Imagine your grocery store is like a video game. You go in, grab your satchel and nothing is on display. You have to talk to the right people and search in the right spots to find the map and compass that will lead you to where the eggs and milk are. Once there, you must have the right weapon to defeat the big boss or you have leave without your dairy.
Might be Fun, Right?
Once or twice. Then, you realize it’s exhausting having to battle separate bosses for your dairy, meat, fruit and grains, that the next closest grocery store is only an extra mile from your house and they still do it the old-fashioned way, by lining groceries up on shelves. The next time you need to shop, you skip the fight and go straight for the easy experience.
The moral of the story is this: When people want to play video games, they want to play video games. When they are looking for a product, they don’t want to go on a mission. Remember this when choosing your small business’s Web host and building your website. You can’t expect conversions from a site where you’ve hidden everything.
Building for Conversions
Just like the grocery store hangs signs telling visitors what they can find down each aisle, the pages of your website need to be clearly labeled. If you’re creating a retail site, for instance, the purpose of the website is to get people to shop, so make sure those links are easy to find. Different retailers lay their sites out in different way with equal success. Macy’s includes a list of popular shopping categories, such as Women, Men and Juniors, on their homepage, while Amazon has a drop-down list of categories on their homepage. The key is to make sure consumers can find product. If they can’t get to product from the homepage, it’s a bad retail site.
Even sites that don’t sell product should be selling on the first page. If you offer a service, like Web design, consumers should be able to get to your services from the homepage. When you make services easy to find, people will go to them.
Directing Search Engines
When it comes to online business, the more information you give consumers the better. If they can get an idea of who you are from your site, you help build trust, which is essential for online business. Your business website should, at the very least, have a home page that states what your company is and does, an about page with info about your company and your team, a product or service page that tells consumers what you offer, and contact information.
All of these pages should have direct links paths from the homepage. That doesn’t mean links for the pages have to appear on the homepage, but there does need to be a pathway. For instance, link home to the about page and the about page to a gallery of company photos. Web crawlers can follow that path.
To make navigation easy for consumers, and to ensure search engines can easily find the data on your pages, your site also needs a site map. It tells both visitors and search engines where everything is on the site, so they can easily navigate.
Business Web Hosting for Conversions
While site design is essential for conversions and search engines, your Web hosting also plays a big part. Good business hosting keeps your website up almost 100% of the time, and poor hosting can leave your site down for hours or even days. For consumers, that’s like going to the grocery store and finding it closed at 3 p.m. on a weekday.
If search engines crawl your website when the site is down, they can’t see your content and you may lose your placement in search results. This makes it difficult for consumers to find you.
You can’t expect 100% uptime from any Web host, but your site should be up 99.999% of the time or you need a new host.
When it comes to building your business website, consumers need to know who you are, what you offer and how to get in touch with you, and this information should be easy to find from the first page. An easily navigated website encourages repeat visits and helps with brand recognition. Make the user experience easy, and they will remember you.