Many SME owners started their online marketing business full of hope and optimism, no doubt dreaming about how they would soon dominate their niche market and be able to sit back and watch the sales roll in.
The problem for many businesses, however, is that this sense of optimism soon dissipates when conversions start to stagnate. Naturally many SMEs who find themselves in this position tend to blame the lack of sales on the general state of the economy and recessionary pressures. All of which would be fine if these pressures affected every business equally. The problem is they don’t.: somebusinesses are still thriving and seeing their conversion rates increase.
It’s true: have a look around at some of your direct competitors and you’ll find that they appear to be prospering whilst your business is struggling.
So, here’s the question for you: what are these SMEs doing differently?
Why are they still growing at your expense? Well, the answer is they are probably constantly fine-tuning their websites, and keeping them fresh and relevant. A website is only as good as the amount of work you’re prepared to put into it. If you want to re-discover that initial sense of optimism and hope and see the conversion rates increasing once again, then you have to put a shift in and keep your website professional and vibrant. So, here a few design and content tips that could breathe new life in your tired old website. In the first part of the article we’ll have a look at a few design tips that could spice up your website and give it the pizazz it lacks.
- The trick to good website design lies in making the design unique and memorable:
- Try to be different and don’t run with the pack. There’s little point serving up the same sort of stilted design that all your competitors are using. Have a look at what they’re offering, and then try something else. Dare to be different.
- Make sure your design has real visual impact. Make it punchy and memorable. Don’t limit yourself to columns of boring text: if you’ve got access to lots of pictures and videos, then use them. Pictures and images tend to create a more immediate and lasting effect on the viewer.
- Decide which typeface is the best match for your business, and then stick to it. Varying typefaces, colours and text sizes will probably only undermine the quality of your content.
- Is your site quick to load and easy to navigate? If it’s not, then you need to change it. If your site is difficult to get into or confusing, then you’ll lose potential custom as your visitors bounce away to the competition.
- A clean and crisp website that is free from clutter and distraction is more pleasing on the eye. If there are too many icons and widgets on the screen, then you’ll only irritate any potential visitor. Now there’s nothing wrong with icons and shortcuts, as long as they’re proportionate and useful. So if you want a link to , , Google+ and an RSS feed, that’s fine – add it to the homepage.
- The only word of caution you should remember is that that these links are portals to your main website. What you want ideally is for visitors to find the main site and stay there, and not for them to immediately navigate away to a subsidiary site. Think carefully about the positioning of these icons: make them obvious enough to see, but not too obvious to make them a distraction.