Website Best Practices: Why Simply Having One Is Not Enough

man browsing website on laptop

Don't leave your customers hanging with a bad online experience. Use these six strategic website tips to help reach your ideal clients online.

When potential clients need a product or service, we all know where they turn: to the almighty Google. These days, whether someone’s looking for a local daycare, hair salon, or dentist, consumers go through a whole online vetting process that occurs within a few minutes – but makes all the difference in their decision-making. The journey often looks like this: checking customer reviews to see what others say about you, visiting your website, and if it’s accessible, taking a look at your social media pages. They’ll complete this entire process without ever visiting your actual store!

Thanks to digital, customer journeys have totally evolved. So we’ve picked up some useful tips on how to successfully manage a digital presence. At this point, no business can afford to ignore its digital reputation and strategy. And your website is arguably the most important factor in the mix. Your website offers a great opportunity for SEO (search engine optimization) so you’ll rank highest for certain phrases, but it also educates potential clients on the services you provide. Think of your website as your business’s first impression… because it so often is.

As you can see (well, read), there are many pros to having a great website. So what’s the cost of having a weak website?

Consider this:

After a poor user experience on a website, 89% of customers will go straight to a competitor’s site instead.

There are many things that can add up to a great user experience if done right. But likewise, these same things could leave customers feeling frustrated or questioning your legitimacy. Let’s dive into these problem areas and how to fix them!

Six Ways Your Website May Be Hurting Your Business

Security

Check out your domain – does it begin with HTTP or HTTPS? User information is easily stolen on HTTP domains due to a lack of encryption. HTTPS domains, on the other hand, provide a secure and encrypted connection. These domains block hackers from accessing data. Not only does an HTTPS domain provide a secure connection, but it also boosts your ranking on Google. And if you think customers don’t consider this, think again! Savvy shoppers now know to look for the “S.”

Imagery

Although stock photos can be used in a pinch or as a last resort, they’ll never be able to convey anything unique about your brand identity. Investing in good-quality images for your business can have an immediate impact by showing a customer what your brand is all about and what type of experience they will have if they decide to go with you. When a customer visits your website, they should be able to tell the quality of your work and what makes you stand out from the competition – and photos are definitely worth a thousand words! Make the time and investment to work with a local professional photographer. Take a look at their portfolio and talk with them to see if they can capture the right look for your brand. Then use those photos on your website and social media accounts to put your best brand forward.

Pro tip: Including alt-tags in all your images boosts your SEO. Need additional help with things like SEO and alt-tags? Reach out to our digital marketing experts today!

Navigation

The navigation bar (commonly referred to as the menu bar) on a website is typically the first thing seen. Use that real estate wisely. Think about what pages lead to conversion. A contact form, call button, or shop page are key depending on your service and products, so make sure customers can find these quickly. We recommend the ‘less is more’ approach when it comes to top-of-page navigation. Once you’ve identified three or four pages you want to feature up top, include links to any additional pages at the bottom navigation bar (also known as the footer menu). Keep it simple to avoid overwhelming your website visitors. Through button placement, we are telling visitors where to go. They shouldn’t have to guess.

Read more on website navigation here!

Call To Action

You need a call to action (CTA) button on your site. CTAs nudge your website visitors to take the action you desire most. Whether it’s scheduling an appointment, downloading a free pdf guide, or giving you a call, define the action. If you don’t, your customers will simply click away. Here’s what’s most important: Narrow down your wishlist of actions from customers to just ONE main call to action. If you are asking website visitors to do multiple things, they will likely do none of them.

Your CTA button must be VISIBLE and it must be CONSISTENT. Unlike your stingy approach (less is more) to the navigation bar, your CTA button should be all across your site pages and easy to see – more is more!

Fresh Content

Regular updates to the copy on your site help boost your SEO rankings. Google likes to see that you have new images, links, and content... and rewards you for it. But more simply, you need to make sure your information is kept up to date and accurate. If you haven’t updated your business website in 10 years, would it be as strong as it is today? Would even one page still be accurate? We doubt it.

Of course, standard information like your phone number, contact information, and location should always be accurate, as those things don’t tend to change over time. So what kind of content should you be adding or changing? Blog posts, for one! Regularly posting blogs is highly recommended to boost your SEO not only because any copy changes will trigger Google to re-evaluate your content for ranking purposes, but blog posts are the perfect vessel for keyword-specific (and keyword-heavy) content. Consistently adding new pages to your website and refreshing the content you have is a great way to connect with your customers.

Simplicity

Check to make sure your website is mobile-friendly and responsive. Most websites (including your competitors’) are, and if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re losing customers the second your site won’t pull up on their phone. When in doubt over whether your website navigation is too cluttered, stick with a clean, minimalist design to help your customers see exactly what they need to see – no more, no less.

We’re here to help your business win. Take some of these tips and incorporate them into your overall digital marketing strategy to reach your ideal clients. And if you need some help with web design, our N2DIGITAL team is standing by.