Jonny Marshall

Member Article

How to make your website work better

Nick Reavill, co founder of www.supersimpleshop.com, the innovative software that allows businesses to set up their own fully transactional websites at the click of a button, shares his thoughts on how to refresh and improve your existing website without having to spend a penny.

You’ve spent time, money and effort creating a website. But what happens when it starts to look dated and is in desperate need of a refresh but you don’t have the budget – or resources – for a complete overhaul? Nick Reavill, director and co-founder of online shop builder Super Simple Shop offers some suggestions on how to make your existing website work harder for you.

“Creating your website is only the first step; you need to encourage customers to return time and again and continually attract new visitors. If you think that your website seems a bit stale, chances are that others will too.

“In most cases, a complete redesign is not necessary. If you are totally refreshing your brand or your website is no longer reflective of your business, then yes, a full overhaul could be the best solution, but in the majority of cases, some simple tweaks and additions will be extremely effective.

“Firstly, if you are not already using it, engage Google Analytics to see who is currently visiting your site, where they are from and what they are doing on your site. You may find that regular visitors head to the same sections because they are so familiar with the layout. This can be good as you want your site to be easy to navigate but there could be other areas where they could see a wider product range or learn about other services you offer that they are simply missing out on.

“Decide what information is most important to communicate and ensure that this is clearly displayed at the top of the front page. Many people try to have too much going on – you need to prioritise the main functions of your website; is it to create awareness of your business, is it to generate sales, is it a combination of the two and what balance do you need to strike?

“Make certain that your website offers visitors something to do. If you sell your products via your website then make sure this is attractive, informative and simple to use. The buying process must be easy –we developed Super Simple Shop with the retailer and the customer in mind to ensure that sellers can easily upload products to their website but also that buyers can find what they are looking for. Get people to test your site – they will no doubt come across things that you may not necessarily consider.

“Providing a newsletter is a popular way to inform customers about new products and developments so consider including a sign up option; again, test how easy it is for a user and don’t request too much information –a name and email address is sufficient.

“Encourage regular visits to your site by providing updated content. Create a news page to display press releases and consider starting a blog. If you go down this route, have plenty of information and ideas in mind – you need to keep this section fresh because readers will stop visiting if it is not regularly updated. It’s worth including links to relevant news stories and articles about your industry or will be of general interest to your customers so your website becomes a source of wider information.

“In the same way as we crave fresh content when we visit a site, so too does google and other search engines. Writing a blog allows search engines to see that new content is being added on a regular basis which will help to improve your ranking or SEO as you might have heard it talked about.

“Within your blog you could consider including a hints and tips section to demonstrate to your customers your knowledge and expertise. This does not mean that you need to give away all your trade secrets but can be useful suggestions on how to care for your products, gift suggestions for special occasions or how to wrap the perfect present. These will help to differentiate you from your competitors and give visitors more reasons to look at your website and spend longer browsing it when they do.

“Try to make your blog engaging and inviting for people to post a comment. Ask questions of the reader that they feel compelled to read. You needn’t write brand new content each time, perhaps ask customers to draft something about how they have benefited from using your product or services or use topical news stories as a hook for you to comment on.

“Using tools such as google alerts and other such news gathering sites can be a great source of reference.

“If you sell your products via your website look at how you can encourage further sales. Display a best-selling or a seasonal line on the home page to draw customers straight in. Give new products top billing and if you have special offers or sales happening, ensure that these are prominent and immediately accessible. In general, the searching and buying process must be easy – customers want to be able to clearly see what products are available so list by categories and the checkout process must be simple and secure.

“Finally, provide a call to action – whether this is purchasing a product, signing up for a newsletter or commenting upon a news article or blog and offer as many opportunities for visitors to give you feedback and interact via your website as possible.”

Nick Reavill is a director and co-founder of Super Simple Shop, the online shop builder which has been created to offer small and independent retailers a cost effective, simple to use and efficient solution to sell their products online. For further information please visit www.supersimpleshop.com

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Jonny Marshall .

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