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3 Tips to Make Your Website Actually Useful
Web design

3 Tips to Make Your Website Actually Useful

March 22, 2024

Gone are the days of a "form over function" internet. Where once the basic novelty of seeing a business online, in any manner, was often enough. Now, today's more clever audiences simply want to get where they are going. So with the priorities of today's company websites being speed and ease of use, here are 3 suggestions that can be sure you are providing your customers the information they need in the best way possible to help you make conversions either on your site or in person.

1. Where is the business?

Contact info is the most vital information you can have on the internet. Seems easy enough, yet a lot of well-intentioned sites make this info hard to locate. Studies show that users will have a tendency to take a look at the top left corner of your site first, like they're reading a book. This is where the most significant information should be, your contact info-- do not make customers scour the page searching for a way to locate your business.

There is lots of data you can include in the contact information section. The key is finding the balance of information overload vs. unnecessary ambiguity. There are three things you need to specifically include:

Hours of operation

People looking for this information are likely close to purchasing, so having your hours of operation provided accurately and in a way that's easy to read is a top priority. Here are two examples, one bad and one good, to showcase how your hours should be listed online

Do not do it like this:

We are open Mondays-- 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Tuesdays-- 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Wednesdays-- 8:00 am-7:00 pm, Thursdays-- 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Fridays-- 8:00 am-7:00 pm, Saturdays 12:00 pm-5:00 pm and the service shop is also open until 7:00 pm.

Looks difficult to read, right? It does not look nice, it's hard to look at specific days, and you don't know if the service shop is only open on Saturdays, or if it's always open until 7:00 pm every evening.

A much better example:

Sales:

Mon 8-- 5

Tues 8-- 5

Wed 8-- 7

Thurs 8-- 5

Fri 8-- 7

Sat 12-- 5

Sun Closed

Service:

Mon-Sat: 12-- 7

Looks a lot nicer, right? It's a lot easier to read and find the information you need. The most vital part is to make sure the hours are accurate. Even if it takes an additional line to better explain a confusing set of hours, consumers really appreciate knowing when they can expect your business to be open.

Address

Unless you're an online store, your address is a necessary part of your contact listing. But similar to hours of operation there are a number of ways to share your location. Here is how we recommend it. Provide enough information so that Google maps can find the business. For individuals in big cities, oftentimes just your street address is sufficient. But if your business is a little hard to find, consider linking to a map application, or have the map directly on the website. If you're going that path, make sure to use an accredited map engine like Google Maps, as opposed to a hand-drawn creation. Users have a tendency to be a lot more knowledgeable about popular map formats and may get confused/scared at the sight of your lovely artwork.

Phone number

This is the number where consumers can most easily reach you. Businesses with multiple departments equipped with individual phone lines, may want to put those on a "Contact Us" page. There's no point in cluttering your home page with 30 different phone numbers. Companies should have one phone number on the homepage display to be a catch-all for any questions. Don't forget an area code for those out-of-town customers. Make it easy for on-the-go customers to press a button and have their mobile device ring the company right away.

2. Who is the business?

You likely have a lot to say about your business so the real challenge here is the distillation of your story. Here, think about the company from the customer's point of view; what makes you special? Why are you better than their competitors? What do you offer customers? These inquiries will likely shed light on the most important information to share, at least at the top of the page.

Once you've obtained your top level info cased, consider making a method for interested consumers to learn even more about the business. There you can dive deeper into your history, philosophy, and share any achievements or media coverage your company has had in its past.

3. What does the business do?

This is where functionality needs to be the highest priority. Consumers are looking for validation that your business is what they are searching for at the moment they are browsing. You can't afford to have this information be anything but concise, easy to locate, and really useful. It's difficult to know the exact right strategy for your company but an approach we suggest is having a look at your closest competitors for insight.

Take a look at those websites and assume the point of view of their customer. If you like something about the way their website works, make a note. If you find something really inconvenient or confusing, once again, make a note. Have these notes inform your approach.

Final Thought

Many people think a website should be an online version of your company. In reality, this is basically impossible. A website is more like a messenger for your company. It's a tool for relaying information regarding the business to potential customers. If your messenger is long-winded, complicated and tries to use flashy bright colors to get attention, the consumer is not going to be connected. If your messenger delivers all the information in a simple, concise and memorable manner, consumers will be much more likely to connect. It is pretty likely a site is the first impression the consumer might have of your company-- remember, you just have one chance to make a first impression!

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