Why Your Website Matters More Than Ever

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:

  1. Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site with third-party citations, references, and reviews.
  2. Show that there’s a real organization behind your site with a physical address and proof of links to the wider business community.
  3. Highlight the expertise within your organization by citing credentials and providing relevant content.
  4. Show that your company is honest and trustworthy by showcasing management and staff with bios and highlighting customer reviews and testimonials.
  5. Make it easy to contact your company by making your email, phone number and mailing address easy to find.
  6. Make sure your website design is professional by paying attention to layout, typography, images and a consistent visual design.
  7. Make your site easy to use and useful, with simplified navigation that leads to helpful information.
  8. Update content often, as people assign more credibility to sites that have been recently updated or reviewed.
  9. Use restraint with promotional content, avoiding ads and pop-ups.
  10. 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:

  1. 94% say easy navigation is the most important website feature
  2. 83% appreciate when a website looks attractive and up to date
  3. 50% will leave a website permanently if the content is irrelevant
  4. 91% find both product descriptions and visuals equally important
  5. 67% think websites with links to the company’s social media account are extremely or somewhat useful
  6. 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.