In the age of the internet, a professional business website is more important than an actual office. As more and more people start their own business ventures instead of opting for corporate positions, offices have moved into basements, factories and co-working spaces. With office space no longer the primary concern for a business, the real workplace for most companies is now their website.
Business websites differ from personal websites in many ways. They reflect a company’s image, philosophy and identity. With so much on the website’s shoulder, a corporate website designer is hard-pressed to ensure that the website showcases as much information as possible in the least number of pages, making the highest possible impact, yet not look cluttered or out of place. According to a report by Gartner, mobile devices outnumber personal computers and laptops by a large margin and this has caused websites to become responsive, with similar information being offered across devices, ensuring that the end-user experience is seamless.
Here is our guide that will consider some of the most important features that a business website must adhere to. I bet this will be your lucky ticket to success!
With great websites comes great design. The first impression that a user may have of your website is its striking design, ease of finding the information needed and navigability. With hundreds of themes and styles available today, the job of the designer is much simpler than before but is in no way easy. Each website is different. Not only will websites differ in terms of color schemes and user experience, they will also differ when it comes to iconography and styling. Great websites spend a lot of time discussing and analyzing user experience before they get down to work. With iconographic websites now on the rise to ease responsiveness, great looking icons are there to ensure that a thousand words can now be replaced with imagery.
As portable devices outnumber computers these days, the first item on your checklist for a great website must be its capability to be viewed well on as many devices as possible, also known as responsiveness. Responsive websites have a lower bump rate and ensure that users from all device types have a similar browsing experience, ensuring that visitors do not get frustrated.
Pictures speak a thousand words. This statement can be best illustrated on a website. Websites with great iconography can replace whole paragraphs of content, ensuring that you can showcase more on a page than ever before, reducing the need for lines and lines of content.
Small videos and animations can do what many pages cannot. As videos dominate the apposphere, animations dominate the webosphere. More and more websites today display content as animations instead of words and use voiceovers and callouts to perform tasks that traditionally text used to.
You have a great website. It looks nice. All the information is where you want it to be, but no one can find it. This is probably the biggest problem with all business websites. They are designed well, look great but the information is cluttered and is difficult to find. In short, a well thought out navigation plan for a website can ensure that traffic that reaches the website stays, instead of moving elsewhere.
Along with the navigation, the following features must be necessarily on your website to increase the user experience and helps you to increase your conversion rate:
It’s easy to get lost on a large website. Breadcrumbs assist users in navigating to the page they came from, ensuring that the continuity and the flow of the website is maintained at a glance.
Headers and footers can do what many other navigational elements cannot. Having fixed headers and footers throughout a website ensure uniformity, providing users a way to get to the page they want from wherever they are on a website.
- Call to action buttons
Call to action buttons are assistive navigational elements that ensure that users stay engaged and prompt users where need be, ensuring that users stay involved.
- Search boxes
Search boxes for intra website searches on each page can help users be up and about the website. As search comes naturally to nearly every user, having a search box can be a boon.
- Contact information
Contact information with multiple channel access such as WhatsApp numbers, Skype Id connects and Facebook messenger links can help your users get to you at all times, lowering downtime. Also, it increases the credibility of your website while doing Google verification
Social Media Integration
Having a website that is easy to navigate is not the end of the game. Many brands do not just have a website, they have a social media campaign that goes along with their marketing/branding goals. Having a website that integrates your social media game is an added benefit with far-reaching goals. As users see seamless integration between your Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram/Twitter and other social media handles, they do not feel left out at any time. Social media integration also encourages and drives organic traffic to your website, helping it in rising higher search rankings and ensuring that traffic from a social media outreach directly maps users to your website. Platforms like Hubspot, Hootsuite and Sprout Social can help you manage your social media game well.
A website that is well integrated with the latest technologies and trends will always offer a better user experience compared to a static website that just offers information.
Analytics can help you understand your users better. With in-depth reports and high-level overviews, you can understand if your approach is being used in the best possible way. Tools like Google Analytics, KISSMetrics and Clicky assist users in many ways than one. Analytics can help you make informed decisions about your website.
Heatmaps generated using tools like Crazy Egg and Lucky Orange offer data that can help you analyze what works well and what does not. As users spend more and more time on a page compared to the others, you can optimize the data available on pages to ensure that the content is the way visitors want it.
- User Engagement (Chatbots):
Human interaction is always welcome, but near-human interaction in the form of chatbots is gaining traction and favor these days. Botsify and Mobile Monkey are platforms that can help you get up and running with a bot quickly. As more and more visitors find chatbots easy to interact with, they spend more time doing something that comes naturally to them – interact, rather than reading or viewing.
- OpenID (Google/Facebook sign-in)
Allowing users to log in or create accounts using their preferred service provider (Google or Facebook) can speed up login times and ensure that users get what they want, the way they want to.
- E-commerce and Payment gateways
If users find something worth buying, they would want to buy it right there and then. Having an e-commerce website with an integrated payment gateway like Paytab, Paypal, PayU, Google pay or Amazon Pay can ensure that your users are able to find, research and purchase a product, thereby completing the cycle in one go, on one website without having to jump to another provider.
