9 Elements of a Better Private Investigation Website
- September 27, 2011
- by PInow.com Staff
If making one change to your business could pay tremendous dividends for your private investigation business, wouldn’t you do it? Taking your company’s website from just okay to great – or creating a website if you don’t have one – could be the single smartest investment you can make to have your phones ringing off the hook. In this article, we’ll look at what a solid website can do for your business, then list nine elements your website requires.
Why do you need a well-designed website?
Websites have in many cases replaced business cards, in-person visits and printed marketing collateral as people’s first impression of your company. A website displays your professionalism, tells people why they should work with you, attracts new business leads and gives them a way to contact you. It’s basically your company’s 24/7 marketing director. You probably wouldn’t hire a sloppily dressed and disorganized person to be your marketing director, so why would you want a sloppy website to represent your company?
Read on to discover 9 essential website elements that will have potential clients halting their search for a private investigator when they visit you online.
Dressing your website for success
Just as a sharply dressed man or woman can grab the attention of an entire room, so can your website if it’s visually appealing. You might think your sense of style translates to a sexy website, but most web designers will disagree if your site doesn’t have the following fundamentals.
1) Simple layout – When it comes to the layout of your website, sometimes less is more. A jumble of flashing images, gobs of text, unnecessary background music and links scattered everywhere is distracting and can cause people to abandon your site. Stick to concise-yet-informative content, minimal-but-appealing images, and an uncluttered layout, and that should be more than enough for your site’s visitors.
2) Compelling imagery – Question: What do photos of your dog, a tree and a Roman gladiator have in common? Answer: Nothing, and it probably doesn’t make sense to feature them all on a private investigation website. Too many images, especially if they don’t fit together, can take people’s attention away from the vital information on the page. If you use images, choose one or two that convey your company’s personality, work ethic and business philosophy. Stock photography sites such as www.istockphoto.com have hundreds of thousands of images you can browse to find the one that belongs on your site.
3) Color coordination – Colors, much like images, should be used sparingly on your site. Instead of using every color in the rainbow, pick 2-5 colors that go together. People visiting your site will thank you for not assaulting their eyes with a combination of neon green and mustard yellow.
4) Convincing content – You have probably heard of the 5 W’s (Who, What, Where, When and Why). Your website should answer those questions about your business before potential clients ask them. Who are you as a company? What can you do for clients? Where are you located and where do you provide service? When can you have the job completed? Why should people choose your company? Make this information easy to find and easy to read so people can quickly learn about your business. Make sure the content is copy edited and spell-checked because errors often scream “unprofessional” to professionals. Finally, make sure your contact information is correct and easily located.
Turning your site into a high-performance marketing tool
Most people are similar in that certain aspects turn them off when visiting websites. Make sure your website is strong in the following areas to give your site visitors a user-friendly experience.
5) Quality URL – The URL, or domain name, of your site should be uncomplicated and fairly easy to remember. A person might have trouble keeping www.the-best-private-investigators-ever.com in their memory bank, but www.nyprivateinvestigator.com is much easier to remember. Try to keep the URL fairly short, memorable and relevant to your business. Click here to read a full article guiding you through choosing a domain name.
6) Search engine optimization – Now that you’ve chosen your domain name, it’s time to make sure people can find the site. Search engine optimization (SEO) helps search engines such as Google and Yahoo! find you, which means that potential clients can find you when they search for investigators.
There is a lot that goes into SEO – too much to fit into this paragraph – but essentially it’s a comprehensive effort involving site structure, targeted keywords, meta tags, content strategy and more. There are hundreds of books and thousands of online articles about SEO, but in the end your best option might be to consult someone who knows how search engines operate and how to build a search engine-friendly site.
7) Fast load time – Have you ever typed in the URL of a website and then spent 30 seconds waiting for the site to load? You don’t want people waiting that long for your site to load because they might just say “forget it” and move on to the next website that Google suggested. One way to prevent slow load times is to minimize large graphics and icons. Slow load times can also be caused by more complicated back-end issues that likely require professional attention unless you are skilled in computer coding.
8) Simple navigation – People should be able to jump from your home page, to the contact page, to a page that lists your services, and back to your home page without breaking a sweat. Website users get frustrated if they have to do detective work to figure out how to find the information they need on your site. Make sure the site is structured in a way that makes sense to visitors, with a clearly defined path that leads people to their desired destination.
9) Working links – Broken links not only frustrate site visitors, but they can lower your search engine ranking. You should test your site links regularly (some companies offer online tools that automatically test your links) to make sure nobody receives a message saying “Oops, this page could not be found” while on your site.
Building a better website might seem overwhelming, but working with someone who is experienced and knowledgeable should make the process painless for you. Click here to read about the website services PInow.com offers private investigators. And once you have an attractive, effective website to show off, all that’s left to do is satisfy the many new customers who request your services.
Need a Website? Lawgical Sites for provides and out-of-the-box website solution for private investigators which are professional and affordable. Call us at (888) 997-4669 to talk with one of our marketing consultants about getting set-up.
Looking to grow your investigation firm? Get in front of potential customers by joining PInow’s trusted network of local, pre-screened private investigators.
Join PInow Today