You only get one chance to make a first impression and many businesses
today make that first impression on the web
The Internet is a great way to introduce potential customers to your products
and services. Brochures and telephone calls are just too expensive compared
to email and web pages. But if your website doesn’t impress your customers,
the message you send them can have an adverse effect on your business relationships.
Just like you would not send out marketing literature that doesn’t look good, you
should not have a bad looking website. And it’s not just the looks, but functionality
counts as well. Of course every business is different, but below are some
of the key components and features for most corporate web site. Click on each topic
for more information.
The first page or home page of your site should tell your
customers why they should do business with you. The message should be short,
but complete. You can place images of some of the products you sell on it
to give the customer a good idea of what you offer. Remember the cliché about
how a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, the web does pictures.
An ad rotator or a flash movie on your page can give the
viewer a lot of information without making him read a lot. It works just like
a television commercial.
If your target audience is a business,
try to stay away from audio. Many business computers don’t have speakers,
and even if they do the sound may disturb other people in the company.
If you sell products (on the web or not), you should provide
your customers with images, descriptions, and as much other information as you can.
If you have a lot of products, you should provide good search
capabilities. If you can, give them multiple ways to search for the same thing.
Maybe by size, color, keyword, part number, etc. Think of the questions your
customers ask on the phone, and provide an answer on your website.
If you are in the business of selling services, describe what you do
for the customer. Give them detailed information, but stay away from lengthy
text. Customers get bored reading.
Even if you try to tell your website visitors as much information as
possible, they will have questions you didn’t anticipate. Provide them with
a way to send you information via email or you can even store their questions and
comments in a database. I like the database approach better, because it’s
easier to save and analyze your customer’s requests.
If your purpose is to sell your products
on the web, the products you show on your site should have a buy now or add to cart
button. After adding an item to the virtual shopping cart, your customer should
be able to keep shopping or go to the checkout page. You should have a section
on your page where the user can see what’s in the cart or at least how much he or
she has shopped so far.
page has a double purpose. It serves as an order sheet or invoice
and it enables your customers to pay for the merchandise they are
This is usually
organized into sections. Below are some examples:
Customer information such as their name and address.
A list of the products they are purchasing with the prices,
quantities, descriptions, etc.
A total section with the merchandise amount, shipping
charges, sales tax, discounts, etc.
section. This is where the customer selects the payment type and
completes the transaction. You should offer as many payment type
choices as possible. Credit cards, PayPal, Google, etc. If you
have customers who can pay via check when they call you on the
phone, you may want to offer them those same choices on the web.
Customers with open accounts might have a choice to charge their
purchases or pay for them with a credit card.
The registration page is for new customers
to tell you who they are and how to contact them. You may also include a section
for them to tell you what type of products or services they are interested in.
Don’t ask them for too much information. Most people are not patient enough
to fill out more than a few items.
Registered users should be able to
login to your site. This enables you to keep track of returning visitors and
you can also customize the content for them.
Make sure you have enough content
available on your site that does not require a login. Many people are hesitant
to give you their contact information unless they know they are interested in what
you are offering.
This is a section of your site that
is not available to regular visitors. You or your employees can use these
pages to view data the regular users have entered and to make changes to your site.
If every time a user visits your site
they see the same thing, they will eventually lose interest and stop visiting.
You don’t have to completely re-do your site all the time, but be sure that your
design allows for fairly easy content updates.
If you use a software program to sell
your products and services in the office or store, you should look into being able
to upload the item information to your site without having to re-key it. Many
companies end up with outdated web sites because it takes too much time to re-enter
everything on the web.
Search engines such as Google and
Yahoo scan the Internet and they index what they find. Potential customers
who don’t know where to get the products or services they need search for them on
these sites. Meta Tags are sections in your site which are not visible to
your users, but are used by the search engines to figure out which search keywords
should point people to your site. Including the right Meta Tags in your
site is like being in the right listing in the yellow pages.
tell us your goals and we will do our best to guide you in the right direction.
We can custom design a website for you with all the features and capabilities described
above. You don’t even need to do it all at once. You can start small
with your minimum requirements and add more content over time. Click on the image
below and tell us about your project.