When it comes to business; you only get one chance to make a good first impression and your website is no different. When potential customers arrive at your site they should instantly discover who you are and what you do. But statistics have shown that many small-business websites lack the basics, which puts them at risk of losing a customer with just one click.
The first question is whether your website is customer-friendly? You should start with the five things that belong on the front page of every business website and these are listed below:
1. Contact Details: A recent survey highlighted that nearly 75 percent of small business websites don’t have an email address on their homepage. And, six out of 10 don’t have a phone number.
At a minimum, your website should have a clear email link and a contact number. If you have an office or store, consider including the full address with the town/city and postcode code, as well as a map and directions on a contact page.
2. Images that show what you do: If you sell birthday cakes, as an example, the front page of your website should have a picture of one of your birthday cakes. Although this sounds obvious, many business websites use irrelevant graphics such as butterflies and family photos, or worse, no photos at all.
But remember to be mindful of how you display images. Think twice before making them spin or pop-out or do anything else that can be distracting or irritating; it will simply drive away visitors.
3. Easy navigation: The Homepage of your website should have a clear, easy-to-use navigation system either across the top or down one side of the page. Each button should be clearly marked with words that correspond to the content on that page which help customers quickly find what they’re looking for. You could also consider including buttons for shipping options, FAQs and background on your company using a secondary menu at the bottom each page.
Also, it’s important to check your links on a regularly to make sure they all work, or use a program similar to Google Webmaster Tools which can identify any 404 errors. These broken links not only prevent visitors from completing their orders, it can also give the message that you don’t care about your business.
4. Newsletter sign-up box: One of the most effective ways to encourage customer loyalty is with a regular, content-rich newsletter. Simply put a signup box on the pages of your website and offer incentives, such as a discount on a future purchase to anyone who submits his or her email address and details. Using services such as Mailchimp makes it very simply to do this.
5. Social media: Why not help customers keep in touch by providing links to your social media accounts right on your homepage. It’s important you use recognizable icons linked to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn to stop any confusion. You can also setup feed widgets to encourage instant follow-up as well as social media sharing.