Every business should have a website. No excuses. In contrast, there are one or two alternatives for those who do not want to put effort into a website, such as a Facebook page, nothing more essential nor better for your business than having a great website. It is something you have complete control over, that can be whatever you want it to be, but you can provide a substantially more informative, rich and engaging prospect experience and leverage the power of search engine traffic (e.g. from Google). You cannot do this with a Facebook or LinkedIn page.
If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Compromising will cost you big time.
Being in the business we are, TFA has built hundreds of websites for clients over the years. Today, it is as true as it was 10-15 years ago that we see some absolute horror stories of websites with clients coming to us baffled as to why they get no business through it. If you have a website, then it should be generating inbound business enquiries for you, and if it is not, there is a major problem with it.
The most common problem we encounter is it being done as cheaply as possible, often through services such as Yell, Wix, GoDaddy or Ionos. My advice to any business thinking of using these services is that it should be a last resort; it will cost you way more in the long run in ongoing fees and lost business from the website simply being poor.
You generally get what you pay for in this world, and the way these businesses work is to tie you into a cheap website contract made to a recycled template in 1-2 hours by a team-based offshore. You then have ongoing fees, never own it and are very much “tied in” to a poor quality site backed by an often (and I do hear this a lot) dreadful service. Even worse, Wix (as an example) has been guilty of their websites generating ‘protected code’ that users cannot edit and that Google cannot index either. That means pages do not get any search traffic; the worst possible start for your business online.
Would you open a business in a shed and invite customers to come and see you? I doubt it, yet many business owners with poor websites fail to realise that a badly-made website is the same principle but with far wider exposure. Nothing stops prospects from doing business with you like a website that says, “this is a cheapskate business with low standards”. Customer perception is everything, and it is better to have no website than a bad one doing you harm.
Set aside what you can afford to have a good website built by professionals. It is better to have a small website of one or two pages that reads and looks excellent versus a website of 10+ pages that looks bad. Quality over quantity; you can always add to it later.
What’s most important in creating a website?
The essential aspect of any website is the visual experience, followed by the quality and effectiveness of the content (text), then by the user experience/journey. The technical build, whilst also important, is last on the list. You should treat your website as you would a classic, printed brochure. If it looks and reads great, then it will work for you. A technically brilliant website with a poor design and reams of dull copy/text will be as ineffective as one built by an amateur.
With this in mind, I would advise you to do your research and focus on what your customers want from a website like yours and what your competitors’ sites do well. Except for an eCommerce website that sells products directly from the site where you are selling a service, your goal is not to make your website close the deal but to entice and start a conversation. Focus on keeping content short, to the point and 70/30 visual to text. People generally do not go to websites to read lots of text but to get a ‘feel’ for the company to answer basic questions about their needs and what you can offer.
Generally speaking, an optimal ‘profile’ website will be between 4-8 pages and achieve the following in the Success Checklist…
The website success checklist.
If you make sure your website does the following, then you are off to a winning start:
1. A strong brand and design style.
Make sure you have a strong logo and design style that is individual, eye-catching and impressive within 2 seconds of landing on your site.
2. A clear, focused and straightforward page structure.
If in doubt, leave it out. As I said earlier, it is better to have fewer pages that are well designed and created than too many. Generally, you will want:
- A landing/home page summarises your business offering and brand difference in 5-10 seconds.
- A company profile and background that shows you are established and knowledgeable.
- Information on your products and services.
- Supporting evidence of your experience and ability to deliver case studies, testimonials, accreditations and awards.
- A page with your contact information, an active map/Google My Business profile link and links to your social media pages.
- A blog page… but only if you update it regularly with helpful and valuable content; otherwise, leave it out.
3. Well written, concise and compelling copy.
Excellent copy (text) sells. It is bad news if a website has poorly written, dull, overly-lengthy copy. Keep it short and punchy, and work hard to make the style convey the character and spirit of your business and what it is like dealing with you.
4. A great user experience that delivers conversions/enquiries.
All websites should have Google Analytics installed. This provides a goldmine of data on how many people visit your site, where they come from (e.g. Facebook, Google Search, advertising), how long they spent on your site, which pages they viewed, etc.
Your two biggest killers are no traffic and Bounce Rate. If you have built a website and nobody finds it or goes to it, you have a big problem. Equally, if you are getting some good traffic to it (visitor numbers) but seeing no enquiries and a high Bounce Rate, you have a problem. It means people are getting to your site and then leaving it again quickly.
5. Technical excellence in the way pages are built and coded with SEO in mind.
A Wix website will typically experience more severe problems within a year or two as updates are made to devices, operating systems and Internet browsers. These sites break far quicker than those coded by experts. SEO is also crucial to generating traffic, and every page should be created with ‘best practice’ underpinning it. Also, it is essential to note that SEO is an ongoing optimisation process. It is crucial to lay the right foundations for the best possible start in the search-engine world.
There is a lot to get right with any website, even a small one. You can see the various specialist skills needed to make it work: design, copywriting, marketing strategy, technical build/coding, SEO.
If you can, always employ the services of a professional web development agency such as TFA. Yes, it will cost you a fair bit more at the start, but it is one of your most important business investments. Get a conversation started with our excellent website design team today.