Is Your Website Helping or Hurting Your Business?
By Fernando Camacho
Do you realize how important your website is?
I don’t think you do…
Your website is one of the key factors in either moving people closer to a buying decision or repelling them from doing business with you.
Simply put, it’s either helping you or hurting your business—nothing in between.
Think of your website as your digital storefront, where people are going to pop in, have a look around and get introduced to your brand. If the experience isn’t good (if your site isn’t projecting the kind of image they like) you’ll lose them before they ever have a chance to see all the great ways you can be of service to them.
Here are some basic website tips that can make a huge difference:
1. Use contrast.
Dark and light help the eyes lock onto things. White space draws the viewer into the key things you want them to see. Just make sure that there’s enough contrast between the background (I prefer white always) and the images on your site.
2. Do not use a dark background.
A darker background with light type makes the eyes work harder and the viewer will fatigue quicker than if they are looking at a light background with dark type. Unless you’re just using it for small blocks of copy here or there, keep the background light and your type dark.
3. Avoid clutter.
Try to keep it as minimalistic as you can. Don’t think about all the things you can add to your site; think about what you can take away.
My favorite example of this is Apple. Go to www.apple.com and think about what you see. Here is one of the biggest companies in the world, and look at how simple their site is. Look at all that contrast. Look at how clean it is. That’s a very user-friendly website.
4. It must, must (I cannot stress this enough), MUST be fully responsive.
That means the content will adapt to whatever device the viewer is looking at it on. If it’s a phone, it’s going to rearrange everything to optimize it to a phone. If it’s a laptop, it’s going to optimize it for a laptop. If it’s a tablet, it’ll move things around to look good on that size screen. It should look different on every device.
Fully responsive is not the same as mobile friendly. A lot of these templated site builders say that the site is mobile friendly, but if you look at it on a mobile device, it doesn’t look quite right. It’s not giving a good experience.
Also, Google decided a couple of years ago that if your site is not fully responsive, they won’t even show it in their search results. So, if someone searches dog daycare in your town and your site’s not fully responsive, Google’s not going to show it to them because Google wants to give the best experience possible.
5. Limit the number of choices.
It’s been scientifically proven that if people are given too many choices, they choose nothing rather than just making any choice. So, you can’t give them too many options—specifically on your menu. You want to limit your menu to no more than five or six tabs, maximum. You can have sub tabs under those main-menu options, but you want to keep it clean and easy for people to decide what to do.
Another place this often comes into play is with your pricing. I was looking at a client’s website a few years back and when I got to their pricing, I saw they had like 20 different options to choose from. I was dizzy just trying to sort it all out. We immediately cut it down to the bare minimum—just a handful of options—and it made it much easier for people to understand their choices and decide what the best option was for them. Overwhelm is never good for people making buying decisions. You want to make it very easy for them to make a choice.
6. Make it easy to communicate with your business.
The obvious thing to do is to have your contact information plainly visible and easily accessible from every page of your website. You want to make it easy for people to get the information they need and get all their questions answered as quickly as possible. The best way to do that is to install a chat widget on your site. These, hands-down, will get you the most conversations and inquiries for your business.
One of the first things I do with a new client is install a chat widget on their existing website, and immediately people start reaching out. The reason chat widgets are so good is because we live in a text society. People are much more likely to text or to chat than they are to go to the trouble of calling or typing out an email. For most of the population, texting is their preferred mode of communication. You want to make it as easy for people as possible to communicate with your business, and you want to do it in the way that they prefer—not what you find easier. Just putting a chat widget on your website will increase the number of inquiries you get from the organic traffic you’re already getting on your website.
Take a good, hard, honest look at your website and see if it needs some improvement or maybe a complete redesign. It’s a critical asset to your business that, if done poorly, can greatly affect your long-term success.
Fernando Camacho (Fern) runs Overdog Digital, a digital marketing agency specializing in working with dog daycare and boarding facilities. He does private business consulting, staff training and helps pet businesses utilize modern resources to expand their customer base and grow their businesses. Fern is also the author of six books and is a speaker at national conferences and private events. To join The Dog Daycare Business Think Tank or ask a question, go to: www.facebook.com/groups/dogdaycarethinktank