The ultimate goal of any business is to increase the number of clients or customers that come in the door, the number that return as patrons, and ultimately, the balance on the profit sheet. So just about everything you do as a business owner is probably aimed at obtaining financial success, and your website is no exception. If you put up a website and find that it’s doing nothing to attract customers or clients to your business, you might be tempted to dump the whole concept. But hold up a minute. Like anything else worth doing, it’s worth doing well. And here are just a few things you may want to consider when it comes to making this crucial tool work for you.
The first thing to look at is your layout and design. These days anyone can use a template to slap some content on a page and call it a website, but consumers are fairly savvy and they will certainly be able to tell if you’ve skimped in this area. You don’t necessarily have to shell out major money for an award-winning web design team, but you do have to meet minimum standards when it comes to creating a cyber space to mirror and expand your real-world presence. This means following the basic guidelines for accepted layout, including placing headers, buttons, and bars where viewers would generally expect to find them. You aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel here, so don’t get crazy with the layout. From there the design needs to be straightforward and user-friendly so that visitors can quickly and easily navigate through your site to find what they’re looking for (and finalize purchases).
Of course, not everything is in your hands. A lot of the success of your website rests with your web hosting service, so you need to choose one that is reliable. You’ll want to first find a provider that guarantees limited down time. Although every server bank requires scheduled shutdowns for maintenance, you should seek out a service that promises a negligible amount of unscheduled downtime (many assure that less than 1% will occur) and that they have policies in place to back up their claims (such as money back). You should also look for a web host that offers a speedy connection (for fast loading times) and adequate bandwidth (to handle increasing traffic demands). This will help to ensure that anyone visiting your page finds it in good working order.
Once you’ve set aside your ui prototyping tool and signed up with a web hosting service it’s time to start getting your name out there. After all, the best website will do you no good if no one is aware of its existence. There are plenty of ways to advertise and build your brand image, but you can start by signing up for ad sharing and listing services (some are free), joining industry forums, and becoming involved with related blogs (by commenting or guest posting, for example). You can even start your own on-site blog to attract more visitors (and build loyal patrons in the process). And you can start utilizing SEO (search engine optimization) practices and even engage in advertising (viral campaigns don’t have to cost a lot and they can be extremely effective). In short, there are ways to use a website to your advantage, but they don’t include sitting back and waiting for something to happen. If you want your website to be a success, like your business, then you have to be proactive and continue to work on it so that it can work for you.