3 Tips to Make Your Website Actually Useful
Gone are the days of a “form over function” internet. Today’s more savvy audiences simply want to get where they are going. And they want to do it fast! So, with the priorities of today’s business websites being speed and ease of use, here are three tips from Two17 that help you to provide your customers with the information they require, while also helping you to see stronger conversions either on your site or in person.
1. Where is the business?
Contact information is the most important information you can have on your website. It is often the first thing people interested in your business will look for. This seems simple enough, yet many well-intentioned websites unknowingly make this information difficult to find. Some studies show that people will tend to look at the top left corner of your website first, like they’re reading a book. It's really a personal preference - but top left and top right corners are usually best bets. Don’t make customers scour the page looking for a way to find your business.
There is plenty of useful of data you can include in the contact information section. The trick is finding the balance between information overload and unnecessary vagueness. There are three things you need to specifically include:
Hours of operation
People seeking this information are likely close to buying, so having your hours of operation listed accurately and in a fashion that’s easy to find and read is a huge priority. Here are two examples, one bad and one good, to showcase how your hours should be listed online
Don’t do it like this: We are open Mondays – 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Tuesdays – 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Wednesdays – 8:00 am-7:00 pm, Thursdays – 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Fridays – 8:00 am-7:00 pm, Saturdays 12:00 pm-5:00 pm and the service shop is also open until 7:00 pm.
Looks hard to read, right? It doesn’t look nice, it’s hard to find specific days and times, and you don’t know if the service shop is just open on Saturdays, or if it’s always open until 7:00 pm every evening.
A better example Sales: Mon: 8a – 5p Tues: 8a – 5p Wed: 8a – 7p Thurs: 8a – 5p Fri: 8a – 7p Sat: noon – 5 Sun: Closed
Service: Mon-Sat: noon – 7p
Looks a lot nicer, right? It’s a lot easier to read and find the information you need. Not to mention so much faster! The most important part is to make sure the hours are accurate. Even if it takes an extra line to better explain a confusing set of hours, customers greatly appreciate knowing when they can expect your business to be open.
Unless you’re an online retailer, your address is an essential part of your contact listing. But just like hours of operation, there are a variety of ways to share your location. Here is how we recommend doing so. Provide enough information so that Google maps can locate the business. For people in major cities, often times just your street address is sufficient. But if your business is a little tricky to find, consider linking to a map application, or have a map directly on your website. If you’re going that direction, make sure to use an accredited map engine like Google Maps, instead of a hand-drawn creation. People tend to be a lot more familiar with popular map formats and might get confused/intimidated at the sight of your beautiful artwork.
This is the number where customers can most easily reach you. Businesses with multiple departments equipped with individual phone lines might want to stick those on a “Contact Us” page. There’s no sense in cluttering your home page with 30 different phone numbers and extensions. Businesses should have one phone number on the homepage display as a catch-all for any inquiries. And please - don’t forget an area code for those out-of-town customers. Make it easy for on-the-go customers to click a button for their mobile device to ring the business instantly.
2. Who is the business?
You likely have a lot to say about your business so the real challenge here is the distillation of your story. Here, think of the company from the customer’s perspective; what makes you unique? Why are you better than their competitors? What do you do for customers? These questions will likely shed light on the most important information to share, at least at the top of the page.
Once you’ve got your top level information cased, consider designing a way for interested customers to learn even more about the business. There, you can dive deeper into your history, philosophy, and share any achievements or media coverage your business has enjoyed in the past.
3. What does the business do?
This is where functionality needs to be the highest priority. Customers are looking for confirmation that your business is what they are looking for in the moment they are searching. You can’t afford to have this information be anything but concise, easy to find, and extremely helpful. It’s challenging to know the best strategy for your business, but a tactic we recommend is taking a look at your closest competitors for insight. Look at those websites and assume the perspective of their customer. If you like something about the way their website works, make a note. If you find something super inconvenient or confusing, again, make a note. Use these notes to form the approach for revamping your website.
A lot of people think a website should be an online version of your business. In reality, this is virtually impossible. A website is more like a messenger for your business. It’s a tool for relaying information about the business to potential customers. If your messenger is long-winded, confusing, and tries to use flashy bright colors to grab attention, the customer is not going to be engaged. If your messenger relays all the information in a simple, concise and memorable way, customers will be much more likely to engage. It is quite likely a website is the first impression the customer might have of your business—remember, you only get once chance to make a first impression!
Check out Two17.co to see how we have made our website useful, and make sure to contact us for any of your marketing needs!