A recent study shows that over 50% of UK consumers now prefer to shop online, and 2 in 5 of them are more likely to make an unplanned purchase online. Younger and more tech savvy consumers and the continuing decline of the traditional high street model will mean that these trends can only increase, and all smart small businesses need to ensure that they have a web presence that’s up to the job. In a world of websites, it’s more important than ever to make sure that yours stands out from the crowd and does everything that’s required to make sales or allow customers to easily access your services. Take a note of these handy tips before you start on your new website or mobile app development and make sure that your new site works as hard as you do.
Target Your Customers
Before you do anything it’s time to take a step back and do your market research. This doesn’t have to be a formal process with expensive agencies and complex questionnaires, but you can’t effectively target your customers unless you know exactly who they are. So find out. Or envisage who you want to sell to, and look for them. What are they currently buying and where? How will you compete in that space? Talk to everyone you can, research trends and read reviews. As well as the ‘Who’, consider the ‘How’. Are they on desktop, laptop or mobile? (Nearly a third of Black Friday sales in the US in 2018 took place on smartphones).
Check Out the Competition
You should know who you’re your competitors are and if you don’t – find out now. Check out their sites and apps, their reviews, their social media profiles, their products and their prices. See what people are buying and saying about products and try and work out what they care about (top tip, it’s not always about the lowest price, sometimes great service matters more). Are you stronger, faster, better or cheaper?
Have All the Answers And Make A Plan
By now you have most of the answers that customers want, but how are you going to let them know that? Through the website of course. This is where you start to plan your website design and content. Think about the customer experience and journey. At what point will their main interests or concerns be addressed? Tip – if it’s 3 clicks in you’re too late and they will probably have gone elsewhere. Make sure visitors can see what you do and why they should care as soon as they arrive. Create clear and easy to navigate links to any other queries and questions. Promote your biggest USPs on the homepage – for example, if you offer free delivery, tell them now.
Keep It Up to Date
The most beautiful website in the world won’t help you to achieve anything if it’s out of date. There are many good reasons to schedule time for regular updates and make sure that you stick to them, no matter how busy things get. If you want to optimise your website for search engine results you need to consider regular, relevant content. You may need to schedule a regular slot for adding new products and refreshing product descriptions and images. You need to check your prices at regular intervals and ensure that they are correct. Take the time to analyse visitor behaviour and see what needs to be tweaked. For example, one product image may seem to be more popular than others, perhaps they all need to be redesigned to the same standard. If you have social media buttons, make sure you schedule regular updates. There is nothing more off putting to a potential buyer than a website with no trace of dated activity and a Twitter link that shows you last posted 2 years ago. That’s the online equivalent of a ‘Closed Down’ sign in a shop window, so make sure that your website always says ‘Open”.