What is a hamburger menu

Hamburger_Menu

A hamburger menu is the little menu button, made up of three stacked parallel horizontal lines, that you will find at the top of mobile apps and mobile friendly websites ... usually top left.  It is also referred to as a side menu or navigation drawer.

If you're still unsure the screen shot to the right will show how this website looks on a mobile phone with the hamburger menu in the top left hand corner.

It looks neat and sits tidily at the top of the screen and most users are now familiar with it's use and will know to head there when they want to navigate to other pages of the mobile friendly website.

Should you use a hamburger menu on the desktop version of your website

They are now increasingly appearing on desktop websites in place of the menu bar that we're all used to seeing at the top of our websites. They do look neat and it does demonstrate you and your small business website are keeping up with the times, but here are a couple of reasons why you may want to keep your regular menu bar for the desktop and only deploy the hamburger menu on the mobile version.

1 | Click rates for hamburger menus on mobile apps and websites are low

By using it on the desktop version of your website you are running the same risk. Why would you want to take the chance of reducing clicks through to other valuable pages of your website just because it looks current? 

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7 reasons your small business needs a website

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Almost half of all small businesses still don't have a website. Given how much technology and the internet has changed how we research and buy 'stuff' in the last 10 years that is a staggering statistic.

The most common reason for not having a website is that most small business owners think that their small business 'doesn't need a website'.  Here are a couple of reasons why it might be time to consider your options for getting your business online:

1. It's an online brochure or shop window

Unlike that brochure you handed out at the networking event which is now most likely in recycling or buried somewhere in the car if you gave it to me, your website is a permanently available brochure and shop window.

Anyone you meet can immediately check your business online and can return to it at a later date ... it won't get lost.

2. Business credibility

By having an online presence you immediately indicate your permanence. You are serious about your business and you are investing in it.

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When a poor visitor experience on your website costs your business money

Website_UX

I recently placed an order for some made to measure curtains with a well known high street and online retailer. I ordered fabric samples, measured up and placed my order. There was a long lead time ... over 2 months. I was very excited when the day finally arrived and the box was handed over.

I'll pause here for a moment to explain the reason for this blog post. I want to demonstrate the importance of communicating accurately with your customers via your website as well as making sure that detailed information is presented in a visually accessible way.

Make it clear, crystal clear, what information you need from your website's visitors in order to fulfil their expectations.

So ... back to the curtain story. The courier handed me the box. It felt a little light and I was slightly concerned. Something felt not quite right. I opened the box and drooled over the beautiful fabric and the pinch pleats. I'd been wanting these curtains since I moved in ... over ten years ago. I was allowed to be excited.

I held up one of the curtains. It was nowhere near wide enough. In fact it was about half the width it needed to be. In complete panic (even with the 30% discount these were a big investment for me) I went back to the email confirmation and my tape measure. The curtain width I'd ordered was correct the curtain I'd received was not! 

From the title of this blog post you've probably already worked out that someone made a mistake and in the retailers eyes that was me. In my defence this is the form that I completed when I placed my order.

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How to write great text content for your small business website

Website_Content

There is an art to writing copy for your website. You may enlist the services of a professional copy writer, but chances are, if you’re a small business on a budget, you may decide to tackle it yourself. After all, you know your business better than anyone.

So you have all the facts about your small business and its products and services, but here are a few guidelines, to help you present all that knowledge in its most effective manner. It’s about attracting the right readers who will convert to customers.

Who is your ideal reader or visitor to your website?

First of all who do you want to engage with the text content on your website? Think about who your ideal customer is and what is most likely to appeal to them. You want to stand out from the crowd. You want them to pick you over your competitors. Imagine you are talking to them as you write and that you’re having a conversation with them through the text content on your website.

Have a clear understanding of your message

People like to read about themselves and your website visitors don’t necessarily want to read about how great you think your products or services are. So with that in mind focus on making the benefits of your products and services personal to your reader. Readers like to feel that they can identify with a problem or situation. Show that you understand their needs and demonstrate how your products and services can help to benefit them.

Have the right headline … make your text eye-catching

Yes you need more than a few magic words to seal the deal, but most website visitors are in a hurry. They don’t want to make too much effort to read long pieces of text and the right headline can convey your key message as well as encouraging the visitor to read the rest of your content.

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Do you need profile pictures on your small business website?

Headshots

After all what you look like has no bearing on your ability to do your job and deliver your services.

Think again. You're representing your small business and possibly starting from scratch. You go to those all important business networking meetings and make a whole bunch of useful contacts. You hand out your business cards with all your contact details. You've probably collected a few yourself. Well so has everyone else and your card and details are in amongst them. 

What do you do when you get back from that meeting with all those business cards? I sit down and look at the websites of the people I've met and I look at their various social media profiles. At this point, I sometimes find I'm having trouble matching the faces I've met with the details I've collected and this is where a photograph on a website or social media profile is essential. I never forget a face and I have been to many networking meetings where I've recognised the face of someone I've met before, but can't quite remember how or what they do. With this in mind the photograph really helps lodge that person I've just met in my memory.

Having a photograph on your website is one of the many small things that can help when trying to stand out from the crowd of the many others who are competing for your potential clients.

On the other hand your potential customer could have come across your website and got in contact with you. The next step is usually that all important first meeting. If you're a small business working from home, the chances are this meeting will be in a public place and not at your home. If nothing else that photograph helps your prospective client identify you and saves the embarrassment of accosting strangers in a coffee bar. I've done it!

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