Your website is your first impression with most of your new customers. It is the face of your business. Making sure your website communicates appropriately, is critical. Below is a list of 6 ways to improve how your website performs. I’ve put together this list based on years of experience working with small businesses and helping them optimize their online presence. Hopefully this list will help you do the same.
1. Remove Flash Animations
Flash animations cannot be viewed on Apple computers, smart phones or iPads. This means that at least 25% (potentially significantly more) of your website visitors can’t see it. It’s not helping you and in many cases is actually hurting you. If portions of your website are not visible, then what impression is that giving to potential customers? In the mind of most people, a broken website = a broken business.
2. If It’s Broke, Fix It!
It is far too common that websites have broken links, images don’t show up or pages that don’t look right. As we mentioned above, a broken website = a broken business. If your website has any of these issues, you can be seriously damaging your first impression. Often business owners forget that while their current customers have gotten used to the fact that the home link doesn’t work, or that they need to go to your ABOUT US page to find the class listings, because the button on the home page that says “CLASS LISTINGS” is broken. The problem is your potential customers don’t know this and they aren’t going to fuss around to figure it out. It is often much easier for them to leave and go to your competitor’s website.
3. Stop Ignoring Smartphone and Tablet Users
Did you realize that more than 1 in every 3 visitors to your website is using a smartphone or tablet? If your website is not designed for viewing on these devices, then these customers and potential customers are not having an easy time working with you. So, stop ignoring one-third of your potential customers and get your website optimized for mobile viewing.
4. Ask For Their Business
This is how you built your business! Do you have clear and obvious ‘call to action’ on your website? Do you have button that says “Call us now to sign up!” or “Click here to register for a class!”? It sounds obvious but, it is not uncommon for me to see websites that don’t have any call to action. Most new visitors to your website are looking for classes for their child. Doesn’t it make sense to ask them to sign up?
5. Improve Usability
Is your website usable? Is it easy for people to find information? Can they quickly and easily locate class listings and sign up? Is your phone number on your homepage? Your website needs to be really easy for people to use. If it’s not, they will leave. In fact, you only have 3-5 seconds to impress a new visitor. If you don’t, they are gone.
6. Ask for Feedback
Ask some friends that have never been on your website to use it and give you honest feedback. Give them a common task, such as looking for a class for a 9 year old beginner, or figuring out what the dress code is for your 6 year olds’ class. Use at least two (2) scenarios and make sure that at least one is for a new potential customer. You can also ask your current customers. Many of them will have great feedback. Too often, we get used to our website and don’t even realize that it isn’t organized as well as it could be and that important information might be really hard to find for someone that has never been on your website… like a new potential customer.
In summary, your website should communicate your brand effectively, be easy to navigate and it needs to work.