NEW Online Tool from Google For small businesses in Africa. Get Online
What are your goals for getting online?
Do you want to increase sales? Get more inquiries? Or maybe you want to provide your customers with extra information about your products and services. Your answers to these questions will help you design a website that makes sense for your business.
What is your business story?Why are you special?
Potential customers are busy, so make sure you get to the point quickly, before they leave your site and take their business elsewhere. Tell them why they should be doing business with you:
- Help customers understand the range of your products and services by including details
- Include your three of four unique selling points
- Include any awards, customer testimonials, reviews or news coverage about your business
- Get a second opinion from a friend to see what information they find most compelling
Who are your customers?
What do they want to know about your business? Know who your customers are. What kinds of information do your current customers ask about? Do they prefer to see photos of your products or the work you have done for other clients? Outline your offerings in clear and simple terms.
- Use a language and style which is appropriate and easy to understand for your target audience
- Describe the types of customers that you serve so you can create the right expectations
What are other businesses like yours doing online? And, what can you learn from them?
- Understanding what other businesses like yours are doing online can help you determine what information to share on your own website. It can also help you define what differentiates your business from theirs. Identify your unique selling points and highlight them on your website.
What online address best represents your business?
Your domain name (also referred to as your website address or url,for example www.mybusiness.com) is your unique address on the Internet. It iswhat customers type into their Internet browsers to get to your website.Choose your domain name carefully:
- Make it easily identifiable by using your company name or your main product or service
- Try to keep it short and snappy.
- Avoid words that are hard to pronounce or remember, as well as special characters such as hyphens.
Use Good Photography
Pictures encourage customers to contact you
- Show authentic photos of your products, your store, facilities, equipment and friendly staff
- Make sure your images are well-lit and in focus. 600 pixels by 400 pixels is a good rule of thumb for image quality.
- Be careful that the background isn’t distracting.
- Write clear captions for each image with relevant information such as product characteristics, dimensions, weight, prices and whether it’s available in store
Tell them where you are
- Include the basic information customers need to find you. e.g. an address and map
- Give directions that are simple and easy to undertand for customers commuting by foot, car and public transport
- Be specific in your descriptions, e.g. if you can travel to your clients, be clear about how far you can travel. If you deliver, what’s your delivery area?
Show what you charge
Keep potential clients from searching high and low
- The more comprehensive information you can provide about your prices, the better
- State what is and isn’t included, so people don’t wonder about hidden extras
- Make sure special offers and promotions are easy to find
- State clearly if your rates vary
Make it easy for them to contact you
- Provide multiple contact options, e.g. phone, email, fax, and online forms. Display them prominently
- Keep your online forms short: name, phone number and comments
- Display your hours of operation in your ‘contact us’ page
- Make sure you answer emails, phone calls and inquiries quickly
Keep your content fresh
Update your site regularly and give your customers a reason to keep coming back
- Include on the homepage information that keeps customers up-to-date with special offers, new products and events
- If you use social media for business, include their links on the webite
- Give customers the option to sign up for a newsletter from you but make sure you can send out regular updates
Plan your website structure
Your customers are visiting your website to obtain information about what you do. Help them find the information they seek quickly and easily. Most good websites have the following basic pages:
- Home Page – provide a summary of what you do. Add photos and videos if you have them
- Products and Services – showcase what your business is offering, add photos and include pricing
- Contact Us – give customers a means of contacting you directly. Add your phone numbers and email address
Other pages you may want to add are:
- About Us – tell customers about your business story, your team, mission, vision and values
- Feedback (optional) – adding quotes from satisfied customers can help build your credibility
Make it look good
First impressions count, even online. The image you present online will affect the impressions your customers create about your business.
- Add your business logo
- Add photos of your products and business
- Create slideshows or add videos on your home page. This helps first time visitors to your site get an immediate understanding of what you offer
- Make sure your content is accurate. Misspellings and bad grammar can turn some customers off. Take the time to make sure your site truly reflects your business profile
- Check for misspellings, repeated words and incorrect grammar
- Don’t use jargon or fancy language
Check Out the Video Here: