Now, before you start pouring time, effort and money into getting people to your website, you need to make sure you have a website worth visiting.
A good site will have a few very basic things on it, which are essential for almost every business. I wouldn’t bother sending people to your site before you have these basic things under control.
Product information – Make sure you describe your key products – and as many of your other products as possible. Get your friends or family to read your product pages and ask them if there is enough information there for them to make a purchase decision. You might not realise that you are assuming some level of knowledge from your audience. Ensure they have enough information to make informed decisions, or that you can encourage them to contact you for that information.
Contact information – Ensure that people know how to contact you , and give them more than one method to choose from.
- If you have an online form, make sure you aren’t making too many fields ‘essential’.
- If you are providing an email address, make sure people can see it, not just a click on to open up their email program (which won’t work for everyone).
- Have a reliable phone number – it is usually best to have one that is unique to the website, but that isn’t always possible
- If you have stores, make sure you include an address, directions or map if possible, and a unique phone number for each location.
Although not essential, an About Us page is important to garner trust from potential clients. This page helps them see who you are, what kind of company you are, and whether you match the kind of company they want to do business with. People might want to know the size, age and history of your business. They might like to see your key personnel. An About Us page helps build a relationship with a client before you even meet them, because they are learning about you.
Finally, you want to check that all your pages are looking good.
- Do a thorough test of your site to make sure all your links are working.
- View your site in the major browsers (IE, FireFox, Google, etc), to ensure that people using different browsers are seeing your site as you want them to
- Make sure your images aren’t too big and delaying loading
- Install redirects where necessary so people won’t just see blank pages and give up
These are the very basics of what your site should have before you bother trying to get people to it. In a future post we will go into more detail about the finer aspects of conversion design – a discipline which is focussed on helping people do what you want them to do on your site.
Web analytics is an important thing to set up as early as possible. You need to do this to be able to measure any effects from your marketing campaigns. It will tell you visits, time spent on site, what terms people are coming from, and much more.
However, i have previously written quite a bit on web analytics, so I will just refer to it here as an important thing to do, and you can go and read these earlier posts (Set up and After set up) from the analytics series for more information.