Jan 4, 2012

Does Your Website Match Your Business?

Are the walls of your business overgrown with mildew and crusted with old paint? Does the receptionist’s desk proudly display an “Employee of the Year” photo of somebody who retired in 1997? Do you keep inventory space in the warehouse reserved for products you haven’t carried for the last five years?

I hope not.

Your place of business needs to make a good first impression when a potential customer walks in the door — that’s just business basics. Your company’s website should also make a good first impression. Even more importantly, it needs to accurately reflect what your company does and how you do it.

Investing in search engine optimization and other technologies to drive traffic is a great start, but unless your site’s content presents an up-to-date picture of your business, you’re going to have a tough time converting that traffic into dollars on the bottom line. Here are a few quick tips to help you make sure your website’s content always matches your business:

1. Keep your staff listings and contact information current. Customers value prompt and efficient communications, so inaccurate contact information on your website is a huge red flag. As a corollary, make sure the main contact form on your site functions correctly — and make sure that you have someone tasked with promptly responding to each inquiry. Automated responses won’t get the job done. They’re fine for letting customers know their email has been received, but they always should be quickly followed by a reply from a real, live employee. Depending on an auto-responder, then letting emails sit around unanswered for several days is a sure-fire formula for missing business opportunities.

2. Make sure your portfolio and/or projects pages are up to date. When potential customers visit your website, do you really want them to think your company hasn’t finished a job since 2008? Not likely. The project or portfolio pages are often among the few dynamic pages on many business websites. Failing to keep them updated makes your company appear inattentive, at the very least. It’s another big red flag for site visitors who may be looking to do business with you.

3. Present site visitors with a timely offer as motivation for them to contact you. A vanilla call to action (CTA) like “Contact Us Today” will no doubt get some response, but a CTA that offers something to the customer is even more attractive. Free consultations or estimates, seasonal discounts and special product offers are popular sales tools. Featuring a focused offer on your site can help motivate customer contacts. Of course, it needs to be kept current — leaving a Christmas special on your site until April won’t impress people. Also make sure that your staff is aware of the offer and is prepared to deliver on it when customers call.

Want to Learn More About the Website Development Process?

Learn How to Wreck Your Website Project in Four Easy Steps
Read 13 Reasons Not to Design By Committee
Find out How to Choose A Web Design Company

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