What does your website tell customers?

Erika Jones

A decade ago, Internet websites were something for only the “big” companies. Today, a website is nothing less than a nonnegotiable essential: If you can’t be found online, you won’t remain in business.

Most business owners realize this and offer websites. What they might not consider, though, is what their websites really tell customers. Does your website look like a digital brochure or online storefront? Is the website just a blog you’re trying to make a functional website or a true representation of who you are and the experiences the customer can expect?

 I’ve seen some amazing businesses with websites I wouldn’t bother listing on a business card. The opposite is true as well. I’ve seen mind-blowing websites. But when I showed up to the business, I couldn’t find the services or products I expected.

The aesthetics of your website and the way it functions are two different things that shouldn’t be confused. You should know what your customer enjoys looking at and what they want to do on your site. If your customers are sold by the visual aspects of your products or services, you should offer lot of pictures. If customers are sold by product demonstrations, you should offer videos demonstrating your products. If customers are sold on service and your accolades or recommendations encourage them to do business with you, you should include plenty of testimonials. 

As for the functionality of your website, what do you want customers to do when they’re on your site and how do you want customers to use the site. Does the website just offer information? Or do you need customers to be able to shop and make purchases online? What about the ability to interact with others or yourself?

The habits of your target customers in your industry offer insights that make sure their online expectations are met. Just offering a website is no longer enough. You have to offer what I need when I need it and tell me what I want to hear. 

Mobile devices constitute a whole other story. Everyone’s talking about websites for mobile devices, but do you really understand the purpose of having one? When you’re thinking about investing in a mobile website, do you understand how people will use it? If you think they’re going to spend hours looking at your pages and content on a smart phone, you’re wrong.  Your mobile site can actually have different content and different search capabilities.

Make sure you spend time with a web development company that understands your target consumers and how they’ll use your site, how it needs to look and how they’ll use it in a mobile capacity. 

I believe most people understand they need to be saying something online, so they get a website. Check. Then they know they have to show up in s search, so they spend some money on that. Check. But the next step isn’t really thought through. What will happen when someone actually makes it to my site? 

Think about it and make sure you like what you’re telling customers. If you don’t like it, you probably don’t know what you want to tell them when they’re there. Spend more time thinking about what you say rather than how you say it. 

All the traffic and advertising in the world does you no good if your website doesn’t lead to the desired results: connecting with customers.