by Lina Martinez

Your website is the online representation of your business- it’s the first thing that most customers will ever see of your business and so it needs to make the right impression. Lazily done, amateur or spammy looking sites can hugely deter people and if yours is any of those things you could be putting off potential customers before they’ve even got a foot in the door. Building a website is a huge task, it takes a lot of know how and skill and so is always something that’s worth investing in and paying a professional for. They can ensure they’re ticking all of the following boxes.

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Fast and Reliable

First and foremost, your website should be both fast and reliable. It doesn't matter how good everything else is, consumers are impatient and we live in an age of instant gratification. Research into website loading speeds has shown that it takes just three seconds for a potential customer to click away from a site if it’s not loading or is loading incorrectly- and it could put them off so badly that they’d never come back. With so much competition in business, it’s so easy for your customer to go and shop with someone else if your store doesn’t meet their standards so you don’t want to be putting people off before they’ve even had chance to see what you’re about. Page errors look spammy and unprofessional, and anything that’s making your site glitch or slow down should be addressed as matter of urgency.

Easy to Understand

Good navigation with menu bars and sub menus that are organised and make sense are crucial. Some business owners make the mistake of choosing style over substance, but an unpredictable website will be a hindrance and will simply put people off. You need a search bar so it’s easy to find information that’s not shown on the main page, and a site that flows well. An experienced web designer will be able to achieve this, don’t try and skimp here and save costs as you will pay for it with reduced profits.

Beautiful Imagery

The text is important on your website, its whole purpose is to give people more information about your business, products or services. But stunning images are what will grab their attention and make them want to find out more. Hire a professional photographer to take images for your website, avoid generic and boring stock images, or amateur pictures which will do nothing but bring down the look of your site. While great images of your stock are important if you’re selling products, don’t overlook the images on your main site too to go alongside your text and information.

Clear Contact Details

Having contact details on your site is so important. Those who have never shopped with you before might want to verify your details to ensure you’re not a scam, and also to make sure they can easily get in contact with you if something happens to go wrong with their transaction. You need a physical address, a business phone number and a professional email address (so for example, ‘support@yourbusinessname.com’ instead of ‘yourbusiness name@gmail.com’ or any other regular email provider. Make sure your contact details are clear to see on your main page, you could have a ‘contact’ tab in your menu bar with information about how to get in touch. Features like live chat and social media chat are also useful and can put people’s mind at ease when shopping with you for the first time.

A Blog

The benefits of blogging for business have been very well established, if you’re still not on board then it’s time to make a change. Blog sites like Wordpress can easily be integrated into your website- as with contact details you could have a ‘blog’ tab in your menu bar of your home page. A blog can help to drive more traffic to your site, because every time you write a post it’s another indexed page that’s being added to your site. More pages means more opportunity to show up in search engines, and therefore more organic traffic. In general, websites are be quite static with their pages and information so a blog can give you lots of new pages which search engines spiders can crawl. As long as the information is well written and unique, it will help to rank your site higher in search engine listings. Another benefit are that blog posts are also very share-friendly across social media meaning this is cheap and quick way to spread the word about your business to lots of potential customers.