What does your website say about your business?

Here is a surprising statistic: Only slightly more than half of American small businesses have a website.

Half! And too many of those who do have websites don’t take them seriously.

Like it or not, your website is often the first impression you make on potential customers. First impressions matter. So what is your website saying about your business?

It should tell your story

Your website is a reflection of your brand and its history. I don’t say that to mean that it should be a long form novel! But every aspect – from the design to the copy – are an impression of your brand’s values and culture.

That is why it is important to keep your site fresh! Don’t let it age and become a relic of the early Web. Your business lives in the present, and so should your website!

What message is your business trying to send to customers? That should be reflected in your website’s content as well as its aesthetics.

Function reduces frustration

Don’t be afraid to cut the fat. Remember how cool it was to put that dancing baby GIF on your website back in 1998? That looks pretty cheesy now. A wacky, unprofessional website can be a huge turnoff and often looks incongruous with the business it is attached to. Avoid the fad flourishes and focus on making your website functional.

Most people probably arrive at your website through a search engine, which means they are looking for something. Your job is to make that information easy to access. Wading through menus and tabs and Flash animations just to find simple information is a huge headache. Think of how to simplify the experience and ensure that users don’t take one look and click away.

Content and presentation – do it right!

Websites are not yellow page listings. A good website adds value to a business and its products. Your site should be something that complements your brand and services – not just a digital business card.

Presenting content of course depends on the type of business. A real estate company, for example, would have a different strategy for displaying and presenting content than a shoe store. The design of your website should look and “feel” like your brand.

Content also needs to be current. Don’t let your website grow stale! The websites that stay at the top of the search engine results are the ones that update often. One simple way to keep your site fresh is to establish a blog and post regularly. You don’t have to be a tech expert or a novelist to make blog posts. Providing simple information and updates about your business can go a long way toward adding a bit of personality to your web presence.

A website is more than just an advertisement. It is a projection of your brand and a window into how you do business. Neglecting your website is no longer an option. If you are considering revamping your website or building one from scratch, give SRJ a call. We work with small businesses to make elegant, functional websites that keep users coming back!