Social media are great. A huge number of people spend several hours each day browsing the web for the cutest cats or the most heated political arguments. Social media accounts are easy to make, too, so most businesses have one. Far too many businesses err by stopping here, and I’ll explain why this is a problem: essentially, consumers are searching for you online to find information about your business, and social media accounts simply don’t display your information in a way that is easy to navigate.

First impressions.

As a consumer, if I go to a business’s Facebook page, I’m looking for a link to their website. (Search Engine Optimization should put your website before your Facebook page, but I’ll address SEO issues in a later article.) Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are fantastic for sharing what you’re up to and keeping your current customers engaged with your business. However, no matter how wonderfully you format your page and your top pinned posts, consumers can’t easily navigate to the specific information they’re looking for.

Doing it right.

A well-designed website should display and organize information pertaining to your business, who you are, and what you do in a way that is intuitive and juxtaposed to appeal to the eye. It should leave an impact on your visitors and align with and solidify your company brand. Your website should shout to consumers that you’re professional, you know what you’re doing, and it should explain that you do it well and what sets you apart from your competitors. I’ve been working in marketing for years now, but before that, I was a consumer, and I can tell you that I always searched for businesses online, whether for restaurants, contractors, or local gyms. If a company didn’t have their information online, I always skipped to the next one which had a site that clearly explained the services they provide and listed their contact and other important information.

If a company didn’t have their information online, I always skipped to the next one which had a site that clearly explained the services they provide and listed their contact and other important information.

Does this make me a bad person? I don’t think so. I tend to think it’s very natural and relates to the psychology of the modern consumer. Most of us are busy, and while, perhaps, we could pick up the phone and make a phone call to an off-the-radar mom-and-pop shop, we could, in the time that it takes to have someone on the line, have pulled up another business’s website and already obtained the information we’re searching for.

So, as a business owner, how do you set yourself apart? I’ve touched on this already, but I’ll break it down this way:

  • Clean design – make sure that your website displays information neatly. A combination of poor quality images or content that simply doesn’t match or is poorly formatted will not leave a good impression on your visitor.
  • Fluid navigation – attractive menus that display pages and subpages simplify the process of retrieving information for visitors.
  • Bug- and conflict-free – conflicts in your website’s source code can severely slow down your website, and broken links mean visitors may not even be able to visit certain pages of your site or add items to their cart (if you’re selling products through your website.)
  • Reliable hosting – choose a quality web hosting provider so that visitors won’t come up on an error message when they visit your website URL.

Ensuring that all of these issues are addressed can be a hassle, and for this reason, hiring a professional web designer is always a smart investment. For example, DracoVisuals, my web design and hosting agency, provides these services in addition to graphic design, app development and publication, content writing, and essentially anything you’d need to ensure that your unique brand is cohesive across both web and print. Again: ensure that one theme unifies all of your company’s public branding, because a professional appearance puts you several steps ahead of the rest.

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