How to use your website to win customers

UK, small businesses are being urged to be cleverer with their websites to give themselves a competitive edge.

A recent survey suggests that four-fifths of businesses have websites with a further 11% planning to introduce one within the next year. With all this competition, Microsoft has offered some tips on how to make your site stand out from the crowd.

Stephanie Thorn of Microsoft points out that “a professional design can go a long way to winning new customers and keeping existing customers loyal.” To get an idea of good and bad website designs, she suggests looking at the variety of company sites on the internet.

Microsoft has produced its top 10 tips to make the best of your website.

  • 1. Check for quality: your website is your shop window and should look fresh and reflects what your business does. Ensure that any graphics or pictures are clear and that grammar and spelling are correct.
  • 2. Something for everyone: people use websites in different ways so make navigation simple and create different routes to the various pages of the site.
  • 3. Be contactable: always include phone and email contact details. Not only is this a legal requirement if you are selling through your site, but it also gives customers an option if they have a problem with the site.
  • 4. Stay up-to-date: ensure all pricing and stock information is correct.
  • 5. Find a good and reliable web host: the host processes orders and keeps financial information secure, so should be chosen carefully.
  • 6. Make sure people know you’re there: ensure you are listed on search engines and consider an affiliate programme with other businesses, which could increase your customer base.
  • 7. Collect customer information: use visitors’ email addresses to build a database of existing and potential customers. Ensure they know how the information will be used and give the option of not submitting their details.
  • 8. Monitor your site: use Analytics to track who visits your site, what they look at and how long they stay.
  • 9. How healthy is your site? Regularly check that it is functioning quickly and properly.
  • 10. Make people want to come back: update your site regularly to keep it fresh and interesting for visitors to return to.

See also: The pros and cons of selling through your own website – One of the most important decisions you have to make as an online seller is where you should do your selling. One entrepreneur explains why she uses her own website rather than eBay and other major selling platforms.

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