We work with many local service companies in Southwest Washington.
We typically receive a phone call, email, or chat from our website from a prospective customer asking for help with their current website.
Most businesses know their website can be improved. Or they know that websites are of value to a business, but they haven’t seen any value in their website, and want a professional to look at it.
What we do is run their website through our free 35-point checklist to make sure it’s up to speed in following industry best practices. We also include a video walk-through of the report and provide tips and tricks on how their website can be improved to help stand out from their competitors. Interested in having your website reviewed? Give us a call (360) 450-3711 or fill out your information here for your free website review: https://graticle.com/free-website-review
Let’s look at the biggest mistakes we see when reviewing these websites:
This is almost a running joke around here. Without fail, when reviewing a local businesses’ website, the phone number is nonexistence or it’s hard to find. It’s critical that you list your phone number in an easy to find place and on every single page of your website. Typically, people are looking for your phone number in the top-right corner of the screen. We’ve all been accustomed to looking for contact information here, and that includes a phone number.
Make sure your phone number is also a link so that people can click to call you immediately. This is helpful for mobile devices and desktop computers where someone has phone calling software (VOIP) installed.
The entire goal is to make it easy for your customer to be able to contact you. Don’t make your customers hunt for your phone number.
By the way, make sure you have someone answering the phone for every phone call. Your customer should never hit a voicemail, they should always be able to talk to someone. What ends up happening, is that people either leave a voicemail or they don’t, and they call your competition. Often, they will continue calling companies until they get a person on the phone. This just goes with the times. Everyone wants help now and not tomorrow. If your customers are hitting a voicemail, you’re losing business.
If you serve customers at your location, your address should also be easy to find. Again, a good location for this is in the header (the top portion of the screen). The same rules apply as mentioned with the phone number. Your phone number should also be a clickable link that provides customers with directions on Google Maps. This makes it easy if they are on the road, they can click your address and get directions instantly.
Hours of Operation
If you have set hours of operation like most businesses, you should also list those hours. Another good place in the header. If the customer finds your hours, and you happen to be open, they are more likely to give your business a call or stop by.
In your menu/main navigation on your website, you should have a link to your contact page. Even if you have all your contact information in the header of your website, you should still have a link to your contact page. People are accustomed to finding a contact form here and will want to send a message. You must know, not everyone can just grab the phone and make a phone call. They may be at work, in a noisy environment, or just don’t want to talk over the phone initially.
We review many websites that have stock imagery and stock photos of people.
If you are a local business, you don’t have to look like the biggest brand out there. You should be honest with the size of your business and the resources you have available. That doesn’t mean you have to have the most professionally polished photos.
Customers would rather see a photo that is unique to your business rather than a stock photo that looks perfect.
Also, have photos of the owners and/or staff. You need to make your website relatable and showcase the people behind it.
And if it makes sense, a photo of your building. That way people can recognize it if they’ve already driven by it previously, or they plan to.
This is one of the most overlooked pages. If a business has an about page, it’s usually sparse of information and read like an afterthought.
An about page is especially important for small businesses. When a perspective customer is on your website, they want to see who they’re about to do business with. They want to read the story, the history, the mission, the values and see the people behind the business.
Calls to Action
“Ask for the sale.” If you’ve been in sales, this term is familiar. At some point when working with a prospective customer, you must ask for the sale. Otherwise, you and the prospective customer are wasting your time.
On a website, this doesn’t mean that you must literally ask someone to purchase something. Of course, if you are selling something on your website, that is important. But, asking for the sale can also be reworded as “asking the next step.” This can be, “Call Today for our Daily Special!”, “Sign Up for Your Free Bonus Today”, “Get Your Free Consultation,” or even something as simple as “Call Today!” You’re simply asking for the customer to take the next step in doing business with your business.
Contact Forms / Live Chat
You must make it easy for your customer to contact your business. Many times, prospective customers will look for a contact form or a live chat. This allows a customer to get information about their problem and your solution without commitment. As a business, this allows you to get a quick lead.
You’ve seen these before. It’s a slideshow that cycles through a few photos with text. They are often on the homepage and one of the first things you see.
They used to be extremely popular a few years ago. Businesses are still holding onto them, because they think they work. They can work if used in the right way, but often it’s a lot of extra information the people don’t read. People don’t sit patiently and read through all the slides. Often, businesses put very important information in the slides, and hope people read them. If people don’t read the slides (most don’t) then that information might as well not even exist on your website.
What you want to do, is put your best foot forward. Don’t have a slideshow. Simply put your most important information (what you want people to see) in the place of your slider. Then take the information from your other slides and put that lower on the page. People aren’t afraid of scrolling down. It used to be common practice to have everything above the fold, but we are all used to scrolling (thanks to all the social media networks).
Free Website Review
Those are the some of the most important things that we see local businesses getting wrong with web design, but there’s a lot more. I’ll write another post continuing this soon.
If you would like us to review your website, give us a call (360) 450-3711 or fill out your information here for your free website review: https://graticle.com/free-website-review