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What do you look for in a website?

As A Seller (Part 1)

The development of a website is broken down in to several needs and requirements which range from a great design to sales of a product or service, to a practical database which stores client details and take orders. No matter what the requirements are the website has to be user friendly, easy to navigate and interesting enough to captivate the onlooker and keep their attention for longer than 2 second.

Just like in the good old days when almost all advertising and marketing was done in print, what would ensure that a reader while flipping through that glossy magazine would stop on your advert and take notice of what you have to say and your offer. Good content! It’s easy when they have a throbbing tooth and you selling a miracle remedy with a 100% money back guaranty, but what if you just another one of the hundreds of adverts for used cars? How do you get them to stop and take notice?

“You, your company, the products and services you offer and your staff are all part of your brand!”

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How does one achieve this?

When contemplating a website build, make notes about what you want to achieve, what is on offer, what services you have and how your potential client can benefit, what brilliant advice you know and want to share or secret tips only you know about. Also make a note of what you are prepared to give away free or at an amazing discount. After compiling a detailed list discuss it with other staff members or colleagues in the same industry. They may have insights that you overlook.

How many items do you have on your list? Websites are made up of pages which display either a list of products or services on a single page or on its own individual page. Either way you decide to display them you need to ensure there is enough to fill the page. At least 600 words minimum per page describing the product or service, what it is used for, how it can benefit the viewer and how they can easily order or request a quote for.

A good idea is that if you are selling similar items, for instance say maybe there is a difference in the colour, pattern and size they could be grouped together saving the viewer having to search for hours just to find what they looking for. For example if the items are all similar socks, you reduce the number of pages required, which reduces the cost of the website, this would also reduce the amount of information required to fill the page, especially if information is limited. (How much can someone say about socks?)

Does the website accurately depict your brand or company?

It is easy to want a colorful and energetic design as your website, but realistically when the offer is a coffin it would be in appropriate. Make sure your site is in line with what you selling or promoting. You are selling your brand, not an item or service. In effect you are trying to sell an idea to a potential customer or client, introducing them to your brand so that you can become preferred supplier and fulfill their needs. If you fail to build that needed confidence of your brand within a few moments of viewing you could lose that customer forever.

Is your website alive on dead?

The answer is Both! While some designers may argue what while the content may change the design stays the same.

The true answer is ‘What are your requirements?’ If you are in need of a website with a login facility, or a download form or two, or maybe even a ‘fill in a contact form’ or ‘make your booking form’ then a flat page website is perfect. If your aim is to attract clients, whether pre-existing ones or potentially new ones, you will need to consider the answer as False as your website needs to be alive.

The question then is ‘How do you keep it alive?’ First off it takes time, a lot of it. As the owner or manager of the brand it’s your responsibility to maintain that website. No one else cares for your brand the way you do. Why leave it up to someone else and hope its done right. That is not to say you need to do everything yourself for many brands or companies have entire departments setup for marketing and brand awareness. You ‘the brand’ will need to be inspiring and reach your potential customers to ensure success.

Do you need to be constantly changing the information on the website? If you have an article once it is published live it doesn’t need to be changed. The products or services only really need to change or be updated only if they change. So what needs to change? Let’s pretend you own a travel agency. The need to change the actual tour package is only if it changes or if you decide to run a discount on it. Why not host a section on the index (home) page for specials or discounts. That would need to be changed according to the discount running. Maybe you have added an adventure to the adventure tours package. Why not have a section on the index page showing that extra adventure – a feature section. Let’s say you just finished a mobile app for your brand, why not feature it on your index page. The index page is the one page that should be changing. Would you visit a website that always looks the same?

A good idea, especially if you want to gain more real clients is to add a newsletter form allowing truly interested people to let you know that want you to communicate with them. Maybe a testimonial section to showcase happy clients and how they benefited from your brand. News about new products and services still to come, or events that are a must attend. Create a photo gallery showcasing the before and after or happy people enjoying your brand.

Videos are truly a must when it comes to creating trust between your brand and the buyer. Yes you can spend hours of time and money on creating world class commercial advertising which most large brands have done. You can also create on the fly videos on your mobile device showing a product being built, being packaged or processed for shipping. An introduction to the admin office and who they would deal with when they call in. Make your brand alive with ‘warm people’ and not the ‘cold machine’ we all used to deal with.

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So what will all this cost me?

The answer all depends on your website requirements, the budget and the website agency you decide to use. If your brand needs an e-commerce website then you can expect to spend over R25k. What you need to remember is that e-commerce is cold and impersonal. If you only have 5 items to sell it would make more sense not to have an e-commerce website to ensure the buyer communicates with a friendly staff member and not the cold machine.

You will need to weigh up the requirement against the budget. In the end no matter what your needs are, your brand will need the exposure even a 5 pager website is better than nothing. Above all, make sure you get your monies worth. No one wants to flush their money down the drain.

Do! Shop around for an honest reliable designer;
Don’t! Get locked into a monthly fee to keep your website live;
Do! Ensure the domain is registered in your or your brands name;
Don’t! Leave it up to the designer to create your content for you.

If by reading this article you realise your need for a website or website upgrade we have a list of packages available to match your budget.

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