While creating a website for your business can be a huge and sometimes daunting task, it is important to understand its place in addressing the needs of your key stakeholders – your customers.
The reason why this is important is that the real value of a website is by far determined by its usefulness to end users.
Kenya’s eCitizen website (www.ecitizen.go.ke) for example, is valuable because it allows us the convenience of accessing our government’s services, from the comfort of our homes and offices. Like renewing our drivers’ licenses, registering and managing aspects of our businesses that relate to the state, and much more.
If your customers and web visitors do not find your website useful, it’ll be characterized by high bounce rates, i.e. visitors spending very little time on it.
You will have low online traffic which will translate to, few to none, web inquiries.
In fact, this will be their most sincere way of telling you that your website has little to no value.
Our website, for instance, incorporates multiple tools/platforms. The hosting platform, for instance, allows our customers to buy, transfer, renew and manage their domains and web hosting services at their own convenience. Our blog is an opportunity to create meaningful content that informs our readers.
Your website needs to engage its online visitors in a meaningful way.
Users will find your website valuable if it’s able to conveniently, address the specific issues that led them to it in the first place.
It should be obvious that a business website's role will vary as you move from one industry, or business, to another.
For the sake of this discussion, I will restrict myself to the following key roles.
- It needs to help market your business
- Your website needs to be informative
- It needs to help in building business credibility
- Enhance convenience in transacting business with you
1. Your website needs to help market your business
The number of online users today is high. Here in Kenya, there were 43,329,434 Internet users as of June/2017, which is 89.4% of the population, according to Communications Authority of Kenya.
Your website's primary role should be to help you market your business to this population.
There are numerous tools on the web that you can utilize as a business to gain a competitive edge on the internet. This includes Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Pay per Click Advertising etc.
Learning how to use and take advantage of this tools to grow your business is a worthy investment. SEO training, for instance, would equip you with a unique set of skills and understanding, on how to achieve quality, high rankings on google. This would translate to more people visiting your website, and in turn, more customers to your business.
2. Your website needs to be informative
Information is the primary reason users go online. They are looking for content that will be relevant to the questions they already have.
It could be related directly or indirectly, to one of your products, services or certain aspects of your business.
Take advantage of their quest and provide the answers they seek. Write a blog, create a video, record an audio, write a whitepaper etc. Doing so will be invaluable to your business. Users and search engines will find your website useful and relevant. You will, as a result, be rewarded with high rankings resulting in more customers.
To create the kind of content that will help your business, start by crafting a content marketing strategy. Your strategy will help you define your goals. With your goals, you will be able to determine the most appropriate tactics to implement. Goals are measurable. This means that you will be able to monitor progress.
Alternatively, when crafting a piece of content, be clear about why you are doing it. What do you hope to achieve with it? If it’s a blog for instance, are you trying to rank highly on the search engines for a specific search phrase? If so, when users come to your website, how exactly do you want them to engage with it?
3. It needs to help in building business credibility
The old saying that not to judge a book by its cover is without a doubt a strong life philosophy. But it is not an accurate description of online user behavior.
People prefer to buy from credible sources. One of your website's top responsibilities is to help you build business credibility.
In the online world, how your website looks, and the quality of its content is usually top determinants of whether or not, a user will do business with you.
A web credibility research from Stanford indicates that 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design alone.
Ensure that you have a website that is able to help build trust and credibility.
Great designs are not necessarily the fanciest. A perfect example is google.com. Great web designs are: easy to use on any device, have great functionality, load fast, have excellent content, among others.
Simplicity is key when it comes to design. Focus on ensuring that you give your users that perfect experience as they interact with your website.
4. Enhance convenience in transacting business with you.
Buyer convenience is one of the major drivers of business growth in modern times. Businesses that have embraced technology, and made it easier for users to access services, products or relevant information, are growing at a faster rate.
Your website is an opportunity to allow your customers to interact with your business in ways that make them feel that you care.
For example. If you provide a service where customers have a need for status updates on progress. You could set up a portal that, allows them to remotely log in with unique tracking numbers, and see progress based on clearly defined milestones on your end.
To provide convenience to your customers, start by identifying areas where customers would appreciate, and benefit the most if a service or information were to be provided online. If you are not sure, it’s always best to ask them. Find creative ways of doing it.
Last but not least…
Your web space is an opportunity to help your business grow by being more responsive to your customers’ needs. Being able to meet online users where it’s most convenient for them, and to solve their problems, is a powerful way to grow your business.
Trying to figure out how to grow your business on the web?
We can help you with that. Send us an email or call us on +254 737 972 552 or +254 725 720 212. ASL Africa is a team of professionals who are well versed with digital marketing technologies. We are based in Nairobi, Kenya.