Overview

In today’s internet-savvy culture important to have a good website. Not having one could be a detriment to your business if your website is poorly done, or doesn’t exist at all.

There are many different reasons to have a website – the first and most important is that people want to know about you or your business before investing the time to come to your store.  Let’s say, hypothetically, that you own a hardware store.  Before taking the trip to your store (however far from their home that might be), someone would likely come to your website for a number of reasons:

  1. To find out if you sell a particular brand of lawnmower
  2. To find out if you’ve got a particular lawnmower in stock
  3. To get directions or hours of operation
  4. To get your phone number to call and ask you to hold their new lawnmower

Let’s also say that you hypothetically do have a website.  Do you have all of those answers on your site?  Are they easy to find?  Can people easily find your contact information or search your site?   Take a look at your site from the customer’s perspective for a moment – would you be able to find the information you need without getting frustrated?

If the answer is no, then your site could use some improvements.  If you think the answer is yes, your site could probably benefit from the advice of an expert designer.

Being Objective

One of the hardest things to do is be objective about your own website. Even more so if it’s something you’ve built yourself.  It’s hard to see the faults of your own site because you’re used to using it. You may have even designed it. That’s where the help of an expert can come in handy. A trained web designer can spot design problems quickly and suggest fixes that will allow your customers to find information easier. One of the more important things in website design is referred to usability testing, which hardly gets done because a) it’s a pain to do and b) it can be expensive.  However, it’s extremely important.  How it works is rather simple – you get a handful of people completely unrelated to you or your website, tell them absolutely nothing about your website, and give them tasks to do on the site (search for something, buy something, etc), and document how quickly they can accomplish the tasks and if they get stuck or frustrated on a task.  If they can’t figure out how to complete the tasks you’d like users to complete – buying a product, finding your store hours, etc. -, your site needs some improvements.

Why Does It Matter?

So, why is this all important?  If someone can’t get around your website or find the information they’re looking for, they’re extremely unlikely to stick around long enough to find out about you, and even more unlikely to travel to your store to give to purchase something. You want to make things as easy as possible for the potential customer – the easier it is for them to find information, the more likely it is that they will purchase something from you.

Summation

Having a website is a responsibility.  You’re expected to keep it up to date, make it usable, and represent your business in a proper manner. This can be a daunting task for a small business owner (or even larger businesses!) and is where the services of an expert can help. Having a well designed, easy to use website that clearly conveys the message of your business  and displays the information people are trying to get about your business can put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors.



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