By Bill McDonough, Managing Partner, Scribendi Digital Marketing
According to a 2019 report from the Small Business Administration (SBA), only 64% of the 30 million businesses in the U.S. have a website. In an age where so many people spend so much time online, the lack of a functional, active website is hard to imagine.
Then again, having a poorly conceived and executed website may be even more of a problem, especially now that the global pandemic has forced so many B2B and B2C buyers to shift their research and purchasing online. It is estimated that 80% of customers research a business online before making a decision to make contact. What impression will they get when they visit your website (assuming you are one of the 64% of business that has one)?
A Stanford University study reveals that visitors judge a company’s credibility by its website design. When people browse a website, they want easy navigation, attractive design, and relevant content. The Stanford research found that the top ten factors contributing to a successful website are:
- Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site with third-party citations, references, and reviews.
- Show that there’s a real organization behind your site with a physical address and proof of links to the wider business community.
- Highlight the expertise within your organization by citing credentials and providing relevant content.
- Show that your company is honest and trustworthy by showcasing management and staff with bios and highlighting customer reviews and testimonials.
- Make it easy to contact your company by making your email, phone number and mailing address easy to find.
- Make sure your website design is professional by paying attention to layout, typography, images and a consistent visual design.
- Make your site easy to use and useful, with simplified navigation that leads to helpful information.
- Update content often, as people assign more credibility to sites that have been recently updated or reviewed.
- Use restraint with promotional content, avoiding ads and pop-ups.
- Maintain your site to avoid errors, downtime, and minor glitches that can annoy and distract visitors.
Another study by marketing research firm Clutch uncovered the following preferences people want in a website:
- 94% say easy navigation is the most important website feature
- 83% appreciate when a website looks attractive and up to date
- 50% will leave a website permanently if the content is irrelevant
- 91% find both product descriptions and visuals equally important
- 67% think websites with links to the company’s social media account are extremely or somewhat useful
- 50% think company blogs are useful
What does all this tell you? With in-person meetings and shopping impossible – and most likely to be permanently replaced by the convenience of online research – it is more important than ever that your company’s website makes the right impression. The future of your business depends on it.
Bill McDonough is Managing Partner of Scribendi Digital Marketing.