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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Websites: How to Improve the Effectiveness of Your Business Website

Written By: Carol Roth | No Comments

Everyone knows that nowadays, if you have a business, you need to have a website. And the importance of that website shouldn’t be undervalued, since it is accessible to anyone, all over the world, and at any time of day. It serves many purposes- it can be a store, a customer service center, a source of advertising, the embodiment of your company’s branding, message and more. So, to maximize the value of your business website, here are a few must-dos:

(1) Less is More
As a business owner, there is a real temptation to make your website design ultra-fancy and complicated, while including every intricate detail of information about your company and products/services that anyone could possibly ever want to know. But people are busier than ever (with shorter attention spans than ever!), so you want to make navigating your site as easy and efficient as possible. Edit your informational content down to just the “meat and potatoes” and really limit the purchase options available to the consumer too, so that they don’t get overwhelmed. If editing is not your strong suit, here is a great strategy: put yourself in the mindset of the site visitor, rather than the business owner, and think about what you want to see as a visitor, in terms of navigation options and content, when you go to another company’s website.

(2) Clear and Direct
Not only should your layout and content be clear, your contact and purchase information should be too. As a visitor and potential customer, there is nothing more frustrating than scavenging all over a site to find out exactly who to contact with questions (and still coming up empty!) or having to jump through 10 hoops just to find out where to make a purchase. Have all of your contact information easily accessible from any page, including all relevant social media links, so that in addition to contacting you, visitors can easily share the information on Facebook, Twitter, etc. And make sure to include active, working links to all of the places that sell your products (test them regularly!). If you have an online store, apply the “less is more” strategy and have a basic set-up with limited options. You can always rotate your items to figure out which options sell better and adjust accordingly.

(3) Ask and You Shall Receive
You need to figure out exactly what you want a site visitor to do- whether that’s to make a purchase, sign up for your mailing list, take advantage of a special offer, spread the word via social media, etc. Then, ask them directly to do whatever that next step is! It might seem basic, but so many businesses overlook this. Having this “call to action” right on your intro page and clearly visible on your website will dramatically improve the amount of people that do what you want them to.

(4) Keep it Fresh and Engaging
You need to provide reasons for visitors to keep coming back to your website, so if your most recent site update touts the benefits of joining “Friendster”, then you definitely need to re-think your web strategy! This doesn’t mean that you need to constantly redesign your layout, but you should be adding new content as often as possible. That content can be in the form of new offers, products, contests, blogs, videos, articles, services, links, etc. And keep it authentic and relevant to your company and brand, so that you can forge real connections and lasting relationships with your visitors.

This is just the tip of the iceberg as to what you should do for your business website. What other must-dos do you think should be implemented? Please share them below.

Thanks to Harlan Goerger of H. Goerger & Associates dba AskHG, Nicole Fende of Small Business Finance Forum, Teresa Cleveland of Your Success Clinic, Barry Moltz of Shafran Moltz Group, Myles Miller of LeadUP, Troy Harrison of SalesForce Solutions and
Susan Greene of
Freelance Copywriter for the inspiration behind some of these ideas.

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth