A website is not just a marketing resource – it’s a business tool as well. In other words, why settle for an internet billboard when a website can do so much more for you? But like any other tool if it is not used correctly (or used at all) it is worthless to you and your potential customers.
Let MTYsquared show you how to grow your business online and in the age of growing connectivity, particularly in Africa, your business runs the risk of being left behind as people flock towards the information becoming so readily available. In South Africa alone internet usage has grown by over 1 100% in the last 17 years and is set to grow even further!
So the big question whether you have a website or not (if you don’t then check out MTYhosting’s basic web design package for a hookup) is how best to leverage your website to grow! Here are some of the most important elements that are almost ‘non-negotiable’:
1. Design with Mobile in mind
70% of South Africans browse the internet from a mobile device. Meaning, you can almost guarantee that a big chunk of your website visitors will be viewing your site from their smartphones, therefore you need to have a responsive design. The worst thing you can do for your audience is to need them to perform ‘the pinch’.
Take Likers of Things as an example, the design beautifully scales to fit a users screen size without foregoing any design or brand elements.
2. Make it easy to contact you.
The point of a website should not just be to show people what you do but to give them the channels to contact you if they are interested in buying. At a minimum, this needs to be in the form of a contact form structured on the ‘mini skirt principle’ (long enough to get all the essentials needed but short enough to remain interesting/easy for your user).
Take a look at the Office of Health Standards Compliance as an example, with multiple contact elements subtly included in ‘easy to access’ and intuitive areas on the page (i.e. key contact numbers & emails accessible via the top bar, multiple areas structured into tabs with specific details provided per area etc)
Other elements that should be considered and used where it makes sense for your audience are:
- Recaptcha’s (especially on Contact Forms & Comment fields)
- Pop-up forms showcasing offers, discounts and ‘lead magnets’ (an example occurs on certain pages on our own site)
- Social media share & like buttons (check-out The Pink Table Project where a floating sidebar is provided)
3. Have a strong Call-to-Action
Do you want visitors to sign up for your newsletter, or book an appointment? Then lead them to this desired action. Some websites get caught up in conveying who they are, what they offer and why they’re the best in the industry and they leave the consumers’ needs in the shadows. Let users know what to do once they’ve gone through your website.
Less is more, particularly with CTA’s because you don’t want to bombard a user with multiple actions – it’s confusing and ultimately comes across like SPAM! Furthermore, each time you ask a user to take an action you also unwittingly offer a third option – leave the site. A great CTA speaks directly to a focused users problem, provides a clear action the user can take to solve the problem and does so in language that the user can understand and relate to.
Take a look at the Office of the Health Ombud for an example, the Ombud deals with complaints submitted by the general public so on the home page provides a clear call to action, indicates what complaints can be submitted and has a large button telling users to click to submit a complaint.
4. Brag a bit about yourself
This last aspect might seem self-explanatory, but nonetheless, it has to be mentioned. You need to balance the desire to go for a modern, minimalistic vibe that ‘shows’ who you are as a business vs just plain old telling people. Develop a short, clear summary of who you are as a business, what you offer and let the users know.
Being able to convey who you are as a company and what makes you different starts with you. Take a look at Purple Growth Consulting, their about us page page contains a brief history of their beginnings which is followed by a section covering the values they subscribe to that make them different. They let visitors know who they are and what they stand for in a streamlined fashion, avoiding an over-cluttered display and bombarding users with useless details about the business.
5. Have a blog and use it.
Use your website to share your expertise and this is where blogging can be very important for building traffic and helping your SEO. Google algorithms look for good content using the keywords that your audience may be searching. Make sure your content is relevant to your audience and is beneficial (don’t just sell). Embed links to other external sources, to other content on your site, and consider cross-promotion with businesses that complement yours via guest blogging.
Take a look at our very own blog (you are on it now) and think of how you got to this very article for an example, this article reaches beyond what we are specifically trying to sell (even though we mention it implicitly), but discusses a related topic to what we are experts in. At the end of the day, the reason you have a business is you do at least one thing really well. Your website is where you share that with the world. Be bold!
6. Stay fresh, get social.
Simply having a website on it’s own doesn’t cut it anymore (especially if you haven’t addressed the previous points). You need to ‘be where your customer is’ and create an integrated interaction between them and where they are found and where you are. This very often is Social Media and how you include it on your website.
It’s therefore important to include your social media links on your website. An easy task is to embed icons onto your website which links to your social accounts.
A keynote here is, your website is your digital store/office and your social media accounts are no different. You can’t expect people to interact with your business if these channels were lasted updated when 56k modems were still a thing!
Take a look at Ossify Media as an example, this news and entertainment blog posts regular, relevant content to the target audience they aim to please, provides easy links to share, love and comment on posts, consistently cross-posts from the website to Facebook and vice versa and has only showcased the social media accounts they are actually active on – no others!
7. Know your data.
In a ‘traditional’ business setting you know who your customer is because you can see them in front of you. This is not the case online per se and this is where Google Analytics comes in. It is one of the most powerful tools out there for monitoring and analyzing traffic on your website (& by far the largest). Any business that wants to expand and grow their business on the internet should definitely be using Google Analytics.
Here is a list of the important data that Google Analytics will give you (and loads more):
- Where your visitors are coming from
- How your visitors found your website
- Web browsers used by your visitors
- What keywords were used by visitors in the search engines to get to your website
- And loads more info…
This is important so that you are able to tailor your messaging over time to best meet your customer’s expectations. What is even more awesome is that you can access this information right from your website if you have a web develoepr who knows what they are doing. This is invaluable because no-one likes toggling between multiple systems!
So, if you’re new to the online world or have been looking for some inspiration to grow your online traffic follow these tips – tell the world who you are, what they should do on your website, how they can contact you, what social media platforms they can follow you on, do it all in a way that will respond to whatever device they’re using and check your data to see whether things are having the impact you thought they would.
The process of developing a website can be daunting, but if you know what you need to do or have an awesome team that takes the time to setup the ‘extra’s’ then it becomes much more manageable. MTYsquared is a team EXACTLY like that plus loads more (you don’t have the time to read a thesis explaining all the things we can do for you now do you?).
And here’s a little secret, all the websites we have used as examples are sites hosted by MTYhosting and have been developed by MTYsquared. We don’t believe in advising you to do things we have not seen work firsthand!
And if you just want to talk to me directly feel free to hit me up on any of the social media (& other) channels I am on and if things are ‘really tough’ we offer expert advice to entrepreneurs/startups to take their great ideas and turn them into awesome businesses! We might not have all the answers but our intent will definitely be to help you create awesome experiences because that’s what differentiates one great product and business from another!
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