What REALLY makes a great, effective web site?

Effective web sites

Let’s define effective when it comes to web site design. Effective means visitors. It means visitors who turn into sales, leads or ad revenue. Web sites are simply online advertising, and if you don’t see a return on your investment then it hasn’t worked.

This is a topic of special interest to Shycon Design(and likely to many other professional web design companies). There are a lot of web design companies out there. A lot. It seems like everyone and their uncle’s friend’s brother can do some sort of web site design. With that said, I can probably repair basic mechanical issues on my car, but does that mean it won’t break down in the middle of the freeway next week?

An effective web site is not what you want. An effective web site is not what your web designer wants. An effective web site is what your customers want! Just because you’re promised flashy graphics and “search engine optimization” services, does that mean you web site is going to be effective? That depends on the designer you hire, but your web site probably won’t be effective if you don’t get asked these mandatory questions first: Who are my customers? What do they want? What will bring them back?

Who are my customers?

This will vary from business to business. But every business should know their target market. Is it other businesses? Single moms? Pet Owners? What kind of pet owners? Do you know what they love when it comes to dog food? Obviously, this line of questioning can go on for quite a while.

Hopefully, you already know a little bit about your target customer, but if you’re not asked that question by your web site designer then you’re likely not going to get an effective web site. A great web designer knows that websites are marketing tools, and knowing who is going to use your website should mold it from the very beginning.

What do these customers want?

Your customers do not want tires. They do not want fancy over mitts. And they don’t want plasma TV’s. They want to be sold to. The internet is incredibly competitive, so what you’re selling is likely being sold somewhere else. So how do you compete?

Give your customers what they want! Of course, this will vary greatly business to business, but just know that just listing your products and services may not enough these days. You need to engage visitors with something that sets you apart from your competition. If you know your target market, then you can take a very educated guess on what they want. For example, if you sell dog food on your web site, you can add customer feedback, product reviews, recommend products, ratings and a lot more. Pet owners want the best for their pets. Delving further, we know that dog lovers are very passionate people, which is a perfect opportunity for a community forum.

The best way to find out what your customers want is to ask them. Survey them or call them directly. With enough feedback, you can probably incorporate one feature into your web site that would bump traffic and increase conversions.

What will bring the customer back to my website?

Know that there is no magic formula for an effective web site. What works for an online candy store will not work for an auto repair mechanic. When you give your customers what they want, they are more likely to buy from you.

But what keeps them coming back? If they can find a lower price, is there any reason that they should come back to your web site after the initial order? That’s why you should be integrating new content into your web site all of the time.

Whether they’re how-to articles, funny videos (example: Willitblend.com), or social communities, your web site needs to have something that keeps people coming back for more and more. Now, if your business does a great job with customer retention offline, then you may not need to focus on this part of the web site as much as others. But as everyone knows, the cost of re-acquiring a returning customer is far lower than a acquiring a brand new one. Why not use the power of the web to shift some of your customer retention practices onto your web site?

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