“There is only one chance to leave a good first impression.” How often has everybody heard this statement – either by their parents, in school or by friends. However, this statement bears a great amount of truth – also when it comes to corporate websites.
The first thing a potential customer sees when visiting a corporate website is the company’s logo. Therefore, you should carefully choose your logo to ensure that the visitor can immediately connect the logo to your company. A good example is Starbucks; everybody recognizes the mermaid. Make sure to place the logo on a spot where everyone sees it, so that every visitor knows what website he or she is visiting.
Another important aspect is that it should be obvious what your company offers. Too many websites do not state what products or services a company provides. Often companies intend to hide information to prevent competitors from finding crucial data on products and using it to their advantages. However, this problem has to be balanced; potential consumers have to be informed enough to simplify and drive their purchase decision into your company’s direction without revealing secret company information. In addition, significant company information, such as address, phone number, email address, or a contact form has to be found on the website – and please, do not add these information as images. Every customer should get the chance to directly click on or copy the information to get into immediate contact with the company. This increases the chance for a direct contact with customers and creates a potential future relationship between company and customer.
Clear and easy navigation and content structuring is also an important factor to consider while designing a corporate website. There is nothing worse than overwhelming the website’s visitors. Around five clearly labeled tabs with related pages beneath should be enough to structure your website and make it easy to use for everybody. Suitable pictures may be added to particular sections to appear more professional and keep your page content up-to-date. A good example is Bayer, as their website is clearly structured and easy to navigate.
You also have to take into consideration that your website has to be found. Optimize your website for search engines (SEO) so that it comes up as a result for certain keywords. The more effort you put into optimizing your website, the easier consumers can find it and the higher up you will be on the search engine results. Also set yourself SMART goals you want to achieve with your corporate website. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. For example: Increase the sales of product X by 15 % over the next year or increase number of visitors by 30 % over the next two months. To check these goals, you must track and analyze certain activities that happen on your website.
When selling online, customers expect that their payment information are kept secure. This can be ensured by adding an encrypting system, such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL), to the corporate website. This will protect the data which is exchanged between a customer and a website. Good options for SSL are VeriSign or GeoTrust.
Managing a corporate website is a full-time job and should be taken seriously. Remember that you cannot always appeal to everyone’s taste – there will always be someone who does not like something about your website. Also keep in mind that you have to adjust your corporate website to mobile users as well, not only big screen users.
If you want to get an impression of what a good corporate website looks like, Bowen Craggs, a consulting firm in London, rated websites of well-known corporations. You can find the results for 2016 here.