chosen platforms.
The best platforms for businesses are:
10. Unique Title Tags
Title tags are snippets of HTML that are included in the <HEAD> section of your website. Each page on your website should have its own unique title tag with page-specific words and phrases. These page titles are often used by Google and other search engines in their search results. Your page titles should be intriguing to read, not full of spammy marketing and about 50–60 characters long.
11. Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are similar to title tags, but they are used to provide a short description of your web pages in search engine results. Like title tags, these are often used by search engines on their results page. Your page title and description will be the first thing new potential visitors see about your website so make them count. A well formed meta description will use full sentence structure, punctuation and be between 50–160 characters long.
12. Memorable Website Name and Domain
To make a memorable website name, you’ll want to create one that is short, easy to spell and remember. If you can come up with a creative or catchy name, even better.
Your website domain name should match your company name to make it easy for potential visitors to find you. Website Restore for instance uses the domain name WebsiteRestore.com. Anytime anyone search for us by name, they can easily locate our website because it matches our name.
Its not always possible to purchase your company name exactly as a website domain. This is typical if your business name is common or you have a lot of competitors. In these cases, its best to include your company name along with another related word in the domain name. If you own a plumbing business in California for instance, you can try purchasing JoesPlumbingCA.com or JoesPlumbingCalifornia.com. It is almost always better to purchase the .Com domain name instead of anything else. While you may find a closer name match using .Net or .Shop etc, your website visitors will have a much harder time remembering that domain name.
13. Fast Load Time
Your website should have a load time of no more than three seconds. Any longer than that, and your customers may leave for a competitor’s page instead. We live in a generation when everything is expected to happen in real-time and most people do not have the patience to wait for a slow loading website.
You may have the best website on the Internet, but if it takes a long time to load, no-one else will stick around to see it. A website maintenance company like Website Restore can help you locate and fix elements that are slowing down your website. The best place to start is with a full Website Evaluation and Tune-up.
14. Mobile-Friendly Layout
Since people will likely be accessing your website on the go, having a mobile-friendly website is increasingly important. According to Statista, 54.8% of all website traffic and 60% of all Google searches come from mobile devices. If your website does not look or function well on a mobile device, you are losing out on a large amount of potential revenue. If you’re not sure how to create a mobile-friendly page, make sure to hire a professional web designer to help you out.
15. Website Security
Along with containing all the right elements, a website also needs to be secure. Since website security involves more technical expertise, consider hiring a website maintenance company to handle updates and make sure your site is as safe and secure as possible. For a more in-depth understanding of website security, we recommend reading: How to Protect Your Website from Hackers.
Website Restore | WordPress Maintenance Company
Designing, building and maintaining a website can be difficult. If you don’t have the time to do-it-yourself, you’ll want to know “who can manage my website instead?”. Fortunately, we’re here to help with all your website creation, website maintenance, and website security needs. Contact us today for assistance.