Get the most out of your website
In the present market, as businesses feel the pinch, your website
should be viewed as ‘an employee' - it costs you to develop and run it,
so you must ensure that your company is getting the most from it. A
recent report by BT Business found that the vast majority of small
businesses are not using their websites effectively enough to attract
customers. One in six of the business web sites reviewed had no
e-commerce facility to sell to customers and just 11% maintained their
website every one to two days.
Here are ten tips to build and maintain a website that will help expand your business:
Make sure that your website is built properly, and that you either know
what you want, or are willing to spend time planning it with a
reputable web agency
The planing stage is by far the most important; once site build begins any changes can cause serious functionality problems. This is because a website is essentially a mass of interlinking threads, and if you change one thread it can have an effect on other threads. It is almost impossible for a web agency that has started build, to provide the resource to properly check all the possible outcomes from all the possible scenarios related to the changed sections at this stage.
2. Actively use your website
Simple things such as regularly updating content, ensuring links are relevant and working, and using good quality images will make for a more positive user experience. It may be worth hiring someone specifically to manage your website if it is considered a key part of the business. A website could be considered a living thing, or at the very least organic; the more it is used the more it will grow.
3. Don't rely on Search Engine Optimisation to paper over the cracks
Optimisation is an important consideration when planning the structure and design of your website, but shouldn't be used as a shortcut to improve a site's ranking if it hasn't been built well or is being used incorrectly. Also, you may well be paying out a great deal of cash for very little ROI, and some SEO techniques employed could result in your site being blacklisted by the search engines.
4. Test, test and test again
Get your friends to test the site, your family even. Thing is if you're building or working on a site you become accustomed to it, making it difficult to objectively assess usability and accessibility.
5. A website needs to be simple to navigate and interact with
You must make it as easy (and safe) as possible to use a website. There are so many good sites out there that a user will quickly switch off, and probably never return if it is not easy to navigate round your site.
6. Be realistic about monetisation
For instance, charging for membership is not necessarily the right commercial choice. Web literate people are used to being able to register on most sites for free, and could be put off. However, if you have a large membership/user base it will be more attractive to potential advertisers.
7. Know your audience
If you can categorise your audience as market segments, this will be attractive to and make it easier to secure advertising from relevant businesses or organisations. It will also enable you to make informed decisions about how to develop your site if you know your user-base.
8. Make sure that your site is designed well
Functionality is about how the site works, design is about look and feel. Remember that design is subjective, therefore someone will always dislike it. As long as design doesn't offend anyone, then you're doing OK.
9. If your website was built 3 years ago, you may need to accept the fact that you should have a new one
Technology changes rapidly, and an old site with poor functionality may dissuade users from paying you a visit.
10. Know when to stop planning, and start building
Websites are amazing, with an almost infinite range of possibilities. But if you keep on adding and changing things, you could have the worlds best website that no-one will ever see.
XT Motion have been a pleasure to work with, they had a raft of great design ideas that have worked to completely transform our website. They took the time to really understand our business and create a site that fulfils all our needs. We would happily recommend them to anyone wanting a really high quality website.
Business Development Manager
Our website is at the very heart of our business and everything about it, from looks to functionality, had to be right. XTmotion provided us with a comprehensive solution from concept through to launch, with continuous back-up and support. The level of service and professionalism has been second to none, and XTmotion provided us with the flexibility which we needed to get our business online to the tightest of deadlines.