The Internet has become a great tool for buying and selling products and services, sharing files, entertainment, and communicating much like I’m doing presenting my blog to you guys!
Whether you’re a large multinational corporation or a small business owner selling products and services locally, having an Internet presence needs to be top of your agenda!! Here’s why:
- As of early 2017 a Global digital overview report from We Are Social and Hootsuite revealed that more than half of the worlds population now use the Internet.
- According to Cahill, H (2017) UK retailers raked in £133bn online last year as the Internet’s importance for the retail industry continued to grow.
- Research from IMRG and Capgemini shows that shoppers spent £18bn more online in 2016 than they did the year before, a growth of 16 per cent.
- Establishing an online presence through the use of a functioning website is a great way to generating additional revenue and profit for your business.
- An annual survey by analytics firm comScore and UPS found that consumers are now buying more things online than in store.
Taking the above into consideration it is more critical than ever that firms establish a strong online presence through the use of a website delivering the optimal exposure needed to be a winner in a rapidly changing market place.
So what makes a successful website?
Diem, C. (2017) suggest there are 7 key elements to building a successful website 5 of which I think are the most important:
- Visually Pleasing:
It is essential to engage visitors immediately to your website and it is key that your online presence reflects the essence of your business.
Digital designer Maria Withers, who designed the Austin & Locke website, believes that design trends are temporary but keeping up-to-date with them is essential when devising a website. (Laurence, 2014)
“Your design should focus around your user’s needs, if a website isn’t aesthetically pleasing or intuitive your website can become redundant and users will bounce from your web page.”
Diem, C. (2017) suggests that a website should remain simple to the eye and not to be cluttered with text and images as visitors don’t want to be sifting through all that information to get to what they need: use your white space. However, if images are to be used its worth investing in professional photographs if you want a professional looking website.
As an example, check out the John Lewis website, whose online sales purchases peaked at 705 units per minute on Black Friday!!! https://www.johnlewis.com
- A Homepage with a Clear Message:
You need to draw the potential customer into the website and this is probably your one opportunity to tell them what you want them to know. It is a bit like the 30 second to 2 minute elevator pitch when you’re trying to sell your big idea to the head of the company.
These are the questions you’ve got to answer: Who are you? What do you do? What benefit/value do you offer?
It is important that you give your website visitors the information they need to stay on your website in the quickest possible time.
An uncluttered website will aid the delivery of that key information.
- A Clear-Call-to-Action:
The website should steer the visitor to what you want them to do next. For example, do you want them to make a product purchase? Do you want them to subscribe?
“A clear CTA that will guide your reader: Call Me, Shop Now, Contact Us, Let’s Chat, Sign Up, Buy Now.”
A call-to-action is essential when converting website visitors into customers. Websites will often provide flags to visitors to prompt them in the direction required. E.g. John Lewis’ use of “Price Match” banner, used to entice the visitor into making a purchase.
- Search Engine Optimization is essential:
(Telnic Limited. 2009) have concluded that search engine optimization is the most effective way to identify your website to potential visitors when they enter keywords and phrases into the search engine, improving user traffic to your website.
The best way to up your SEO is to make sure your content and images are all aligned with the keywords, metadata, and H1 and H2 tags on your site. The use of H1 and H2 tags enable a word search on a typical search engine (E.g. Google, Bing) to identify your website and the relevant product page to a potential customer.
Each page of your website should have a keyword focus that supports the content for that particular page. (E.g. Christmas Shop, electrical, television, fragrances etc.)
- Search Indexing:
This is the final piece of the ‘successful website’ puzzle. Once your website is live it is vital that you submit your website to any search engine to be indexed. If you don’t inform the search engine of your existence it will make it much more difficult for them to find you.
According to Anderson, S. (2017) the most popular search engine in the UK is Google, with around 90% of the market share. Indexing your website through Google and other popular search engines is one of the most effective ways of directing web traffic to your website.
To increase your exposure and web traffic learn how to submit your website to popular search engines!
Check out the following YouTube video below for website builder software to help kick start your business venture!
Having a poorly designed website is like having a really bad shop window: you have the best goods in town but no one wants to come in. In other words you’ll have a really high bounce rate (Google.com, 2017). On the flip side, a well designed website with high usability has been found to positively influence visitor retention (revisit rates) and purchasing behavior (Avouris, Tselios, Fidas, & Papachristos, 2003; Flavián et al., 2006; Lee & Kozar, 2012).
Anderson, S. (2017). How To Submit A Site To Search Engines Like Google, Bing & Yahoo. Available: https://www.hobo-web.co.uk/how-to-submit-a-site-to-search-engines-seo-how-to-tuesday-2/. Last accessed 26/11/2017
Avouris Nikolaos, Tselios Nikolaos, Fidas Christos, Papachristos Eleftherios. Advances in Informatics. Springer; 2003. Website evaluation: A usability-based perspective; pp. 217–231.
Cahill, H. (2017). Shoppers spent £133bn online last year, but the internet is hitting margins. Available: http://www.cityam.com/257242/shoppers-spent-133bn-online-last-year-but-internet-hitting. Last accessed 25/11/2017
Diem, C. (2017). 7 Key Elements of a Successful Website. Available: http://blog.breezyhillmarketing.com/7-key-elements-of-a-successful-website/. Last accessed 25/11/2017.
Farber, M. (2016). Consumers Are Now Doing Most of Their Shopping Online. Available: http://fortune.com/2016/06/08/online-shopping-increases/. Last accessed 25/11/2017.
Flavián Carlos, Guinalíu Miguel, Gurrea Raquel. The role played by perceived usability, satisfaction and consumer trust on website loyalty. Information & Management. 2006;43(1):1–14.
Google.com. Bounce Rate. Analyrics Help. (2017) Available: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1009409?hl=en. Last accessed 25/11/2017
Laurence, N. (2014). How to create a successful website that keeps customers returning. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2014/aug/04/how-to-create-successful-a-website. Last accessed 26/11/2017
Lee Younghwa, Kozar Kenneth A. Understanding of website usability: Specifying and measuring constructs and their relationships. Decision Support Systems. 2012;52(2):450–463.
Petre Marian, Minocha Shailey, Roberts Dave. Usability beyond the website: an empirically-grounded e-commerce evaluation instrument for the total customer experience. Behaviour & Information Technology. 2006;25(2):189–203.