Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

It’s time again. Time to talk about websites. Why? Because everyone has one. Or should have one. Few small businesses and organizations do them well however. It’s understandable. We are busy doing what we do. Right? But failure to recognize how important our websites are could lead to missed opportunities.

I need to update my own website. I know this. That’s part of what got me thinking about websites. Remember, people don’t come to your website to be entertained (in most cases). They have questions, they are looking for information, they need advice. Your content should answer those questions.

One of the major advantages of having a website is that it is accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Even during non-business hours, customers can access your website and avail your services or get the information they need, which is one of the key elements of having a business website. The website is always at work to ensure that customers are always served with the information they need from the comfort of their homes.

Other considerations are important. Over 50% of the customers expect any brand or business to have an online presence where they can access their services and exchange information. One of the most captivating aspects of a website is how easy it makes information accessible to customers.

At its core, a website is nothing but a medium to communicate with customers and provide them with information and resources. However, if your website is overloaded with information, if it is difficult to navigate, if there are too many links and not enough user ease, visitors will leave and not take the time to dig through everything you have to offer. Know where visitors are going on your site, and how long they stay.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are a great way to immediately address what visitors may be looking for. This is the most commonly used medium. All the frequent customer queries are answered on the website, saving you time and resources while providing precise and relevant information to customers. However, if this feature is buried, or no one responds to queries, it isn’t working for you.

Just like in the old days, when customers expected businesses to have contact numbers and addresses mentioned in their information brochure, customers nowadays expect businesses to have an online presence. To take it a bit further, if a business’s website is exceptional in its features and navigation, customers are more inclined to trust the brand and avail of its services. This can then be further boosted by SEO services to attract a local demographic.

Donations and revenue may be optimized through your website. There is no limit to the revenue that could be generated by your website. All you need to do is optimize your site and make sure that your audience finds you when they are looking for you.

A website is also a company’s portfolio or resume. This can prove to be beneficial for businesses as the website can act as a reference for potential investors who can get acquainted with your services, know what you have achieved so far and what your future plans are as a business, and invest or donate accordingly.

Lastly, it’s essential that businesses build their websites with immaculate design so that customers are offered exceptional features and convenient navigation. This will encourage more visitors to take a peek at your website, and potentially buy from your business or donate to your organization.

Your website is a window through which your business or organization says hello to the world. But if you say hello, and no one is listening, you could wind up alone.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. She may be reached at 303-638-7127; scornay@comm-concepts.com; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or LinkedIn.

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