Last week we spoke about making sure that your website is ready for the increase in online shoppers during the current pandemic. One of our recommendations was to make your website look and feel very professional. With the absence of in-store shopping experiences and fears caused by the pandemic, your website must take the place of your brick and mortar store and provide the look and feel that you try to convey about your brand, products and services.
In other words, your website can become a very powerful tool. We heard from many of you who asked for more detail on exactly how you can improve your website to make it better than anything your competitors are doing. With that in mind, here are some specific tips you can use to improve your website. Our first piece of advice is to always view your website the way a customer would and not the way a business owner would.
If you want to be better than your competitor’s site, visit it and see what you like about it. Don’t view it with the intention of stealing their ideas, but rather become inspired to make yours better. Do they have something more valuable or interesting than you? What is it and how can you incorporate something similar into your own website? Let’s go through a checklist of considerations:
What Do You Like?
When you visit the site of competitors or other similar businesses within your industry, look for the things you really like that you would like to add to your own site. Make a list as you visit the sites of others. If there is a single feature or design point that you love, write it down. This is important because you are not trying to duplicate an entire
website as much as looking for strategies and elements that you like and wish to incorporate into your own.
Features vs. Gimmicks
Remember to always view your site from the perspective of a potential customer. While something might look really cool, it might lack any true functionality or be limited in the value it brings to the consumer. As an example, if you take reservations in your business, a true reservation portal is just what you need. An inquiry card that asks customers for more information about future plans does not accomplish the goal of making a reservation in a single visit. Consumers demand convenience and an easy way to conduct business quickly.
Feasible and Profitable
When you consider implementing something like an online reservation system or an automatic monthly purchase feature for repeat purchases such as air-conditioner filters or other consumables, think like both a customer and a businessperson would. If a customer could order a new filter that would arrive once a month without any further action it would provide a convenience for the customer and automated sales for your business. This is a win-win for both parties. Would your customers be impressed with this arrangement? Probably so since they can basically set it and forget it.
Make it Yours
Rather than stealing an idea from another website, kick it up a notch and make the idea uniquely yours. How can you improve on an idea that you saw on another site? Ask your web designer for their professional opinion about things you liked on another site and how you might be able to brand the experience for your own customers. This type of collaboration can often lead to groundbreaking innovations.
Keep Your Website Fresh
Whether you become inspired by looking at your competitor’s website or you come up with your own ideas, keep your website fresh. Meet with your staff and web design team at least every 90 days and see if there are other ideas that go beyond what is currently available in your local market and how you can better address the needs of your customers as those needs and desires change. Remember, a year ago we were not in a pandemic and there was likely not as much website traffic on your site as there has been in 2020. Always look for ways to provide extra value to your website visitors. The more often you do this, the more likely it will be that your competitors will be watching your site and trying to imitate your ideas.