I have been asked this question by a lot of people who wanted to design a website for their startup. The answer is right there in front of them but most of the time people fail to realize it. Once explained, they get the point.
Here is a checklist for what you need to do for your companies website. Take this as a precursor and not as a guideline per se. The thing about information design and visual design is that there are no rules. You could be minimalistic and yet relevant to your target audience or you could be information rich and serving a data hungry client or potential customer. You are a better judge of that.
Fundamentals of corporate website.
Think of your companies website as your virtual office. When a user visits the website, its the equivalent of a individual walking into your office. This is a important princple to understand. Once you know this, what information you would like to have on your site will easily come to you.
About your business ‘Think credibility’
Have a ‘About Us’ section which talks about the companies vision and mission. Showcase the top management of the company and their short profiles.
Offer Connectivity with your business ‘Think credibility and reaching out’
The ‘Contact Us’ should have the registered office location (address) and information about how to get there or contact the office though a landline (with international telephone codes).
Customer Care ‘Think Service’
If you are providing a customer care number, do so separately under Customer Care section of the page with a toll free number to connect with your service agents. In case you have operational period limitations for your customer care, do mention that with the relevant time zone of operation.
Products or Services ‘Think Marketing’
Its important to know who you are targeting. Speak to your target audience the way you would in real life when you meet them. Provide information that they would noramally request or expect from you about your product or service.
Be Social in your business context ‘Think P.R.’
There are several ways you can plann your social strategy. Without getting too deep into it, here are some highlights of ways to get social online.
Include a blog and maintain it regularly with updates of organizational new, industry views, communicatiions with vendors, business, customers etc and more.
Have a official presence on social networking site that are relevant to your business – like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. Ensure that you have a strategy to manage them with a single clear and consistent communication.
Be Credible and Relevant to your customer ‘Think Credibility’
Its always good to have credentials on your site from happy customers and client. Place them where ever you bellieve it is appropriate. Have a Client list with permission and credentials from reputed clients/customers.
If a client expects to know specifics of your service offerings, you need to provide them. Say, you are a vendor offering service. If you mention your process or methodology of engaging with the prospective client with detailed steps and activities, the prospective client would have already known how you deal with customers and the professional manner of your engagement. All that remains for them to do is validate it (perhaps) though a meeting.
Your websites look ‘Think Contemporary and Clean’
Keep your website design clean and clutter free. Do not cramp too much information on a single page.
Its about making a user believe that he is dealing with a real company when he lands on your site. Don’t make him feel like he is on a online brochure of a company. Make him feel like he has entered you office, virtually speaking.
You know whats good for your business.
There are a lot more information that might be relevant to your business that might now be mentioned. But the point of this article is to be more generic and not specific to a certain business. And not all businesses are the same.
e.g. If you are a company that has vendors, partners or venture capatilists who have invested in your business, you might want to speak about them and you relationship with them too.
- Do not start deciding on the look and feel of the site before having figured out the content and features of the site on a piece of paper.
- Please trust a good designer to create your corporate logo and not a amaeture (or an armchair graphic designer). Your logo is your identity. A badly designed logo can mean sticking with a design identity thats either bad or outdated or irrelevant to you business.
- Avoid the over use of technology. Keep your site compatible and flexible to be viewed on all modern devices including PC’s, tablets and smartphones. You never know what tool is being used by your prospective customer to reach out to you.