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What consumers want to see on company websites?

For many businesses, a website is undeniably critical for reaching new audiences — and is often the first impression someone will have of your brand.

But having a website alone isn’t enough to reach and convert new customers. It’s equally vital that your website is well-designed, or you risk losing valuable leads.

Website design plays a huge role for a few reasons: First, web design can impact your website’s ability to rank on search engines for keywords related to your products or services. Additionally, web design can influence whether a user stays on your site once they find it.

And, lastly, web design will ultimately impact how many leads and prospects you’re able to convert into customers.

Good website design always begins with the question, “What is the main action we want someone to take when they visit our site?”

However, “good” website design can seem vague — what exactly do marketers mean when they say, “That’s an impressive website design”?

Contact information on your website is critical

Including contact information seems simple, but a lot of companies miss this. And it’s undeniably important — in fact, “Contact Us Information” is the most important element you can include on your company’s website.

You’ll want to include the phone number, email address, or another contact medium you want people to reach you for sales inquiries — preferably in an easy-to-find location, like the header of the page.

Also, consider including a clickable “Contact us!” CTA that either opens an email client or links to your contact form. And, speaking of forms, you might want to embed “Contact Us” forms throughout your site. Visitors don’t need to go on a scavenger hunt to find out how to get in touch with you.

Blog is most important

All digital, social, and other online marketing require quality content. And a blog is one of the most effective opportunities you have to create and distribute high-quality content related to your products or services.

A blog is probably the most important element of a business’s website.

To get maximum SEO benefit, your blog should be listed under your domain (something like www.yourcompany/blog) instead of off-site through a third-party service.

Ultimately, a blog can help you reach new audiences, increase brand awareness, and convert prospects through educational, valuable content.

An about us page is a vital element

Sharing your story and highlighting core values is critical for your brand’s long-term success. Be aware that 85% of consumers say they’ll only consider a brand if they trust the brand.

About us page is the second most important element of any website — overshadowing live chat, product images/video, and even case studies.

Simply put, people care about who they do business with, so tell people who you are and why your work matters. That said, keep it brief. Customers don’t have time to read a research paper.

Customer testimonials can effectively take your website to the next level

Potential customers need to trust you before choosing to work with you. Fortunately, customer testimonial pages can help you effectively build that trust with prospects.

Use your website to build your credibility by sharing your expertise and successful track record with clients and customers. When you do get testimonials, ask your clients for permission to use their real names. Real endorsements from recognizable businesses and organizations mean a lot more than an anonymous testimonial or a quote from a fictional persona.

Case study pages should have a consistent, concise format and template to explain what problem a customer had, how your company solved it, and what process you used to get to a resolution.

Include social media icons to drive traffic to your social pages

We know social media icons are important, but I was surprised to see this element overshadow live chat, customer case studies, and blog as the most important element of a company’s website, according to 30% of those surveyed.

Once your website is regularly bringing in traffic, you must link out to your social media pages so prospects and customers can follow you.

However, you mustn’t overdo it — when in doubt, go for simplicity over scale. For instance, if you work for an eCommerce company, consider linking to a few visually appealing pages, such as Instagram, Pinterest, or YouTube.

Of course, don’t add platforms that you don’t update regularly. You’re building trust, and that comes by regularly having updated and relevant content and answering queries from customers and leads.

Live chat is an important element of a business' website in 2021

Chatbots can’t replace real people with customer service, but they are a good alternative for those who don’t want to call or email and maybe inquiring about services or simple FAQs. To meet customers where they are and provide the instant feedback they require, consider installing a live chat option on your website.

Chatbots are easy to program and many don’t even require code. Artificial intelligence has made this functionality much more feasible for companies of all sizes. Many companies offer live chat as a simple plugin for your CMS platform.

Other reasons to consider chatbot research are sown us:

  • 40% of online consumers say having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.
  • 60% said they are more likely to return to a website if it offers live chat.
  • 40% said they made their purchase due to the chat session itself,
  • and 60% reported being more likely to purchase from the site again.

Geographic details are invaluable for local search SEO

50% of all Google searches are looking for local information — which means if your business isn’t optimized for local search, you could be missing out on potential customers who are searching for products or services within your geographical region.

And, as shown in many kinds of research 25% of customers feel a business' physical location is a key component of an effective website.

The pandemic has made many of us forget a physical world exists. Most businesses with brick-and-mortar locations rely on customers within a certain geographic area. Fortunately, when many people search for a product or service, they include a location. Including your location information will help your SEO strategy and help people unfamiliar with your region find your business.

So, it’s a good idea to use your location in page titles and other metadata, as well as in the text that appears on your website. If you have several cities you serve, you should consider creating landing pages on your site for each location for easier navigation.

It’s important to use original videos and images of your products or services on your website

Customers like images — so don’t use stock photos, particularly of products or services they will know and trust you less. This is where authentic behind-the-scenes videos and photos can help.

For instance, if your company provides a service such as landscape design or IT maintenance, show before-and-after pictures of your work.

If your service is something less tangible, such as insurance or life coaching, show pictures of your friendly staff and your belief system using visuals. Or, better yet, include video. Videos, where you are explaining your business' purpose, are powerful opportunities for increasing trust with potential customers.

Newsletter sign-up button is a valuable component of any company’s website so don’t forget it

Offering visitors to your site a chance to stay up-to-date via a subscription to your blog posts, newsletters, or product releases is a great way to stay top-of-mind for prospects and customers and increase brand loyalty.

A subscription will let you share information about your company through email marketing, and build your email list at the same time. Use this list to share information you think your clients and prospects will find valuable whenever you have it.

Finally, you must use Analytics and meet all other customer expectations that are not mentioned

Depending on your industry and business needs, many other design integrations should be also considered.

And, of course, we can’t forget the value of a compelling homepage, effective site navigation, mobile responsiveness, and more technical aspects like readability and accessibility.

There’s also one other critical element you should consider when designing your website: Analytics. Analytics can help you determine how your website is currently performing, the pages that attract the most visitors, and how you might improve and iterate on your web design for the future.

Ultimately, it’s important to continue testing and revising your web design over time to ensure it continues to meet — and exceed — consumer’s expectations.

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