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a how-to guide

Your own website

A good website always has an objective. This may be the ordering a product or the booking a service, encouraging a visit to your retail outlet or acquiring contact details. Websites can be designed differently, depending on the industry in which you operate or what you are trying to achieve with your website. Websites fall into three broad categories, although combinations are also possible:

  • Information: Presentation of products or services and the people behind them. Contact details such as address and phone number.
  • Information and sales: Additional range of products or services that can be bought or booked directly on the website.
  • Information and dialogue: Additional interactive activities, such as support services or a blog where your readers can leave comments.

Of course you want to pack as much information as possible onto your website. Be careful not to overwhelm visitors with your homepage. Important information such as your address, phone number and opening times should always be easy to find.

When planning the navigation structure (individual points as "products", "services" or "solutions"), try to think from your customer’s perspective. As a provider, you have expert and specialist knowledge. If you present the products and services from your perspective, visitors to your website may be quickly overwhelmed. Your potential customers are looking for solutions to a problem or issue and look to you for professional assistance. Do not make this kind of expertise a prerequisite for customers trying to find their way around your website.

The content you prioritise will depend on the goal you have set for your website: if you want to sell products, they must be the focus of the site. Or maybe would you like to take the pressure off your telephone hotline? Then provide a FAQ page with answers to the most frequently asked questions. If you want to collect new leads and addresses, you need a registration function where visitors can leave details such as their name, phone number or email address. The best way to do this is to provide an incentive – such as an interesting newsletter or additional information that can be downloaded upon registration.

Wine improves with age. Unfortunately, this is not true for your website. This is the fundamental principle of online marketing. You should review your website regularly to make sure it is still up to scratch in terms of structure, content and design. Which brings us to the question: how much work and time do you want to invest in your website? It is not realistic to assume you can take a break for six months after your website is up and running. If you want your visitors to come back regularly, you need to add new content and regular updates. If you're using a content management system (CMS), this can be achieved without much effort or technological know-how. There are also tools available from the Business Marketplace, such as the Swisscom HomepageTool, which can help you update your website.

It is worth using web analytics software to find out how many people have visited your website and what content is read most. It will provide you with clues about how to optimise your website further. If you find for example that the pages showing your product range or promotions are hardly ever read, this is an indication that you need to change your homepage. Free services such as Google Analytics can be very useful for getting started. You can use it to measure the key performance indicators such as number of unique visitors, page impressions or length of time spent on your site.