10 Tips to Make Your Website Successful (Part II of II)
“Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without talking about the other.” — Bill Gates
When you have a small business, an internet presence in the form of a company website can prove invaluable. If well developed, it can act as an inexpensive marketing tool and a good point of contact. It can also help to further brand your business. Last week we discussed the first 5 of ten steps in creating a stellar website for your business. Here are the final 5:6. Approach the site as an outsiderYou already know everything there is to know about your business, and if you’re not careful that perspective can limit your communication with clients. You may assume people already know things that they just don’t. Step outside yourself for a bit and approach the website as an outsider. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What information would someone in my target market first want to find?
- How would they expect to navigate that information?
- What are their Frequently Asked Questions?
- What information is useful to them?
- What information is not useful to them?
It would be worthwhile to enlist the help of a few people in your target market. Ask them these questions and more. See what they know and what they would like to know more about. Remember the site isn’t for you, but for your potential customers to get more information on your expertise.7. Use clear, straight-forward textMembers of your target market aren’t accountants or bookkeepers, so you should avoid using obscure lingo. Explain things in layman’s terms without being condescending. Be as straight forward as possible and don’t hide crucial information like pricing. Potential clients want to know how much you charge, and if it becomes difficult to find that information they may leave your site in search of one that’s more transparent. Make it clear that the website only provides estimates for certain services; request that they contact you for specifics. The web industry standard on how long you have to win or lose a viewer to a web site is 8 seconds. Make sure you fill that 8 seconds that will win them to doing business with you.8. Offer practical information for freeEveryone loves free information. That information can either be posted on your website, distributed through a free newsletter, or both. If people find your website useful, chances are they’ll come to you when they need financial services. It’s also likely that they’ll forward your website on to friends and family. The trick is to give useful information that will attract them to you and your the services you provide. Rule of thumb is don’t share something that you can charge good money for, but you can always lure them in with a mention or a tease about that information. 9. Test your siteLest you think this is an optional step, we must repeat: TEST YOUR SITE! Nothing is more annoying to web users than a site that doesn’t work. Not only should you make it easily accessible, but you should have it tested (multiple times on multiple computers) and probably by someone other than yourself. You should see how it looks on a PC, a MAC, a computer with a modem, a computer with a cable connection, a computer running Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera…you get the picture. Be sure your pages load quickly. There is no other quicker way to lose a customer, have an immediate judgment of your professionalism, and perhaps even your competence with broken links, images not showing and web page irregularities that annoy the viewer. You don’t want your website to frustrate potential clients into looking elsewhere for accounting or bookkeeping services. 10. Market your siteThere are inexpensive ways to get your website out there. Here are just a few:
- Put the URL on your business cards
- Include the URL with your email signature
- Issue a press release in your local paper
- Run website-only promotions
- Whenever possible, get other websites to link to your site
- Submit your site to directory listings
- Include the URL in your Yellow-page listing
- Include the URL on your stationary
Anything you do in print, smack that web site address on it as well. People you contact are expecting that now, and you can give them a great way to find out more about you when you place it on anything you produce. Now with any promotion you run, you can include your website. You’ll be amazed at how many people are more willing to visit a website than they are to call you with questions. Don’t let the Internet intimidate you. It’s a great way to promote your business and connect with potential clients. But don’t let all the flash and pizzazz on the internet distract you. Your website should be content-driven and informational. But most importantly, take your time and do it right.
The importance of having a great Internet presence hasn’t excaped the eye of Universal Accounting Center. That is why each Professional Bookkeeper’s Program comes with one for you to set up and start out with. Find out what else the comprehensive training comes with by clicking here.