When you’re putting together your business plan for your startup, how important is it that you have the look and feel of your larger, more established competitors? Very important according to some small business professionals and this is first seen in your website.
In the 21st century your store front is often your website so a lot of time, effort and a reasonable amount financial resources should go in to this area but does that mean that it has to be the picture of glitz and glamor? Not according to web experts. Instead, it is more important that visitors can find what you want them to see quickly. In fact, within seconds. If you want them to see your product, make sure there’s a prominent link. Also make sure that when it’s time to make the sale, the process your customer uses to do this is easy and efficient.
How easy is it for your users to get in touch with you through your website? Everybody has seen the “contact us” link on websites and although it may be tempting to not fit in to the mold, a “contact us” button in a very clear place is what visitors to your site will look for when they want to initiate contact.
On this form, don’t include unnecessary fields. If you don’t have a reason to have their birthday, don’t ask for it. The longer the form, the less likely a user is to complete it. Don’t forget to ask their permission to include them on your mailing list. Even if you don’t have one right now, you will probably want one later.
Finally, put your site through extensive testing. Send the link to as many trusted family and friends as you can and have them give you any comments and feedback they have on it. Ask them to focus on the negatives and get as picky as possible. Then, put together a group of people you don’t know to try it and ask the same thing. Be very receptive to criticism and don’t get defensive. If they don’t seem to “get it”, although it’s disheartening, it’s valuable information to have. Make changes based on their comments.
Experts say that possibly the largest mistake made when designing a website is to spend too much time trying to make it look good instead of making it functional and easy to use. Studies show that sites should look professional but a high dollar look isn’t going to convert customers as much as a clear, concise layout. Unless you’re starting a web design company, your website doesn’t have to be the luxury car of sites.
Even if you don’t have the experience, the who’s who of clientele, or the big contracts, you can’t allow potential customers to see that. Your public appearance needs to be one of an established professional business and that comes from your storefront, regardless of if it’s brick and mortar or cyber. Allow enough money in your business plan present a professional appearance all the time.