Your website is the heart of your business. It's where people go to find your product or service, get in touch with you, or just find out more about your company. It's easy to take a fire-and-forget approach to your website: just put up an About page, some contact information, and call it a day. But whether you maintain a bare-bones presence or run a thriving web shop, there are ways to provide more utility to your visitors and keep them coming back for more.
Make it Fast
Attention is the currency of the Internet, and it's in shorter supply than ever before. Many visitors will only give your website a few seconds before they give up and move on, so it's on you to make those precious seconds count.
A slow-loading website can cost you a lot in the long run, so make sure to keep your design lean, mean, and focused. Analyze your website speed and find out where you can make adjustments. Consider ditching any plugins you can't live without. And don't just think of speed in terms of load time -- make sure to keep your copy tight and concise as well.
Infographics and Videos
Your company website is so much more than just a placeholder for your contact info. It's an opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with visitors. Infographics and videos are a great way to add utility to your website. An amusing instructional video or information-rich graphic is useful, engaging, and (when done right) highly shareable. It's a great way to increase your visibility on social media or search engine results without delivering a sales pitch. And with free tools available for making infographics, you don't necessarily have to be (or hire) an expert.
Your website also has the potential to be a great communications tool. Websites often work best when they engage visitors and become a two-way street rather than a vehicle for sales copy. Here are a few ways to go about this:
- Offer a newsletter. It's common to hear "email is dead," but plenty of website visitors still use email on a daily basis. A newsletter can help you cultivate a relationship with customers by offering deals, informing readers about new products or services, or just letting them know what's happening in your field.
- Add a blog. A blog is another great tool for sharing expertise, advice, and timely topics of conversation with your visitors. A frequently updated blog will also give you an edge in terms of search results.
- Write a Book. Best of all, blog posts can be consolidated into print books and sold on your website to provide another source of revenue and exposure for your company.
- Leverage Social Media. Make sure your website points out where to find you on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. A healthy, active social media presence is every bit as good as a newsletter or blog, if not better. Social media tools like Hootsuite can help you organize your social media broadcasts across multiple platforms.
Add Incentives to Your Shop
Does your website feature a shop where customers can purchase goods? Do everything you can to keep it engaging for your customers. Add a referral or loyalty program to keep visitors coming back. Offer coupons, one-time deals, or other exclusives to reward frequent returns to your website. Install a helpdesk bot to help handle customer issues without adding undue burden to your staff.
Implement Responsive, Accessible Design
One element of design many companies overlook is accessibility and responsiveness. By now, most designers know a responsive, mobile-friendly design is a must to attract mobile visitors. From your front page to your shop, your entire site should be built for mobile access. But how friendly is your site to the visually impaired or those with disabilities? If you haven't already, it might be time to re-evaluate your design and make it more inclusive for everyone.
In general, most business websites offer up a testimonial or two as an incentive for new visitors. But business owners shouldn't discount the value of a great testimonial. The right customer feedback can provide valuable information to new or prospective customers: did your company solve the problem? Were they friendly and professional? Did they address the customer's concerns? If you have testimonials like these on hand, they're gold. Put them front and center on your website. It's not bragging -- it's letting new visitors know how you do business.
Repeat business and loyalty is one of the lynchpins of a successful business. With some work and finesse, you can turn your website into a powerful tool to not only attract new customers, but keep the ones you have coming back for more -- and recommending your business to others.