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A website is an identity card of a business. Websites are pivotal to the success of any business. In present times a robust website can go a long way in customer attraction and retention. The following are the must-have features of a good informational website:
∙ Contact details: The primary function of a website is to connect the vendor and the buyer, and thus a ubiquitous contact detail is necessary for all websites.
∙ Easy domain name: An easy domain name allows easy success for a customer to your website, whereas a complicated domain name can make searching your website complicated and send your customer somewhere else.
∙ Interactive: From merely being a broadcast of relevant information, it’s important that websites allow some sort of two-way communication in the form of feedback, comments or a grievance redressal mechanism.
∙ Easy navigation: Sometimes surfing a website itself can become exasperating for a person. Thus, it’s important that seamless navigation is facilitated on the website.
∙ Not too many ads: Continuous spamming by advertisements can spoil a website visiting experience and can be detrimental to customer retention.
Information websites, on the other hand, revolve around a modern-day proverb, i.e. the content is king. They seek to provide in detail various inquiries of a customer. They optimise customer interaction by enhancing user interface, providing quality content and communicating the product and services on offer efficiently.
These websites are designed in a way to ensure maximum benefits from the first impression. While basic traditional characteristics of any website like easy navigation, pleasant colour scheme, security, and robust user interface remain fundamental for information websites too, but certain characteristics mentioned below are indispensable for an information website.
The bread and butter of informational website
Due to the unprecedented proliferation of digital technology and increased competition, continuous improvement in website design has become a matter of business strategy and not merely a business requirement.
1) Adaptable and responsive design
As mentioned above, there is continuous development in technology. While hardly a decade ago, an average person used a desktop for browsing, in present times, the internet traffic is more on mobile phones. Similarly, there is a rise in wearable devices such as digital watches. Who knows what human beings will be using to browse the internet a year from now, let alone a decade?
Thus, a design that works for desktops might not be compatible with mobile phones and may fail to load up on a digital watch. Every information website must be developed keeping in mind portable devices, as information may be sought anytime from any device, and a suitable web design must be able to give the best user experience.
2) Social media linking
Due to the highly competitive environment, trustworthiness and customer retention go hand in hand. A person visiting a website may want to appraise the business by visiting its social media pages and scrutinising comments and responses on its social media posts. A hint can be taken from the influencer economy, which is completely based on social media handles.
Positive responses by a large number of anonymous people on social media can enhance trustworthiness and ensure customer retention. Moreover, social media can lead to the spreading of favourable word of mouth. An information website, therefore, must provide links to all social media handles of a business in an integrated and optimised way.
3) Structured content
Now, structured content doesn’t just mean communicating what services you offer or a detailed write-up on a particular topic. It includes communicating everything that a potential client may seek from a reliable vendor.
Most information websites have now included blog pages and client testimonials. Recent research has found a prospective client is a lot more likely to read past client testimonies and company blogs to make up his mind about a business.
A homepage which can clearly demarcate various tabs like blogs, testimonials and FAQs is more likely to get better traffic than one which leaves scope for ambiguity.
4) Search engine optimisation (SEO)
The importance of SEO can not be emphasised enough when it comes to the success of any website or
digital content available on the internet. Google, for example, ranks various content available on the internet based on various parameters like keyword concentration, content relevance, title tags, link popularity etc.
A seamless SEO policy is fundamental for the success of an information website, as you can always provide quality content, but those who don’t know your work exists without a proper SEO policy will probably remain oblivious to it.
A dedicated SEO policy can ensure everyone can access your website by typing a few keywords that are relevant to their need and the service you provide
5) Subscription charges and other terms and conditions
Sooner or later, every potential client wants to know what the cost of your services is, what are the formalities, discounts or a refund policy if available.
A standardised fixed cost is difficult to determine, especially when services are offered, but certain broad parameters should be established to help customers make up their minds. Additionally, formalities like various terms and conditions must be communicated using as little jargon as possible. Any scheme, policy etc., must be highlighted properly, especially the refund policy.
Most customers are less likely to call to enquire about the existence of various costs, schemes or policies. They are more likely to call to enquire about the details of these. Thus, an explicit inculcation of all these static and special schemes on the homepage itself is essential.
The above-mentioned characteristics are extensively pervasive. On the other hand, there are still certain features which are increasingly becoming very important. These are discussed below:
6) AI-driven chat boxes
Most websites utilise FAQs to redress customer grievances, but due to the rise in competition and overload of content, an average person has become less likely to wade through all the FAQs. This leads to a person leaving the website without being fully satisfied.
The solution lies in developing a chat box which can address customer grievances on a real-time basis. Even a tab for live chat can be incorporated on the official website. This feature will go a long way in increasing customer loyalty.
Moreover, a continuous loop of feedback and improvement can be started with the help of AI or live chat-driven communication. A core competence for the business can be developed in this way.
7) Search functionality
Most websites do include a search tab, but it’s primarily for the homepage. The websites in the present
times host a number of information like blog writing, FAQs, Core business pitches, details of services etc. Without robust search functionality, the user interface becomes frictional.
If a person can find out what he is looking for without having to go to every tab of the website, it can significantly increase customer satisfaction. It is exactly this problem that the search function addresses. Thus, a search function must be made robust, directing a website user to the appropriate page based on appropriate keywords.
The most annoying thing that could happen to a person is having to give his phone details for utilising website services. Now, if a website does host information and services which are worth sharing the mobile number, there is no harm. But the privacy of the number must be ensured.
Similarly, it’s important that all the private information collected by the website is disclosed. Any personal information like E-mail address, phone number etc., should not be subjected to spamming or it is bound to leave a sour taste in the mouth of the users.
9) Free analytical tools
Websites can host tools which can be utilised by any person free of cost, even if they are not utilising the core services of the business. For example, Zerodha’s website allows everyone to use its brokerage calculator free of charge.
These free analytical tools increase traffic on the website, which in turn increases the potential for advertisement revenue. Moreover, due to the ancillary nature of these tools, they are likely to stimulate a person to seek core business services offered by the website.
10) A sneak-peak into your business
It is important that your potential clients feel emotionally connected to you, and for this purpose, a wide range of images and video clips can be utilised, showing the work environments, work teams, offices etc.
Videos can be used to explain the principal mantra of the business and describe any core business aspect. Images and videos bring a pinch of personal touch to a website.
Informational website: a boon for all businesses
Have you ever been to a government office? No doubt, all of us have endured this dreadful experience. Now do an exercise, go visit any government service website, revenue department, tax department or government college website you choose. The one thing I can promise you is that you’ll be able to relive your dreadful experience at a government office by simply visiting their website.
Similarly, when a person visits your website, he develops expectations based on his 2–5-minute experience on your website. An information website ensures that only favourable expectations are generated, and a person is able to achieve all he visited the website for in a seamless manner.
We are Team EMB the voice behind this insightful blog.