Only you know your customers and their needs. You are the expert when it comes to your products and service offerings. The process of building your website should be a joint venture between you the business owner and the web designer or programmer.
Never approach the task of building your website as a small one. A website is a big deal for your business. There is more to a website than just the colors, design and look. A website is business tool and when you hire someone to build it you want to make sure they do it right and in such a way that it helps your business grow.
Your website is an extension of your physical business
Why is a website project such a big deal? Put simply, because your website is a replica of your business online. Think about everything that your business does. You do marketing, sales, production, customer service and customer support. Your website is supposed to do these very same things, the only difference is that it’s being done online. This is one of the biggest failures i see Zimbabwean businesses make almost every-time.
Having a website is supposed to eliminate the need for a customer to travel to your shop or offices. If you have a website and i still need to visit you physically then what’s the point of having it anyway? Treat your website as your physical business. Let it not fail to serve customers who have visited it. Would you let customers walk away from your offices without doing everything you can to serve them? Don’t let your website do that.
Treat your website as an employee
Most business people are willing to pay $400 or more every month as a salary for their employees. When it comes to their website they only want to pay $100 once off. This is where most websites fail- before they are even built. Your website is important.
This one website can serve as your marketing representative, attracting lots of people and website traffic. It acts as your salesperson showing visitors your products and orienting them on your services. Your website also acts as your cashier, accepting payments for what you offer and invoicing clients straight to their inboxes. It’s your customer support representative, it’s your PR guy and much more.
Address the needs of your target customers
When people visit your website it’s not because they have nothing to do. They are on your website because they have certain needs they believe you can meet. When you build your website keep this in mind. We are building this website for our customers. They must find it easy to use, they must understand the language you use and feel comfortable. You can’t build the website for everyone.
You need to know the specific customer or customer group that you are trying to reach. When you have this information about your target market you are able to build a much much more successful website. Remember, this is your business website but we are building it for your target customers.
Make it easy to contact you
I have been to websites where i have left because the people did not put their physical address. Too many times i see websites with just a contact form and no phone numbers whatsoever. When you are building a website in Zimbabwe, keep this in mind. People trust businesses they can physically visit for verification. Make sure that it’s easy to locate you and to contact you. Display your phone numbers, address and your map location.
Feature and explain your products
There are websites that you visit that make you wonder ‘what exactly do these people do?’ They tell you that they offer integrated solutions for business communication. What exactly is that? Make your products and services clear. If possible, afford each product a dedicated page to fully explain what it is, what it does and it’s features. Any questions that customers frequently ask about that product should be asked right there on the website. How much will it cost? How do i buy? Can i get it different colors? Make it easy to do business with you.
Show off your skills
You are in business most probably because you are an expert in a particular skill. You have been educated, trained and perfected in that skill. But then again there are people who are out there to make a quick buck and do not care about professional work. So how do you prove that you are the real deal? One the ways to do that is show visitors to your website that you are really skilled. Show them a portfolio of some of the works you have worked on. Give them proof that you are genuine. Have you worked on other projects before? Show them that.
Prove your expertise
When looking for a service provider i am always asking myself ‘Can this person deliver, do they have the expertise to pull this?’. Proving your expertise is a must. Zimbabwe has an unemployment rate of more than 90%. Where do you think these 90% are? They are there on the streets running businesses. Some are good but the majority are not professionals, they just saw someone doing something and thought that they could do the same. It’s all about the money to them.
So exactly how do you prove that you are an expert? An expert is a person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area. One of the best ways to prove that you are an expert on a particular subject is by writing articles on your website blog. This way you get to reach out to a targeted audience and prove that you are not a fly by the night.
Display customer testimonials and reviews
If you have been in business for sometime then you obviously have quite a number of customers. What do these customers think of your products and services? Would they recommend others to do business with you? You can do this by displaying customer testimonials on your website. The best approach is to ask your customers for an honest review of your products and services. You can then list these on your website.
So there you have it. The proper way to build a website! Do you have anything to add to the list above? Tell us in the comments.