For a Small business to succeed in their e-venture, there website is very important. It should be attractive to the surfers, must be able to keep the surfer there for a while and make the surfer do a purchase. Companies that do successful business have developed a stronger brand image with community feel: Visitors feel at home and wanted. The site is constantly changed with up to date news, comments and offers. These are mostly niche products and services. They work best on the Internet. No matter how the technology has developed, research has proven that still business to business transactions are likely to be more remunerative than business to consumer.
If you do decide to go online, resources must be found to make your site interesting and up to date to keep people coming back. Your website should be lively, provide information and encourage interactivity.
Objectives of a website for a small firm
- Should provide information (technical support)
- Sell produce (e-commerce)
- Ask for new names (e-mail enquiry form).
- Solve problems (“frequently asked questions” – FAQ).
- Provide a forum for debate (user groups).
- Encourage requests for catalogues and quotations.
- Show what’s in stock.
- Reach new customers around the world and communicate better with a firm’s existing customer base.
- Send direct e-mail offers out to a mailing list
For a website to be effective, good software skills and marketing skills of a designer must be combined. Remember that the site visitors are only a click away from losing you. The more you concentrate on niches; you are isolated and can benefit and increase the chance of you getting a good search engine ranking.
A basic website has a clear home page and contains all the relevant contact information with the banner headline at the top of the page emphasizing the main benefits of using your company. Visitor should not be left in doubt for about what to do. Your design contents must reflect what is different about your firm.
Traffic will be slow at first. But as most web business say, it will be likely to increase in three or four month’s time. You must give a feel of community, a closer relationship than is possible with cold off-the-page advertising. Because the Web is instant and available, customers expect swift response. If e-mails or deliveries are not made within a day or two the whole benefit of online trading will be lost.
- Avoid great slabs of text. Leave plenty of white space around text and pictures. Use a white or pale background to aid legibility. Text should not fill more than twice the width of the screen
- Home page is the first impression. So ‘click here to enter’ is best avoided. Design throughout should be simple and look easy to navigate. You should place full address and telephone numbers on the home page so that the visitor may not waste time clicking through to find them.
- Make obvious what to do next. Add a ‘go’, or ‘log-on’ or ‘submit’ button. ‘Search the site’ is also very useful when the website gets bigger.
- Avoid long questionnaires asking for detail that will only irritate. Ask only the basic contact information so that you can e-mail later with special offers. Think of simple forms that will encourage response.
- People find banner adds irritating and you will probably get no response for these.
- Avoid large graphic files that will take ages to download. Customers do not have time to wait hours for your site to download. A menu index in each page will be useful so that the user can navigate easily through your site.
- Build an interactive forum where visitors can comment on their problems and ask for advice.
- Include easy order and inquiry forms. Do not forget to say ‘your information will not be given to any third parties’ this will help overcome resistance.
- Links are important both from and to your site. Look for compatible but non competitive sites and e-mail them a request. Best sites will be your local trade associations, councils, buying groups clubs or special interest lobby.
- Your brand image must be carried throughout your website. Visitors are prepared to pay for if you have a well developed brand image.
- Install a visitor counter, so you can not only measure how many hits you get, but which pages are most popular. It will also show where the hits came from. A hidden counter is better in my opinion so your visitors will not be given unnecessary information.
Try these tips and see how they work. My best wishes.
Also Read Garry’s announcement about (An Update On My New Site launch)