Before I wrote this article, the topic I had in mind was something like, “Why you definitely need a website”. I only changed this topic after reflecting and putting myself in the shoes of a serious business owner.

If I were a business owner and someone was to ask me if I needed a website, my answer was going to be a short and simple no. You might ask me why? The answer to that is pretty simple. We don’t buy things because we need them, we do so because they help us solve problems.

Think about that for a moment, most of the things you own right now, your primary reason for getting those items was because you had a particular problem you had to solve. That’s why I always say people don’t need a quarter inch drill but a quarter-inch hole and the same is true for a website.

A website is a marketing weapon whose sole purpose of existence is to help you make more sales and engage with your audience and customers on a more personalized basis. The keyword though is ‘sales’.

Your website is supposed to act as your online storefront, it is one of the key assets use in Inbound Marketing/Pull Marketing which focuses on attracting customers rather than chasing them. It’s supposed to help you generate leads. Any website that doesn’t help you achieve that is a failed one. You shouldn’t even bother paying hosting for it.

I’ve had conversations with a lot of business owners particularly in my home country and other Southern African countries. Most conversations go like this;

Business Owner: “Tamuka, you do this thing called Internet advertising, I’ve been trying whatsapp and all other platforms, I’m not getting anything, zvinoshanda here (does it work at all)?”

Me: “Of course, it’s supposed to work if it is done right, what assets do you own, in particular, do you own a website?”

Business Owner: “Yes, we have one. It’s been there for two years?”

Me: “Is it working for you?”

Business Owner: ”Haaa yakanaka (It’s beautiful, it was designed great). But it works here and there”

READ  Opportunities for Africans. Top 10 Places to Learn new Skills for Free.

This I believe is where most people get it wrong. A website is not supposed to be beautiful, or too complex. It’s supposed to be easy to use, and it has to sell, even with an ugly design any website can sell if the fundamentals are gotten right.

Look at this image and compare

Image Comparison Website Design Zimbabwe

The graphs illustrate the website traffic statistics. These are two Zimbabwean companies in the same industry category(construction). In one website, the bounce-rate is high which means people run as soon as they arrive. It’s bad for business.

No matter what people may assume, Digital Marketing is a serious numbers game. Most companies don’t care about such numbers but they matter.

Just like all marketing activities, your website is supposed to bring you a Return On Investment. You are supposed to receive emails from people who would have enquired through your site. You are supposed to receive calls from people who find your contact details on your website. It has to make you money!

The journey begins when a website is developed and goes live but should not end there. You are supposed to see something happening for your company after your site goes live. Things have to move.

I have a client whose primary business is selling fruits and vegetables (large scaled deliveries). Their site went live last year and through the site, they are averaging 20 clients a month. Not bad for a B2B supplier business whose key starting point was a website.

In looking at the best performing websites I have created including those made by others. I have discovered 5 key things that are must haves for any serious business website.

 

Make the navigation clear

Remember, you don’t want to make a potential client feel overwhelmed when they first visit your website. Keep everything simple enough such that a client knows where to go next by just taking a glance. Let me illustrate this using an example.

Let’s say you are a Marketing Manager who wants to launch a Billboard advertising campaign for your company. The first step you will take is making a Google Search – ‘Billboard advertising companies in Zimbabwe’. The search will bring you a list of results like the ones below.

READ  Digital Marketing in Zimbabwe. A simple introduction.

 

Search Engine Web Design Zimbabwe

 

If I were you, the things I’d expect to see as soon as I get into a site are their pricing options, billboard locations, and a simple way to get in touch with them. Altmedia Outdoor presented this perfectly. Look at the screenshot below.

 

Altmedia Zimbabwe

 

They presented all the essentials with clarity, you don’t need to look twice. You can even get their contact info without clicking or doing anything at all.

This is an example of a great and simple navigation. No potential customer will ever get frustrated and leave after seeing this.

 

Have a livechat system

We live in a world that glorifies instant gratification. Remember, we now have popular chat platforms like WhatsApp, messenger, WeChat, etc. The reason those platforms are popular because people love chatting.

Understand that nothing frustrates your potential customers like making them wait. The attached website belongs to Barmlo Investments.

Look at the bottom right corner, the conversation took place within my first three minute of visiting. No wonder why they took the Megafest Construction Award, they know how to treat customers well.

Barmlo Investments

Remember, what I said, “Your site is your online storefront.” Try to understand this statement and you won’t ever neglect it.

 

Write Great Copy

This is something that is so dear to me. Writing your vision, mission, motto, values and brief history is not enough. Especially if you want the website to sell. Most people underestimate the power of content.

I mean, think about it for a moment, take away content, we won’t even have the internet. The internet is what it is because of content. The content on your site should be magnetic, enough to compel people to take action and do something.

There is something that is called a call to action, sometimes it’s a button and other times it’s a form. People after visiting your site and going through it have to be compelled to take some sort of action.

READ  How to Develop A Content Strategy That works in 5 Simple Steps

Don’t make the mistake of letting them leave without leaving you something. The only way to achieve that is by writing content that sells.

Content is an investment. Not everyone can write words to connect with people on an emotional level. Find someone who can, let them do it for your business and watch things happen.

 

Have a blog

I begin each of my presentations with five simple words, “You are a media company.” You want to succeed online, think like a media company. A website is incomplete without a blog. If you can’t have a blog, then overcompensate with a lot of social media activity.

Steward Bank is doing this so well. I once told someone that Steward Bank is a media company that offers banking services and it’s true.

You might be asking what you can write in a company blog. Well, it’s simple, just write what you do. If you are a school, have a blog that offers advice to students.

Most people who will find your brand will do because they are looking for solutions to their problem. Present yourself as a solution provider and you will see things happen. ‘

 

Include testimonials

What do clients say about you and your business? Put it right on your homepage. Do you have specific case studies, make them easy to access. Keep everything simple but effective. Visit the Altmedia website again and look for their testimonials.

They are enough to convince you they are the best guys for the job.

 

I want to help you market better online. Make sure you get in touch with me or subscribe to receive new updates. My number is on the header there.