Your website is your calling card to the world.
In many cases it is the first point of contact between you, your firm and potential customers.
A properly designed and well-written website can go a long way to enhancing any type of perception you wish to create with your targeted audience.
A poorly constructed website can do just the opposite. It can counteract any advertising, media relations or community outreach program and result in wasted time, wasted money and a lack of opportunities.
Yes this is 2019 and many business owners understand the value of a well thought-out and well-designed website. Still, even today, many do not.
As a fan of Donald Miller and his StoryBrand approach to website design, https://storybrand.com, you can search around the internet and see which businesses are creating the right message about their company and which ones simply are not.
Whether you want your website to serve as an e-commerce site, where customers can actually purchase goods online, as a lead generator for your sales team, or as an educational tool to promote your webinars and courses, certain design themes are universal no matter the approach. These include…
1. Gearing your website for your specific audience. Think like a customer. If you were shopping for an item and went to your website would you consider purchasing it from you?
If you are an accountant, and you are interested in attracting business owners, do you have enough of the key items a business is looking for to generate an email or call from a prospect?
If you are selling tractors to construction companies do you have the right language, photos, and sales keys to peak their interest?
2. Stating what you do clearly and concisely. Your key sales message should be at the top of your home page. Your lede headline if you will. Does your company lease tractors? “Lease A Tractor At A Tenth Of The Cost Of Buying One” should be the first thing someone sees at the top of your website under your name.
Many businesses begin their story with “Welcome to our page. We have been in business for over 50 years. Our firm prides ourselves on excellent products and customer service, blah, blah, blah. Then at the bottom of the page they finally tell you what they do or what action they want you to take. “If you are interested in leasing a tractor from us we are happy to serve your needs.”
In this time-constrained world most people do not have the time to spend 10 minutes to sift through your website. You need to grab their interest immediately with the key items they are looking for or want to hear about. You can later support your offerings with company history, a customer list etc. to build credibility.
Copy can also include key search engine optimization terms to make it easier to find your page on search engines. However your major messaging and selling points should not be sacrificed to add in excessive amounts of key words.
If you are not sure you are getting through to your audience ask some friends or even your kids if they know what you do, and what your message is, by reading the home page.
3. Providing a call to action. You need to tell the customer what you want them to do, and do not be ashamed of over-doing it.
This is a “call to action”. Many calls to actions are often hidden and don’t show up until page five or six of many websites. Some do not show-up at all.
If you want your customer to call for an appointment, signup for a whitepaper, or enroll in a webinar it needs to be on your home page. You can create a button that takes them to the signup page or initiates a chatbox with someone who can answer their questions.
Some sites even have a chatbox that jumps out at you when you visit their homepage, though this can be annoying. Placing your call to action on multiple pages is fine. It will help you gather key information about prospective clients such as their email address for follow-up.
The more you display your confidence in your products and approach, the more confidence the customer will have in doing business with you.
4. Ease of navigation. Your website should be designed for the optimal customer experience. It should flow from page to page.
One page should support another. The home page should peak a reader’s interest. The second page should support your sales proposition and messaging on page one. The third page should support your sales proposition with even more details than page two. Pages four and five should do the same.
Common examples of supporting pages include more photos of new products, customer lists and testimonials, photos of your team, videos, and a little history about your firm. You can add a page with a blog and company newsroom. The goal is to maintain a reader’s engagement and continually reinforce your message.
5. Periodic updates. A company can look stale and out-of-touch with a website that truly looks dated. Some sites have photos of people no longer with the firm. Many have newsrooms that have not been updated for 10 years. You will find some with photos of poor quality or pages with hundreds of words of text.
For most businesses a website that is well written, graphically pleasing, concise in its messaging and easy to navigate not only helps enhance its image but also helps increase sales.