By now, businesses know the importance of a user friendly, well-designed, well-developed website. They also know the significance of readability and strong copy that appeals to both the reader and to Google (for SEO purposes).
However, there are additional features that can be integrated into websites that can add further value to the site and the business.
These are features that allow purchases, communications, bookings or learning. Not only can they boost a businesses income, they can improve reputation and provide potential customers with a greater degree of understanding about a business.
Wherever possible, we look to include these on websites that we build. Some of our favourite features are:
1. Booking System
If a business operates in the service or hospitality industry, this is essential. In addition to making a business look considerably more professional and accessible, an online booking system can save staff hours of time from taking bookings over the telephone. Speaking of the telephone, it also prevents phonelines from becoming bottlenecked and engaged. We’ve all been in situations when trying to book on the phone, only to be put on hold and think we’ll try again later (only to forget or not bother at all).
Online booking platforms also offer the opportunity to up-sell to your customers. In this day and age, we’re betting the majority of new customers come via your website, so making customers leave the platform that they found you on to place a booking just feels a little more complicated than is necessary.
Finally, with most service and hospitality sites using booking systems, the ones that don’t are at risk of looking a little antiquated.
2. Quoting Systems
Similar to booking systems, a quoting system allows a business owner to supply an almost instantaneous quote for a product or service to its potential customers. It also prevents potential clients from being chased by sales staff, whilst helping to tailor quotes to fit budgets.
In this fast-moving world, people want to know quickly and accurately if they can afford something, or, generally, how much something is going to cost them.
Quoting systems also carry many of the same benefits as above in terms of upselling, professionalism, and saving staff time on the phone. As well as additional benefits including increased productivity, better transparency and improved customer satisfaction.
3. Online Forms
Online forms are great addition to any website, whether they are used for contact forms or data gathering.
Website forms can be embedded onto any page of a website and are a full-proof method for increasing online conversion rates due to the ability to capture live data that (with permission granted) can be used in future marketing campaigns.
Forms on websites also provide the opportunity for customers – or potential clients – to have access at any time and not just during operating hours. Furthermore, at a time when sustainability and environmental awareness is a genuine consideration before working with a company, using less paper is another big benefit.
4. Online Shop
In terms of turnover, this is the feature that will undoubtedly make the biggest difference – and result in the biggest increase.
The inclusion of an online shop comes with a whole host of benefits and allows a website to be considerably more functional for businesses who sell.
Reasons for an online shop include –
• Customers being able to make purchases 24/7
• The ability to offer flexible and live updates and offers
• It prevents a shop being geographically limited to a physical location
• Online stores cost considerably less than a bricks and mortar shop
A shop also allows a website to gather accurate analytics about customer choice, what time of the day (and which day) people are shopping, and where traffic is coming from.
5. Learning Management Systems
A learning Management System – or LMS – is a software tool that allows a company to use its website to create and deliver training and educational programmes.
Not only do LMSs allow for all educational and training material to be centralised in one place, but it allows a company to turn its website into a platform that people can learn on and undertake various courses or corporate policy tasks.
Effectively, a LMS can turn a standard website into a multi-functional educational platform.
6. Social Media Feeds
A live social media feed allows a business to use its website to grow its social media following, and increase its position in the social community.
It also means a website can be used as a platform that can keep an eye on its social media activity, and improve communication across social media channels.
Finally, a social media feed is attractive as it can showcase that a business has a following and therefore isn’t something new that has popped up overnight.
The inclusion of a website portal can be a great addition for the right kind of business.
A portal is basically a platform that can be used by employees or sometimes a customer base. Internal portals can allow for the sharing of internal and confidential files, and can help to centralise information.
Portals can also be used to share files with clients, with newer models able to provide substantial levels of digital customer care.
Generally, with a portal, the content is only accessible to a set of specific users, often requiring some form of login.
How To Do More With Your Website?
So, as we can see, websites nowadays are much more than simply listing what a business is about. A good website gives a business the ability to do more.
Making sales, gathering data, receiving bookings and everything else that we’ve discussed can, and should, be the aim of any a new website. Obviously, not every point here will be relevant for every business. However, the ones that are relevant require serious consideration to ensure a website and its functionality is maximised to the fullest.
WADEDIGITAL are able to add features discussed in this blog to exiting websites that currently lack them. Or, if a new website including these features is required, we’re also here to help!