A CRM or a customer relationship management tool can ensure that you are always able to manage interactions with your customers. As you integrate these tools with your website, you get deep insights into the customer’s interaction with your brand and you improve the quality of customer engagement through relevant data.
- E-mail and SMS Integration
Sending regular updates according to a user’s preferred medium can go a long way in ensuring that they stay connected. As the informational needs of users are met using their preferred mechanisms such as SMS or e-mail, they understand that you know their needs and would rather stay with you than move to a different provider. Services like MailChimp, Plivo and Twilio can help you get up and running in seconds. These simple but powerful tools can up your e-mail and SMS integration game by quite a few notches.
Artificial intelligence is everywhere. From applications to devices to corporate websites, AI is prevalent, omnipresent and needed in today’s world.
Why do we need AI on a website?
Corporate websites are complex. They may have hundreds of navigable pages, with dozens of menu items, making it easy for users to get lost in the myriad of menus and pages. Designers have started leveraging the power of AI by using page visit pattern analysis and other methodologies to ensure that not only do users get a fantastic experience while visiting a website, but they are hand-held in the time of need. Service like wit.ai, Dialogflow, Amazon Lex, IBM Watson and Microsoft LUIS are AI toolkits that can help your website gain from the advantages of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, helping you be on the top of the user lookout game.
How does AI help a website?
- Interaction: Support bots, chatbots and user experience tools can help understand user requirements and make sure that your website bounce rate decreases. Chatbots are the part of any good corporate website’s arsenal that ensures that users stay.
- Search Speeds: AI helps speed up website search with auto suggestions and ensures that visitors reach where they need faster and with minimal frustration.
- Personalization: AI can help personalize offerings to visitors on websites, ensuring that you get what you want, fast.
- Enhance marketing hit-rate: Your marketing team can learn much more than you can imagine, just by leveraging the power of AI and machine learning on your website. Your website is your biggest store. As you gauge your visitors better, you can make informed decisions instead of hit-and-trial methods, resulting in higher revenues and better sale rate.
Spreading the word
Not only are websites pretty and intelligent, but they also need to be informative. As websites continue to attract visitors with their design, irrelevant content or the lack of content altogether can spell havoc on your user count. Informative elements on your website like blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, user manuals and technical documentation can enhance user interest in your website and ensure that you send out information in the manner that is most suited for the information type.
- Blogs with relevant content can ensure that users stay tuned to the information that you provide and provide backlinks and shares, which are relevant for search engine optimization. Blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger are robust and come with a host of tools that can help you start blogging, today!
- EBooks and Whitepapers that are downloadable can give you insights about your user demographics and other vital information that you may wish to capture prior to download.
- Analytics are also as important to a business website as an information. As you can figure out what works best for your website including user geolocation, segmentation and much more, you will be able to fine tune your website using heatmaps and other parameters to your advantage. This will also ensure that relevant content is shared on your website, improving its readability and reliability.
A website is only as good as the tools it integrates with. As a website is primarily created for customers, integration of a website with a CRM or a customer relationship management tool like Salesforce, Zoho or Hubspot is of the utmost importance for any business website. Whether the user is a prospective customer or an existing customer, a website is many times the first avenue a user may turn to when trying to register interest or grievance. As business websites are made for customers, integration with a CRM system can provide valuable feedback about the users and enhance the company’s credibility by ensuring users that their website is not only an info source, but a one-stop solution for all their needs.
Websites that understand their users well can increase their chances of landing a customer by over 40% by just having a website that offers visitors information the information need. We at Volumetree understand this problem and are committed to provide a world-class web experience and nothing less to your customers. Contact us today to get in touch with our web experience experts.
A website that does not perform well is sometimes worse than not having a website. Visitors usually steer clear of websites that take more than three seconds to load. Websites that have complex, heavy graphics and animations are much slower to load and perform worse as compared to optimized websites. GTMetrix and Uptrends can help you figure out the performance bottlenecks in your website and give you data that can be analyzed by your web development speed and figure out what needs to be fixed before you start losing users.
- Loading speed
If you have a great website that takes more than three seconds to load, it will seem to perform worse than a simplistic website that loads quickly because website visitors have a lot of options and are mostly impatient. Tools like GTMetrix or Uptrends can help you analyze your website speed and fix bottlenecks. Optimizing graphics, ensuring fast connectivity between your website backend and front end can also speed up your page loading process.
- Broken Links
A website that looks great but has not been tested well to ensure that users do not stare at 404s or a blank page at some places will far worse than a website that ensures that every links works the way it is supposed to. Tools like Brokenlinkchecker can ensure that you do not miss anything while testing your website for broken links.
Search engine optimization ensures that visitors can find your website on the web even if they accidentally close an incognito tab. A well-researched set of keywords and optimized content will ensure that your visitors find you again if they need to.
We hope these points helped you clear many of your existing checklists. If you do not have a checklist of must-have items for your website, get in touch with us today so we can help you curate the best experience your users may have yet. A website is not just some pages on the internet, it is your corporate identity and a living, breathing repository of data that you can leverage to enhance your reach and one-up your business rivals at the outset.