“A website is your mission statement to the world” Paul Laville | CEO T21group

I’m sure that no one in this industry neglects their website – after all it’s one of the greatest sales and marketing assets at our disposal and no one would intentionally make a mess of it – but maybe some tweaks could be in order.

One of the first questions a good web designer will ask, and which you need to be able to answer, is: “What is its purpose? What do you actually want it to achieve?”


For retailers selling online your website will be geared for e-commerce, so everything on your site should funnel your shoppers towards the checkout. Keep it lean and clean, show your visitors the product, the price, throw in some pop- up deals and get them to pay in as few clicks as possible.

This is fine in principle, but of course everyone else’s e-commerce website is doing exactly the same, so how can you differentiate? Do you shout louder? Pay for SEO and Google Ads? Make it slicker? If you’re not careful your expenditure can skyrocket. It makes sense then to refine your digital strategy before refining your website.

When did you last review your digital strategy it?

I recently saw a report from digital consultancy firm, Episerver, with detail regarding the online shopping habits of over 4,500 surveyed consumers. It concluded that nine out of 10 people visit a brand’s website for the first time to do something other than make a purchase. According to the data, it seems most people are checking out product and pricing information for comparison, store locations, opening hours, returns policies, service options and so on. With this in mind, maybe you could make it easier for your website visitors to discover this information, put it front and centre instead of hiding it somewhere in the navigation menu. If the intention of your website is partly to pull people into stores where you can create memorable experiences, then this is important.

Another question is how the website ties into your overall digital strategy, for example, utilising social media accounts. Plenty of websites include a virtual showroom, catalogues of case studies and stories of their installations, but I see fewer retailers leveraging these stories on their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts. Social media helps build communities of followers and evangelists, loyal customers and referrals, so it shouldn’t be ignored.

Videos and static images are always preferable to pages of text, but they can be a liability if you’re using poor quality content that has no real benefit. Show off your brand to the best of your ability, even if you call upon the services of professional photographers and videographers to create those assets for you.

In truth, websites are never truly finished. It is Five website essentials

1. Be very clear on what you want your website to achieve and have a very strong strategy driving it.

2. In 2019, mobile phone traffic versus desktop was at 52.2 per cent and is set to continue rising, so it makes sense to ensure that you have a slick mobile version of your website. If your budget is limited, spend the money on this. Mobile is the future.

3. Google Analytics is a great tool and very simple to set up. You will easily see whether a digital advertising campaign is actually working or not.

4. Don’t compromise on your visual assets. Use good quality, attractive, high resolution images, sometimes instead of words. If you do need words, keep them concise

5. Does your online brand accurately reflect the standards in your store? Your website is not separate to your bricks and mortar business – it’s one component of the entire customer experience.

so important to continue maintaining your website, keeping content fresh and managing the IT architecture behind it. Browsers, operating systems and software are always being refreshed outside of our control, so keep reviewing and testing your website to ensure that you’re getting the most from your IT and giving your customers the best possible experience of your brand online.

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