Recently, I was in the market for a new dentist. I didn't want to be, but I moved far away from my favorite office and they gave up Saturday hours. I loved him and his staff. They were friendly, professional, accurate, modernized and just skilled. So my future dentist had some seriously big cavities, er, shoes to fill.
I began my search by word-of-mouth references. That helped, but I was already spoiled by the latest gadgets and techniques my handy, dandy dentist offered. Gosh, I didn't want to revert back to the 90's! So I continued my search online. My criteria was; 1) location 2) modern equipment 3) covered by my insurance and 4) at least a handful of favorable reviews.
So, I found one. At least he had a great looking website with the information I was seeking. Keep in mind, I write websites for a living. I should realize, here, that businesses often sift out the best stuff for the online show. Any flaws or neglect get swept under the file cabinet.
After a few visits (about 2 more than what should have been necessary) and pa-lenty of time to think in their waiting room...I've narrowed down a few aspects that everyone should have on their websites to be both enticing and thorough. Yes, they should be colorful, appeasing to the eye and modern-looking. But don't forget how important good, informative and correct content is:
1) Make it personal. Allow customers/future customers to see who you are. Who they will be working with or who is making their product. Include some pictures of staff and employees.
2) While you have the camera out, take some shots of the office/store/restaurant. The more information you provide about their future experience, the more comfortable they will be with their expectations.
3) No hidden policies. Be up front and honest with these people. If there is something they should know prior to patronizing your business, let me know here.
4) Informative. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. What would be their questions or concerns? Then answer them as descriptively as possible. So you sell nuts and bolts. What materials are they made of? Who manufacturers them? How many different types?? What are some creative uses? How do I know which one I will need? What is the purchasing process?
5) Engaging. Place something on the website that is interesting, educational and engaging to them. A slide show, a short video, a case study. Something they can learn from and apply to their needs.
Don't try pulling the wool over their eyes. You'll end up with angry customers who will leave and rant about you on their blog.