Websites That Really Work
At Northern Exposure we create user-friendly websites that really work. We pride ourselves on providing a fast, friendly, no nonsense service encompassing affordable website design, basic search engine optimisation (SEO), internet marketing and social media integration.
We have a strong background in design, marketing and promotions and are confident that we will find the right solution for your business. We believe small businesses have a personality, flavour and a sensibility that big businesses can’t match. And when it comes to what you put on your website don’t be afraid to tout your smallness.
Whatever size or industry your business is this blog should help provide some vital information and a checklist to guide you through the often needlessly complicated world of web design. As with anything research and preparation is key to the success of any project and embarking on a web design project needs some clear thinking way before the creative excitement takes hold.
10 things customers want to know from a website.
01. How your business is unique?
“Who are you?” Answer this question as interestingly and compellingly (and honestly) as possible. How do you stand out from the crowd? This includes outlining your expertise, years of experience and any unique attributes that set you apart from competitors.
By answering this question you’re also addressing why someone should buy your goods or services and not someone else’s. Don’t go over board though, try to be as concise as possible.
02. Make it clear what you actually do.
Ronseal’s original advertising slogan ‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’ was so successful it fast became a common idiomatic phrase. Make sure your website (your tin) says exactly what you do, many sites don’t actually do this effectively. Make it a priority on your home page to provide at least general information about your products and/or services, with links to specifics on a products page.
Be transparent. Many businesses especially those offering services are concerned about divulging too much information about their offerings, for competitive reasons. It’s wrong to think that consumers will have no reason to contact you by phone if they get all they need from your website.
You must give potential customers enough info to make a buying decision. Consumers will not contact a company for the missing product information–they’ll just move on to a competitor.
03. Contact information; phone number & physical location.
Lots of companies are too vague about their location. Some think if their business is online then there’s no need to publish an address or phone number. Home-based businesses worry that giving a street address or hometown will somehow hinder them. It doesn’t. It actually builds credibility and trust with consumers. It makes you real.
04. Third-party validation.
Testimonials, client lists, case studies, awards and recognition you’ve received plus any positive news articles should be shown. Potential customers want to read other people’s experiences, which further builds trust. One major way of gaining a potential client’s trust is to have a client list. If you’ve got some well-known customers, get their permission first and then feature them on a page.
Validation can be bolstered on your social networking sites and on blogs, especially those serving your industry. It’s also great for SEO.
05. Secure Socket Layer (SSL).
SSL is an encryption system that helps protect the privacy of data exchanged between a customer and a website. If you have an e-commerce site that takes credit card information, customers want to know that their sensitive data is encrypted. Get SSL if you don’t have it. If you do, let customers know that and about any other safeguards you proactively take.
06. Ease of use and navigation.
Web design should look good but the difference between art and design is that design is meant to be functional. If people can’t navigate your site, no matter how visually pleasing it is then they can’t buy your products or services.
At Product we believe that crisp, clean, and easy to navigate sites not only look good but helps consumers make decisions quicker about you as a business. As part of your pre and post research, study traffic and usage patterns and adjust your site based on what visitors are coming for.
07. Clear guidance on your processes.
Everyone likes to know what’s going on. Let your customers know, step-by-step, important things such as how to order, where to go and what to do should something happen out of the ordinary – especially if your business relies on delivering your products.
Make your postage/shipping costs and procedures visible before purchasing and how to get status reports. Also try and outline how you handle complaints and problems, return procedures and whether you have a money-back guarantee. One of the best way to do this less obviously is to have a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page or separate “how to order” page.
Encourage feedback about your products and services, your ordering process and your site in general, by providing a feedback mechanism–either feedback forms or e-mail links. Not every small business prefers to offer this, in some cases because of resource constraints. Look at how and what feedback to gather and consider offering an incentive or perk to the customer.
09. Clear calls to action.
Customers want signs, icons or buttons in order to act. “Buy now” or “Sign up for our newsletter” or “Click here for more information.” These are all clear calls to action that enable you to speed up a consumers buying decision. If you have a consumer there, this is the time to grab them! Add a special offer or a freebie and you’re really going to get them clicking.
010. Fuel your website constantly.
Don’t let your website run to empty. Keep in mind the following aspects: Design. Does it look and act like my client expects? Content. Does the site provide the information my clients are looking for? SEO. Will clients be able to find my site once we make it live? Future Additions – Have I adequately planned ahead so that I don’t have to waste time interfacing the new features with existing ones.
Technology is ever changing and hopefully your business is keeping up. Product knows this and uses the right technology from the outset. You need a plan to update, maintain and improve your website on a monthly if not weekly basis. Ask yourself, “How is my target audience changing, and how can I quickly adapt to their needs?”
Websites that really work.
We hope you found this blog helpful? If you’d like a chat about how Northern Exposure could help you with a new website project or rescue it from disaster give us a call on 07825 300029 or via Email firstname.lastname@example.org