Building a website for your business is a very exciting but also very daunting task!
Websites are, for better or worse, a necessity. A digital representation of you and your brand, easily able to be found in the sprawling web of...everything that is the internet. Even more challenging is not just having a website, but having a good website. After all, easier, cleaner, better, fresher websites have a much better chance of getting a customer to purchase with you.
The big question is: what goes into a good website? Chances are, many of these will be familiar to you. So let's parse out the specific reasons why each of the moves detailed below could help set you up for digital success.
Must-Haves:A way to capture email addresses
The success of your business rests on the people you are able to reach and convert into buyers. The more people you reach, the higher your chances are of selling. Because of this, you need to collect and protect any customer contact information you receive! If a person is on your website they are interested at best and they have accidentally found you at worst. Providing them with a way to enter their email address means you have a shot at selling them something now or down the line.
If you are interested in learning about ways to use those email addresses, here is a blog on Email Marketing 101.High quality images of your work and product
When you have a product-based business, images mean everything!Simple, easy-to-understand copy and navigation
One of the easiest ways for your potential customers to leave your website is by making it difficult for them to find the information they need. Keep your words as simple as possible. Have a drop down with the most important pages or a top navigation bar with the most important tabs.
Make sure it is mobile friendly
Most customers are shopping on their phones these days! You want to make sure your website is compatible with the ways your customers are looking to purchase products.
These days, just about everyone is doing some form of online shopping. And while the quality of the product is incredibly important, people also want to know more about the person or people behind that product! It is an opportunity for the potential customer to connect with your story - why you started working in this field, what drives/motivates you and your overall mission.Links to your social media platforms
Just as your social media platforms should link to your website, the opposite is also true! Your website is a more buttoned-up, somewhat static version of you while your social media platforms are consistently adding more photos/posts/reels and giving a deeper insight into your personality and what it might be like to work with you!Contact information
You want to make it as easy as possible for potential and/or returning customers to reach you. People hate roadblocks. If they’re trying to reach out to you, it’s because they need your specific attention for something (a new sale, a customer service issue, etc). Making it difficult to find a way to contact you will harm customer sentiment. After all, think about how happy of a customer you are when you’re caught in a customer service phone tree, or can’t talk to a human, or stay on hold for hours. Remove the hurdles wherever possible!FAQ page
This is a great page to explain how things work or answer any common questions. With sola wood flowers, we are often asked what they are, where they come from, how to care for them, can they be used outside, etc. Here is a blog with a few of the most common questions we have seen from customers looking to purchase from a sola flower florist.
The FAQ page is also where you can tell customers about your return policy, production/shipping times and any policies, procedures, terms or conditions that you may have.A Call-to-Action
When people are viewing your website, consider what you want them to do while there. For the most part, the answer is going to be “buy something!” Other options can include signing up for your newsletter, submitting a request for an event quote, etc. Every page on your website should have a link or field that is asking your customer to take the action you want them to take.
Here are some additional (but not mandatory!) ideas for your website:A standalone retail platform
When you are starting out, you can link to your Etsy page, Amazon Handmade or another third party ecommerce website to have the buyers complete their transaction. While it is ideal for the customer to be able to buy directly on your website, sometimes it is more cost effective to do so elsewhere.A weekly/monthly/quarterly blog
Blogs can provide another touchpoint with your customers. Not only will they show people your knowledge in certain areas, they provide a space to help boost your SEO and a means to share extra content with your customers. A weekly, monthly or quarterly blog gives you a reason to send a newsletter to those email addresses you are collecting on your website without it being overly sales-y.A chat option
Being able to connect with someone while they are browsing your website to answer any questions can help the customer to make their purchase immediately.Customer testimonials
These are in the “Nice-to-Have” category simply because any business that has them on their site should make sure the best of the best are up. As a consumer myself, I know that customer testimonials on any business website are going to be positive so I don’t put as much weight behind them.
One final piece of advice before you put on your web designer hat: you want to put your most critical information above the fold. This is a term that refers to everything immediately visible on your website without your customer having to scroll.
Anything key, such as a call-to-action or a way to contact you, should be immediately visible. Any information below this area discourages the discovery of that information. So that’s more ideal for information that won’t directly encourage sales or a positive customer experience.Websites are a fine balance of art and science. It’s likely you’ll have to tweak, experiment, or even start over along the way. And that’s ok! Just put on your customer hat, think about what feels clean and usable to you, and then launch and watch your business grow.