A website is the new business card. A good website provides greater credibility, visibility, and accessibility. A bad website is like a business card that is unreadable and falls apart in five minutes.
What Can a Website Do for you?
1. Increase Credibility
A website establishes instant credibility. It expands the functions of the business card a flyer and even a booklet. And it is available on everyone’s phone and computer, instantly.
2. Expand Visibility
Business cards are limited to face-to-face contact in personal and professional networks. A website is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no further effort on your part.
3. Unlimited Accessibility
People who have forgotten your name or lost your card or never heard of you will be able to search your name, occupation, services, geographic location, and/or keywords and your website will pop up. It is the least expensive way to reach the largest number of people—faster.
The Top Six Things a Website Should Do
Understanding why you need a website is important but not enough. You need to know what a good website is and what it should do.
1. Communicate Quickly and Effectively
A website should quickly explain who you are, what you do, and how to contact you. Potential clients will give you 10 seconds unless they see something they want or need. They will move on if all they see is marketing jargon and beautiful but uninformative graphics. Or can’t find you phone number or email address. Or if it matters, what city you are in.
2. Place Essential Information First
The front page should include what you do in three words or less, name, address, phone number, and email address. Hiding contact information so people are enticed to read a sales pitch is irritating and ineffective.
An “About” page will be the most read page on your site. It should clearly state your professional and business qualifications and interests. Unless the work you do is closely related to your personal interests, a personal profile should be very brief—people are there to find out about your business. Present yourself as a professional.
3. Be Useful
Websites are about content. Providing information will convince potential clients that you understand their business. They will read your biography once, but they will return many times for useful information. They will remember you.
Your website should help potential clients understand how you can be useful to them. Your website should help them understand what you do and clarify what they need. It should give them the words to express their needs and desires.
4. Easily Found
Your website should be registered and indexed by the major search engines and connected to social media. It should connect you to professional or special interest networks.
Depth of information and the higher traffic it brings will place your site higher in search results.
5. Easily Used
A website should have a logical structure of menus to allow potential clients to find information easily. Appropriate categories and tags help search engines list your site accurately so it can be found by those looking for you or your services.
6. Reliable and Stable
A website should load quickly and be error-free. This may mean fewer bells and whistles but what you need is a site that conveys information. It can be attractive and pleasing without being technically complicated and error-prone.
It needs to be secure and protected from security breaches. Security software will prevent hackers from inserting embarrassing content and malicious use to send spam which will blacklist your site. The backend needs to be reliable and stable.
I’m no longer designing websites for clients but My Essentials of Website Design explains the functions and features a good website needs.