We’ve all seen it. We’ve all seen a website that looks outdated, doesn’t really give you the information you need, or has one of those “last updated” tickers in the bottom corner with a date older than your car. How likely are you to patronize that business? Are you more likely to go back to your search engine and chose another business from the list that populated after your search? It’s frustrating for consumers to encounter outdated web design or information on a web page that is either no longer relevant or downright wrong.

Reel ‘Em In

While it’s important not to chase your customers away with a poorly designed website, it’s even more important to entice those customers to patronize your business. Since well more than 75% of consumers perform web-based research on the companies with whom they choose to do business, it’s crucial your website works for you. First, be clear about what you do. That may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t assume people will know. Make your hours of operation and contact information easy to find. Include pictures of staff and happy customers if you have their permission. Include a link for customer testimonials you collect or straight to an online review source. Also, make sure your site navigation is easy. People who get frustrated trying to find what they need will go looking elsewhere.

Make Them Count

Give your web visitors an opportunity to hand over their data to you. If you collect their contact information to give them a free quote, information about an upcoming promotion you’re running or even a free giveaway, you’ve gained valuable information. With a potential customer’s email address, you can directly market to them where as before you were waiting for them to come to you. Also, ensure that your servers are secure so you don’t inadvertently compromise your valuable customer data.

Stay Up to Date

There are few things worse for a business’ reputation than to advertise one thing on your webpage but not deliver in reality. People leave negative online reviews for a lot less than that. If you’re advertising one thing but delivering another, you have no way to refute that damaging feedback. That comes back on you in the form of people reading that review, noting that the reviewer is correct in their assessment of your poor customer service and then going elsewhere with their purchasing dollars and their recommendations.

One cornerstone of your marketing plan has to be having a great website to drive both online and physical traffic to your business.