Create a website that shows your customers the type of business you want to be. While getting elbow-deep in your site can feel intimidating and exciting, it’s much easier than you’d expect. Follow a few rules to ensure your customers keep returning to your site—and telling all their friends.
1. Create a Sales Statement
Even if you aren’t selling a product, you are still selling a service or content. If you don’t have a sales pitch, elevator statement or mission, find one. If you don’t understand your products or your services, your customers will wander around your website, confused. Tell your customers why your company or website is better than your competitors’ offerings, and they will flock to your site. Just make sure you substantially back up your claims; if you don’t deliver what you promise, your customers will abandon you as fast as they found you.
2. Know Your Brand
Your website should reflect your brand. If you’re selling baby clothes, you might want to rethink the design choice of dark colors or a mahogany background. Create a website that reflects who you want your customers to be—not who you are. Use fonts, colors and images that elevate this image, and your customers won’t need to read your site to understand your brand.
3. Create an Easy-to-Use Layout
Ensure your customers can find everything they need on your website—in under 30 seconds. There are several ways you can make your website more user-friendly. First, create an easy-to-use menu. From there, your customers can navigate where they need to go. Create a most-used links column. Create buttons on your homepage with product categories, like “furniture”, “wall hangings”, “kitchen ware” and other easy-to-read tags. Suggest more products based on the products your customers like. You want people to spend a huge amount of time on your website, but that time should be spent happily browsing, not frustrated over finding what they want.
4. Choose an E-commerce Platform
One of the simplest yet most complicated parts of building your website is choosing an e-commerce platform. This is the way your customers will pay for their services and products. If you’re selling your line of candles, you’ll want to offer your customers several ways to pay, like Paypal or through a credit card company, like Visa or Mastercard. If you’re not selling a physical product, you’ll want to consider how your website will generate revenue. Obviously, if you’re selling content, you won’t need to set up an e-commerce site. Simply start blogging or writing, and once you’ve created a strong readership, you can begin selling ad space.
5. Create Content
If you’re selling your recipes, information or other content, you’ll need to ensure your content stays consistent with your brand. Many personal blogs tend to fail because their readers don’t know what to expect from day to day. Ensure your readers understand what they’re signing up to read by creating an editorial calendar to help keep your site organized. If you’re all about low-carb recipes, blog about low-carb substitutions on Mondays, restaurant recipe fakes on Tuesday, success stories on Wednesdays and a reader’s choice on Thursdays. Letting your readers know what’s coming will give them confidence in your brand.
6. Use Visuals
Don’t allow your website to look visually boring. On the other hand, don’t allow it to look overly stimulating either. If your budget is low, use a website like Fiver to pay someone to create a logo for your brand. Post well-lit photos of the products on your site. Include photos with every recipe you post. Yet don’t allow your photos to overwhelm your visitors. Make sure your website can be downloaded by visitors; websites that take too long to load will lose visitors simply because no one has the time to sit around and wait for that photo of your half-baked casserole. Upload videos onto your website. Make your website sing to your brand, and make your site look as exciting as you know your brand to be.
7. Deliver What You Sell
If you’re website totes vegan leather shoes made by women in Africa, then sell this type of product. Don’t send anything less than what you sell. Also, keep your brand consistent. People who buy vegan leather totes that are responsibly sourced might not be interested in leather shoes. If you offer a money-back guarantee on your products, and 100 visitors want their money back, you need to honor your policy. Happy customers don’t always relay their happiness to businesses and review sites, but unhappy customers will do so trifold. Create brand loyalty by always standing behind your products and services.
8. Follow Up
Never go radio silent with your customers. Send emails and newsletters to let them know about your new products, services and offerings. Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and other social media to ensure they can share their happy experiences with all their friends. Create a blog to keep them coming back for more. If you’re not reminding your customers you still exist, they may have already forgotten about you.
9. Stay True to Your Customers and Yourself
Though it’s easy to be swayed by companies who promise the next big thing, staying genuine to your brand and marketing strategy is the best way to show your customers that you are confident in your product. Be honest with your customers. Ask them for feedback. What did the love about their experience? Where did they see room for improvement? Prove to each and every one of your customers that you care about their feedback and the success of your business. This will keep you out of the weeds of the one-hit wonders.
To create a website you need time, patience, dedication and often money. Through following a few simple rules, your website doesn’t need to take over your life or all your spare time. No matter whether you’re selling stylish shoes or blogging about the next big thing in electronics, your website can reflect both you and your brand in just a few hours.