How do you know if you have a good business website?

After 11 years of building websites for businesses I have some insight into what consumers want from your online offering.

When a consumer comes to your business website they are usually looking for a solution to their problem and they want to know if you are the right business to solve that problem.

Whether they realise it or not, the consumer has a ‘hidden’ tick list of requirements that need to be satisfied before they will commit to that all important phone call or email to you.

Requirement number 1: How do I feel about this business based on the first 10 seconds on their website. This is all about first visual impressions so the quality of design better be high. Your home page needs to look sharp, accessible, clearly laid out without large reams of narrative text. The colour palette and logo need to provide comfort and the images need to present an instant resonance. In short the consumer needs to feel ‘these people know what they’re doing’ and ‘I’m in the right place.’

Requirement number 2: Does this business deliver what I am looking for? This is best answered by clean and clear headlines, bullet points and graphics that present what you believe to be the main products or services that a consumer is looking for. One of the main failings I see on business websites is business owners failing to recognise the problems their audience has and failing to provide a clear solution on their home page.

Requirement number 3: Ok so far so good. The consumer thinks you have credibility and you say you do what they need, but now it’s time to prove it. Case studies, examples of recent projects and meaningful testimonials are important trust factors in bringing comfort to the consumer that you have delivered before and everyone came away happy.

Requirement number 4: It’s important that your website is not a marvel of style over substance. There needs to be detailed information on the other pages or blog posts of your site and they need to be clearly sign posted from the home page. Don’t rush and do a thorough job. Deliver valuable detailed information to the consumer.

Requirement number 5: Why you? Let’s say the consumer has looked at 6 websites and they are all scoring well on requirements 1 to 4. Our consumer may be looking for something more to decide which company to contact. It’s time to provide something about yourself or your services that sets you apart. Warning, promoting yourself as ‘cheaper’ than everyone else is usually a bad idea. You need to get creative here. It could be that you offer some free up front value or after sales support. It could be that you offer a package of products that solve further problems for your consumer.

Requirement number 6: They are on-board but not yet signed up. Make it easy for the consumer to make the next step. It might be a sign up to your mailing list or an email but it should be clear and obvious how to connect with you. I often put the email and phone number in the menu header which is ‘sticky’ and therefore always on show to the consumer as they scroll down the web pages.

To conclude it’s worth testing these 6 requirements against your own website. I’m sure you will find something you can improve on your site today.

An original article by David Taylor, Director at Webmedia