In all the articles I’ve read about website design I’ve noticed that there’s one topic that isn’t mentioned much. Sure, there’s lots of talk about making it easy to explore the site and find information. There’s no shortage of articles about ways to make a site look uncluttered and even beautiful.

But the most important thing your business website must have is that it has to make it very clear what you actually do. That’s because your visitor has a decision to make: whether you are the person they want to do business with or not. And they can make that decision in less than a second – 50 milliseconds to be exact.

When people are researching online, they work fast. They’re not reading for fun. In order to get the right message across, your site needs to quickly answer 6 important questions. That’s right – it doesn’t matter what your business is, whether you are a retail store, property manager or HVAC company, users always want to know these 6 key things. If you make site users work too hard to find the answers, they will leave your site for the hundreds of other options available to them.

Almost any question or concern can be covered by answering these 6 questions – I like to call them the 6 P’s of website success.

  1. Products and Services. Your site needs to clearly list what products and services you sell and/or service. If you represent brand names, ensure you mention those. Brand searches (for example: Carrier Furnace Repair) generally are more high-intent (more likely to end in a lead or a sale).
  2. Physical Address and Opening Hours. If you run a brick-and-mortar type business where customers visit you, this is critical. An easy-to-find map, along with clearly documented opening hours is a great way to increase walk-in traffic. Also remember to keep your hours up to date for holidays. Think about it: I am sure in the past you may have done a Google search to see if a business was open when most people have time off.
  3. Positive Reviews. In general, referrals are more likely to lead to new sales. But in the absence of a friend’s recommendation, most people will look to the web for reviews. You can make that job easier for them by displaying realistic positive reviews on your site. Ideally each review will be informative (not just “Best Moving Company Ever!”), and will have the reviewer’s full name and city. If you can get their photo, even better. Bonus points for video testimonials.
  4. Pricing. Displaying prices online is a bit worrisome for many business owners. They’re often afraid competitors may use this info to undercut them, or that prospects may get turned off. If you’re in a business in which you can show pricing, try to include amounts. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, at least give them a sense of the range of prices that you offer, and then encourage people to contact you for a real quote.
  5. People. People like doing business with people. They also love good stories like how you got started, how much you’ve grown and what you are doing for your community. Talk about your people, what you are doing, how qualified you are and most importantly what makes you unique.
  6. Phone Number and Online Forms. Once the site visitor trusts you, you need to make sure it’s convenient for them to reach out to you in their preferred method. A clearly displayed phone number is critical, because there is still a big segment of the population that likes to talk to a real human. But a phone number alone is not good enough; a clearly labeled “request a quote” or “contact us” form allows you to take inquiries any time.

What’s Next

Now that you know what customers are looking for, it’s time to take a look at your site and see how long it takes to figure out what your business does. Or better yet – take your feelings out of the equation. Get an impartial review by someone who doesn’t know you.

There are a number of ways you can do this. Surveys that pop up on exit allow you ask people directly if they found everything. Live chat tools can help you reach out to them and lend a helping hand. There are even website testing services that allow you to record people trying to use your site.
To find out what’s best for your business, get an expert opinion. We can provide usability and SEO audits of your website. Click here to learn more.