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Is My Website is Effective Enough?

Does it sometimes feel like you are shouting very loudly about your company and its products or services, but no one can actually hear? Is there a gap between laying out your vision clearly in your website, and actually getting visitors to stay long enough to read and understand what you’re trying to say?

You’re probably thinking this can’t be right – you’ve taken a lot of trouble to explain everything, and even a casual browser can’t fail to be curious or captivated. Think again.

There Is No Such Thing as a ‘Casual Browser’

Users today see the web as a repository for specific pieces of information. High bandwidth and always–on connections encourage "information snacking". This practice produces countless short online visits to get specific answers.

It’s the Age of Information Snacking!

The annual report into web habits by usability guru Jakob Nielson as early as 2008 showed that people are becoming much less patient. Instead of dawdling on websites many users want simply to reach a site quickly, complete a task and leave.

So how do you know when your current website is letting you and your company down? When you’re losing potential customers because of faults in design or lack of special features? It’s time to ask a few tough questions of your website to see if it is really effective.

Ten Tips on What Makes a Website Effective:

  1. Identify your target audience: What are their needs or points of interest? How can they be served? Is your current website targeting these people effectively? There are clear answers to all these questions and ways of analyzing patterns of use.

  2. Think about an overall theme for your website: Decide on the overall theme of the site based on the message and target audience. For example: humorous, professional, academic, family-based, or technical. Make the most of crucial first impressions. It's like the interior design of your place of business. It's what sets the first impression and mood for the visitor. It should be discrete and non-distracting but effective.

  3. Make sure the content is crisp: This is probably why most people come to your site – to read your content. Make sure the quality of content is uniformly high. It needs to be clear, up-to-date, and simple, and communicate what it needs to. Don't put in too much jargon and non-committal matter, be straight forward.

  4. Keep Search Engines in Mind: After all, the whole point is to direct people looking for a particular product or service to you first! Make sure your content is optimized for Search Engines so your visitors can find you easily. Be listed in as many business directories as possible.

  5. Build Trust and Credibility: A well-designed site that is free of careless errors is the first step to building trust. Adding customer testimonials, Press reviews, or news updates is important too. Avoid lies or half-truth's at all costs.

  6. Make Navigation Easy: Ease of navigation is as important as the content as that is how the visitor will find what he is looking for on your site. As a first generation site grows it often outgrows its navigation. A good redesign will help. The new design needs careful thought so that the visitor will not get lost or be more than two clicks away from what he/she needs.

  7. Keep It Fresh: Do your visitors feel they are visiting an active site? Sitting in a business’s waiting room with old newspapers, pealing paint and a 10 year old calendar might make you wonder about the competence of the business. In the same way, visiting a site that was last updated in 1996 is a sure way to lose visitor trust.

  8. Make Doing Business Easy: Are you making it easy for your customers to do business with you? Can they find what they need quickly? Can they respond easily? Product and Service information is essential, but complicated procedures put people off. Make use of the web technology to make your business as "self-service" as possible.

  9. Build In Interactions with your Customers: To keep your visitors returning it is important to think of how you can serve them rather than just what your company can get from them. Tools that allow you to exchange information, respond quickly, and answer questions add value for the customer. Even new informative content is a good way to make people re-visit.

  10. Hire the Right Team to do the Website Design: It is widely recognized today that a multitude of skills are required to create a good website. Gone are the days when a guy who could write HTML could sit down with your Product Brochure and turn out a website. Increasingly, tech-savvy customers expect your website to be at the cutting edge of design and technology, whatever the size of your business.
So that’s all it is, really – clarity of thought, detailed planning, and direct, honest communication are what make your website buzz, and drive customers to come back again and again. You wouldn’t settle for second best on your shop floor, corporate office or retail outlet – make sure you don’t do just that when it comes to your website!


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