beginner's guide to websites

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  • Beginners guide to websites Why being online is smart for business



  • Why should I have a website?

    21 Sensis eBusiness Report 2014

    These days if businesses dont have an online presence it can really work against them. More than 92% of Australians now look for products and services online1 so its more important than ever to be in the same place as them.

    Often the first interaction your potential customers will have with you is when they look for you online needless to say its important to create the right impression early on.

    You should aim to look professional when creating a website and you should also make sure you are clear about your objectives.

    It may seem obvious, but many people set off building their website without really knowing their ultimate aim. Is it to encourage offline contact? Is it to encourage email sign-ups? Conversions? Sales? Phone calls? To build your brand expertise reputation?


    66% of small businesses have a website. Do you?

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    Website essentials

    A professional website can play a major role in boosting your profile. It gives customers more confidence in your business, it lets people find you 24 hours a day and it can help sell your products and services even after youve gone home for the night.

    When choosing a supplier to help create and maintain your website, it should be easy and cost effective. Now more than ever, website suppliers should be able to give you loads of choice with a variety of packages and different designs to choose from.

    Website must-havesl Simple design

    clarity about your products and services is vital. It shouldnt be too distracting.

    l It should build trust how you speak to your viewers should be clear, engaging and true to your brand.

    l It should work well on all screens including laptops, tablets and mobiles.




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    Simplicity is vital

    A simple design helps get all your important messages across quickly and effectively, and the reader is never in doubt about the purpose of your website or how to use it.

    While its tempting to want all the bells and whistles offered by a complicated design, keeping clutter to a minimum is vital so that essential information such as your contact and product pages is clearly visible.

    Dont overwhelm customers with everything you can offer in one go. Ensure the basics are as clear as possible and its easy to find links to the previous page, next page, top or bottom or page, back to the homepage and breadcrumbs.

    Ensure your product descriptions are clear and include text, photos, videos, reviews, shipping information and FAQs.

    Keep it simple to read with easy-to-navigate links and clear pricing. Never assume that because you understand your site, others will too.

    Top tipsl Make sure the key

    information about your business is easy to find your website is often where your customers first experience your brand so make it a good experience.

    l Eye-catching imagery and a simple, slick design makes for a great website.

    l Include contact information because if your customers cant reach you how will you help them?

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    User experience

    Customers need the ability to find what theyre looking for really easily. Its important to create the best user experience for your customer if you want them to make a purchase after just a few clicks.

    The other attribute of great websites is content thats accessible, inviting, fun and informative. A website consumers want to come back to goes that extra yard to offer additional content such as how-to guides and videos, industry news and information on issues which matter to people browsing the site.

    Making the effort to produce quality content can not only increase traffic and help to establish your business as a thought leader, it demonstrates your expertise.

    In turn, that builds trust and confidence in your business, which helps to move leads from the top of the funnel to the bottom.

    Features of a good website

    A good website that includes certain functions like a pricing tool doesnt cost anything to provide but will help your customers.

    Contact forms on your website are helpful for customer service also. You can link this to an SMS so that youre advised if someone contacts you. Keep the form simple by asking for a reason, name and phone number so that it is convenient for customers to complete.

    Other key website features include opening hours, customer testimonials, great imagery and links to social media pages if its appropriate for your business.

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    What do your customers need?

    The first mistake many businesses make is to consider what they want to include on their website, as opposed to what their customers want to know about the business.

    The experience a potential customer has on your site will be the difference between them leaving in a hurry or a quick sale. Once visitors land on your site, make sure they can find what theyre looking for quickly and efficiently.

    People are used to certain useability features of the internet. These include business logos usually appearing in the top-left corner, an About Us section which helps them decide whether to engage with a business and navigations being in the same place on each page.

    Websites are read from left to right (in an F-shape), in much the same way as print materials, so put your logo in the top-left corner of the site.

    If youre creating a shopping cart, that information should be in the top-right corner of the site.

    In addition, ensure your site pages are pleasing to the eye and that all the links work. All the pages of your site need to load quickly. And if you offer e-commerce on your site, make sure you shop on it yourself every few weeks to be sure the experience is quick, enjoyable and trouble-free.

    Top tipsl Make sure the

    headlines and body copy on each page mention your suburb and city for local searches.

    l Make sure navigation bars have clear, large links to help people quickly get to the most useful information.

    l The About Us section is the second or third most visited page of a website. Make sure its easy to understand and written in concise language.

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    Does your website look good on mobile screens?

    Theres no denying the power of mobile. The mobile phone market is near saturation point, with more mobiles in Australia than Australians.

    Mobile sites are often an afterthought for small businesses putting together a website. Although with 78% of Australian mobile users researching products on their phone, its essential that your website displays perfectly in the mobile environment.1

    Of course, this also applies to tablets and laptops because often websites built for just a desktop experience will suffer on a smaller, portrait orientated mobile screen.

    1 Global Digital Statistics 2014 Report Social, Digital and Mobile from around the world January 2014

    If your website is not optimised for mobile, theres a real chance that the general experience for people viewing it on their smartphones or tablets isnt good. And thats not going to bode well for customer engagement and sales.

    Therefore, you want a website that works on all devices so that your business information can be found quickly and easily by a customer.

    It needs to be responsive so that the right information is displayed at the right size for mobile viewing, but most importantly, the site absolutely must load quickly.



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    Mobiles are a game changer

    Typical mobile device users have even less patience than PC users, so just that half-a-second too long and they will move on to another website.

    Also, bear in mind that most mobile searches actually occur at home on the couch while watching TV and concentrating on other things, so customers wont be giving your mobile site their undivided attention.

    26% of small businesses have a website that works well on mobiles1Does yours?

    1 Sensis eBusiness Report 2014

    Top tips

    Make sure your website has the ability to send the details to someone else via text or email, or save it in the users contact list.

    Ensure your site is thumb-friendly by using big, unmistakable buttons for your calls to action, such as call us.

    Remember that not all mobile devices are the same. Operating systems, screen sizes and user experiences differ.

    Mobile users dont want to know everything about you. A catalogue, some store locations and contact details are usually what theyre after when searching from a mobile.

  • Is your website linked in to social media?

    No matter what kind of business youre running, social media is a key part of a successful website.

    It is the new word of mouth blogs, review sites and social media platforms are now places for customers to turn to for open and honest business recommendations.

    You should give your website a competitive edge by showing your customers youre active in their favourite social media channels.

    You dont need to use every medium pick one or two and use them well. Many businesses dont know who their ideal client is and just use social media because everyone else is but dont make that mistake.

    Build a websiteGet found on GoogleUse social mediaSensis makes online marketing easy. Find out more at

    Well help your business:

    You should provide users with a direct click-through to social media platforms such as your business Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Links for Facebooks like button and Twitters follow button are surefire ways of increasing your social medi