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What to include on your new website

POSTED ON Dec 26, 2011 | Tags:

Or, why you should be upfront about how much you cost.

So, you're going to get a brand new website. Maybe it's your first one, maybe it's an update. You are working with a designer, who asks you for your "content".

Before you search the net for the standard information to put on a website,  sit down and have a think about your business from a (potential and current) CUSTOMERS perspective. What you need to put on your website is what that potential customer needs to convince them to do business with you, or even to pick up the phone and call you, and you can continue your brilliant sales pitch from there; and what your current customer needs to make it easy to KEEP doing business with you.

So what does this mean? It means that while things like your company mission statement & history are nice to have, they are most likely not the most crucial information to have on your website.

What you DO need is to SELL why you are the best choice for THEM.

If you are a painter, tiler or decorator - show photos of your previous work and testimonials from satisfied customers. If you are a writer, make sure you have lots of examples of your best writing. If you are a photographer: show your photos. If you make websites, show examples. What if it's hard to show examples? You're a massage therapist or a physiotherapist. Gather client recommendations about how great you are. Get some before/after case studies about how you have benefited your clients.  

Showing your pricing. It's a no brainer that if you are selling products on the internet, you need to include your prices. But what about if you are not selling products? Maybe you need to quote all of your jobs, once you've seen what's involved. Maybe you work for an hourly rate. Maybe you work out prices based on a square metro. In all of these examples, many people and businesses decide NOT to publish their prices. In my opinion, that's not the best way to go. If you include nothing to indicate your price range, you're leaving people to make their own assumptions. Maybe they'll think you're so expensive you don't want to tell people what you cost. In any case, you're forcing people to call you up and ask. And you're probably losing many of those people who don't call.

So, here's how you can include pricing without sharing all of your internal secrets.

If you quote all jobs, include some information about how you quote, and some sample pricing. Let's say you're a house painter. You could indicate that your pricing is based on a square metre rate, once you've seen the current condition of the house, and you know how much preparation will be required. You could show photos of some sample houses, and give some indicative pricing. "Exterior painting: A house approx. 150m2, with wooden cladding in reasonable condition, should cost $5,000 - $7,000 and take around 3 weeks"

This does several things. It weeds out those people who are just gathering information. It can show you know what you are doing - you have experience to be able to show similar jobs and what they cost. It shows you are open about pricing.

What about if you are more expensive than competitors? Well, if you're more expensive, and your potential clients are ONLY interested in price, you'll lose them anyway. You just might waste some time in the process. If price is not the only factor, you have a chance to win them over. If you are more expensive, you need to be clear about why. Do you offer a guarantee? Is your quality superior? Are you faster? You need to be very clear about what your point of difference is here.

Being more expensive is not necessarily bad. Many people are aware of the old adage of "you get what you pay for" and don't jump at the best price, IF there is a difference in the product and service they get at the end of the day, and it's up to you to demonstrate this.

What else do you need on your website?

Contact Information. It's super important to let people know how to contact you. A phone number & email address are the bare minimum. You'll want to let people know what hours your phone will be answered, and actually answer it as well, but that's off the topic. Websites/businesses that don't include this information come across as shady/dodgy, with something to hide. The whole point of having a website for your business is to encourage people to contact you, so don't make it hard for them!
Don't let your web designer talk you into JUST having a web form for contact information. This can put people off. It makes your company seem impersonal, can take ages to fill in, and we all have so many experiences of filling the things in, only to never get a response.

Some other things to think about:

Product list / Detailed product information. Even if you don't sell online, people use the web a lot for research. Give as much information as you can to help people make a decision about your product.

Terms of sale / Returns policy: Be up front about how you work. Don't make people search for this information. If you offer a service, how do you charge? 50% up front, 50% on completion? All on completion? For a product, how can it be returned for a refund?

Your people: If you are a company that works alongside your clients, or perhaps in a more personal way (designer, interior decorator, massage therapist, physiotherapist etc), you might want to include some more personal information about yourself or your staff. People like to feel a personal connection with who they are going to be working with. In other words, don't be afraid to inject some of your personality into your site.

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