Starting a new website can be tremendously exciting. You’ve got all these plans for how it is going to look and all the products you are going to sell on there. Your wishlist for widgets and doo-dahs is a million miles long and all you can think is that it HAS to look better than that other lady who is doing the same thing as you whose online brand looks oh so shiny and professional.
Your website will shine!
Your customers will fall in love with you and your business and traffic will hit the roof!
If only there were likes on websites too – you’re going to be so popular.
But in going from ‘ooh, I’m going to create me a new website’ to ‘agh, there is so much I need to add on there’, the simple things can often go astray.
Things that you would never forget when introducing yourself at a business meetup.
Things that would ordinarily be the first things you tell people about your business.
Things that business owners leave off their websites time and again and wonder why their new shiny site isn’t doing the biz.
Here is a little list of oopsies that you may have left on the shelf…
The 5 critical essentials you need on your website:
1. Easy to find contact details
If you own a bricks and mortar shop you would want people to be able to see it on the street. If you were located down a side street you would probably post a sign out on the main street to guide people to your shop.
But contact details are something I see hidden or left off websites time and time again. Even for bricks and mortar shops and local services!
People will want to contact you so make it super easy for them.
Places where people expect to find contact details:
- At the top left of every page – a great place for a phone number
- The last item on the main menu – this is where we expect to see the contact page.
- In the footer on every page – a link to the contact page or your address and phone number make your business look open and professional
2. A really simple explanation of who you are, who you help and what you do
Many websites go straight in with the sales pitch. BUY THIS, they scream at you the moment you land on their site.
But many people who land on your website will want to know a bit about you and what you can offer them before they press the big red BUY NOW button. They need to be welcomed in, made to feel at home and offered a selection of your finest before feeling they can buy from you.
Make sure you tell people very clearly who you are, who you help and what you can do for them. Upfront and in plain English.
Where you need this to go:
- At the top of your header on your home page
3. Tell people what you want them to do
Your website has a purpose, and it’s not just to sit there looking pretty. When designing your website consider what your objectives are. Are they to get more online sales of your retail products? Build your list? Build a bigger brand presence and build a community?
Each page and post should help you with these objectives.
Ask yourself what now at the end of each page and blog. What is the next step you want your visitor to take? And then tell them to do it! Don’t rely on them to carry on exploring through the menu. Lead them through your website to the good stuff.
Ideas for Calls to action (that can go on a page OR a blog)
- A sign-up form for a great freebie
- Customers also liked products (just like Amazon)
- You might also like (great for beneath blogs to get them to stay on your site)
- The good old buy now button (make it stand out!)
- Share buttons for social media
- Clickable text to share on social media
- A clickable selection of your most popular products or services
4. An easy to navigate menu
The menu is not the place to get creative. Blog should be blog. Contact should be contact. Your site visitors don’t want to be kept guessing what each menu item is for, they just want to find what they are looking for.
I keep my main menus to under 10 headline items at the very most. If you have a retail business, the main menu should showcase your selection of product categories. Nice and simple – like a well-organised shop.
You can do all sorts of whizzy things with menus and some of the more whacky sites will just include the hamburger symbol for the menu, even on desktop. But there is nothing more frustrating as a website user as having to search to find the menu. Don’t hide it away in a dark cellar with no stairs and a jaguar guarding the door for the sake of being creative. Make sure it is where people expect it to be.
5. The legal stuff
I know, sigh, this is not the most sexy part of a website. In fact, it’s downright dull and boring. But completely necessary!
What legal type info you need on your site
- If you are selling anything online you will need a terms and conditions page, just like selling in a shop
- Pop the copyright message at the bottom eg: © 2020 Business Beautician Ltd | All rights reserved. To clarify your rights to the content.
It can be very easy to lose sight of what your website needs to do. Our businesses are constantly growing and changing so we often end up piling all the new stuff on top of the old stuff until it becomes a bit of a confused mess.
Keep your website easy to navigate and everything easy to find.
Make sure you have these basics covered even as you grow.