August 21, 2014
Having a website improves your customer’s experience by helping them figure out what to expect from your company. Customers are moving away from the traditional sources of company information and are doing their own research, especially for services that cost a lot of money.
A website is a small investment that often garners big returns. Hosting a website costs little, and there are many programs and services to help you customize your website to your business’s unique qualities. Building a website can be a very simple process and there are many tutorials available online for the beginner web designer.
What should I include on my website?
- A small biography of your company – this helps to build trust and lets the customers learn more about you before hiring you. Include memberships in any trade associations or organizations, and any awards or honors you have received, where you received your training, and how long you have been in the business.
- Pictures of your services – be sure to note what exactly the consumer is looking at and what part of the picture is your handiwork. For example, if you installed the windows of a house, include a caption that states the specifications of the window.
- Background information about your profession – this is especially helpful for professions that consumers don’t know very much about. Why are your services or products important? Why should consumers spend money on your product or services?
- The specific services or products your company offers, including brands, techniques, and materials. If possible, include links to the manufacturers or pictures of the product so that customers gain an idea of what the product or service might look like in their home. Be as specific as possible – remember, consumers are relying on you to give them quality, useful information! The more useful your website is, the more likely consumers are to use your services.
What are some design tips for building a website?
- Keep it simple. Customers want to see neat, clean, and easy-to-navigate designs. Avoid music, animations, and auto-playing videos whenever possible.
- Pick a color theme and stick to it throughout the website. For example, if your logo is green and blue, stay close to those colors and have a plain background. Avoid using pictures or brightly colored tiles as backgrounds. A solid color in a neutral shade, such as white or light brown, works best and avoids straining the eyes.
- Use a medium-sized, simple font. Good fonts include Ariel, Verdana, Times New Roman, and Helvetica. Avoid ‘cutesy’ fonts, as they do not look professional and can be hard to read. Use as much contrast as possible between the background and the font color so that it is easy to read: for example, if you have a white background, use a dark colored font like black or navy blue.
- Include navigation buttons on either the left side or the top of the page. This allows consumers to easily click through your website and avoid getting lost or frustrated.
- Avoid large blocks of text. Use bullet points and short paragraphs so that the consumer can quickly and easily find the information they are looking for. Instead of using a lot of superlative language to describe your company, stick to factual information, such what services you provide, how long you have been in business, and when you are available to perform work.
- Keep your website current. If you have a calendar of events, make sure that you update it on the first of every month, and ensure that your contact information is always up to date.
What about social media?
- Create pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Be sure to add pictures, your logo as the cover picture, and information about your company, just as you would on your main website.
- Make regular posts: a good rule of thumb is to post a status update at least once a week and at maximum twice a day.
- Avoid getting into arguments with other Facebook members, posting political opinions, or straying too far away from discussion of your products and services.
- Keep content fresh and updated. Add pictures, post articles about your profession, inform consumers about upcoming events, and mention any special discounts that your company is holding. You may want to post promotions on your Facebook or Twitter to encourage individuals to check your Facebook page regularly.
- Interact with your Facebook fans or Twitter followers: be polite and professional as you would in any other mode of interaction. Address customer’s concerns in a helpful and courteous way, and take consumer suggestions or comments seriously. Consumers who feel respected and acknowledged are more likely to utilize your services or buy your products because you have formed a personal connection with them.
- Consider your target audience when providing contact information. Younger consumers look for a lot of integration with the latest technology and expect a strong online presence, including multiple ways to connect online, such as a Facebook profile and a Twitter page. Older consumers may not be as comfortable with technology and may prefer to communicate with companies by phone or email. Multiple forms of contact means that every type of consumer can stay up-to-date with your company in a way that feels comfortable and natural to them.
What else can I do to improve my digital presence?
- Online advertising can help you reach more potential customers quickly and easily. Setting up ads is simple with programs such as Google Adwords.
- Some companies can assist you with search engine optimization, which helps your company stay in the first few listings of a search result page.
- Explore different social media websites in addition to the ones listed above, such as Pintrest, Tumblr, Instagram, and YouTube, finding the sites that work best for your company.
- Treat your online activities as just as crucial as your real-world practices. Remember that more and more individuals today are using the internet to research companies to work with: if you do not have an online presence, you are missing out on this crucial chance to gain someone’s business. While building a website and updating social media can seem challenging at first, with practice it will become an easy and simple way to keep your brand fresh and relevant.
Graphic By: Geralt / Pixabay