The web has allowed us to do an ever increasing amount of things online, like selling, trading, streaming content, and so much more. Its also provided small businesses a digital place to market themselves, which is active 24/7/365. Anybody can log on and check you out; people may want to see what your hours are, what kind of work you do and how well, they need contact info, etc. An effective website can increase your customer base, but an ineffective website could potentially have a negative effect.
Importance of a Website
87% of the population in the United States is connected to the internet. You’re missing out on a huge chunk of the market if you’re not on the web. A website can act as a marketing hub, displaying all business details, information about products, contact information, promotions, and any other vital information you need potential customers to know. The information you provide could lead to a visitor hiring you on. A website also gives your business a boost in credibility. Wouldn’t you be taken aback to find that a business you were considering hiring lacked a website? You wouldn’t know what you were getting into, and that would most likely have you check elsewhere. Businesses that have websites are much more credible, especially in this point in time, where internet usage is only increasing. Since pictures are worth a thousand words, a website can contain galleries of your products or services. If the work speaks for itself, potential customers may be intrigued enough to pick up the phone or drop a message. If you don’t think you need a website, consider how customers are missing out on finding you online, and how you’re missing out on potential business. In the end, it’s really the customers that you’re creating a website for, so have keep them in mind when evaluating your own site.
Making it Effective
It’s not enough to just simply have a website— it has to be effective so as to turn visiting potential customers into paying customers. There are general guidelines and principles you can employ to maximize the effectiveness of your site and have users take action. Hierarchy is a principle you can incorporate so it’s clear what the important elements are and what the secondary ones are. People read from left to right, and that’s how they scan websites as well, so positioning the important information on the left will make sure it gets seen. For example, putting the logo at the top left or center is common. It’s typical that clicking on the logo takes the user back to the home page. Incorporating white space assists in organizing the web page, making clear what each section contains. It allows the eye to take a rest and makes for a neat, open appearance. The principles of design can be used to structure the site. As in print design, it’s important to use no more than three typefaces and colors. Any more and the page can have a messy look. Abiding by typical conventions like the positioning of the logo, or positioning the navigation at the top, right, or left will make users feel somewhat familiar going in and will make perusing the site easier and intuitive. Maintaining consistency is vital in making a unified website.
Time for a Redesign?
Having no website means your missing out on all the potential, but having a bad website is more of a disservice since having a bad website makes the business look bad in turn. The web is evolving at an increasing pace; it can look obvious who didn’t bother to modernize. For example, Google Fonts allows the application of a wide variety of beautiful typefaces to fit the aesthetics of any kind of website. Foregoing this feature and sticking with typical web fonts will make the site look like it was made in the 90s. If you’re not at the top when people search for your business, that can be an indication that SEO is not up to standards. Improving content and internal linking structure can boost it. The biggest indication that it’s time for a redesign, however, is having a site that is not responsive. Responsive websites are websites that can scale depending on the size of the device. More than 20% of Google searches are being performed on a smartphone or tablet, and 1 in 4 exclusively access it from those devices. A desktop site is not meant to be viewed on a mobile device, and having to constantly manipulate the viewing area to see everything will get real annoying real fast. It can be frustrating enough for a user to check out a competitor instead.