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Thousands of transactions take place online every day. Buyers meet sellers as they search for the product or service that meets their needs. In this evolving global e-commerce environment, you have more opportunities to win new customers; however, in the early phases, your website will have to do most of that work for you. The more effective your business website is, the more prospective customers you can attract and interact with. You can learn how to create a highly effective business website by including each of the following elements.

Provide Visitors Witha Map

When you want to go somewhere unfamiliar, you need directions. Whether you are traveling on foot, by car or online, you need a map that answers your questions. The simpler the navigation — or the directions — on your website, the easier visitors will locate what they need. You can test this out while your website is still under construction by asking people who have not seen your website before to locate certain products, find out how to contact you and perform other tasks visitors do online. If they are able to complete these in just a few seconds, your business website builder is doing its job.

Tell Visitors What to DoUpon Arrival

Perhaps you don’t like being told what to do in face-to-face interactions, but in the online world, communications are different. A potential customer may visit your website because something initially caught hisinterest, but hewill only stay if you tellhimwhat to do and where to go next. You must point out why your company is special and what exactly is so special about it. There are various ways to do this. Some websites use pop-up advertisements or free offers, while other websites invite new visitors to join the company’s mailing list. Still other websites entice customers with “online only” discounts. Whatever you want visitors to notice about your website, tell them at the beginning of their visit and then guide them to the page where they can place their order.

Be Transparent and Trustworthy

Online communications lack one essential element of trust-building: face-to-face interactions. Approximately 90 percent of all communication is nonverbal in face-to-face situations, so your website must close the gap between what the visitor reads on each page, and what heneeds to see and hear to trust your products and services over a competitor’s. From your domain name to the set-up of your online store, customers need a reason to trust you. Let them know that their transactions are secure and their communications are confidential. Make it clear that if they are not happy, you are not happy. Share authentic testimonials from other satisfied customers and industry partners. If your company or its products have won awards, prominently display those on your website. Make sure your Frequently Asked Questions page covers both the obvious questions and those questions customers may be afraid to ask. This becomes especially important when learning how to make your own website. As you build your site, you must think from both the company and the customer perspective so your site can instantly establish trustworthy online connections.

Keep Them Coming Back

Finally, when you are establishing any kind of relationship, repeat communication is key. You want to provide useful tools and content on your business website that will encourage visitors to return. Many business websites provide a blog and social media links so customers have many ways to interact with them. Before posting new content, ask yourself if you would share it with your own colleagues, friends or family. If so, your customers are likely to find it interesting and will want to share it with others too.

By following these guidelines, your website will be well-positioned to create and maintain trust-based customer relationships that can help your business grow.

About the Author: Lynne Perry teaches business marketing at her alma mater. Her classes focus on strategies for facilitating strong online connections between companies and customers.

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