A website is one of the most potent marketing tools you have. It’s open when your best sales person is asleep and represents you even when your doors are closed. It can help you sell to people who have never been to your town, your state, or even your country. That’s why it is essential that your website represents the best of your business and serves as a sales tool and resource center for your audience.
There are a number of “gurus” out there who will tell you the best way to set up your site but the only thing that matters is how your audience uses it. You’re helping your competition if you’re:
Not Using the Important Space for What Interests Your Audience
Your most valued website real estate is your home page, specifically what people in the publishing business call “above the fold.” In the digital world that means the part of the homepage web visitors see without scrolling down. The size of the space differs on devices (speaking of which your website must be mobile responsive at this point. Here’s why.), but the general rule of thumb is your most important information goes at the top. Please note: this should be the most important information for your audience, not what you see as the most important. You may think your tripled earnings for this quarter are pretty fantastic but your audience is probably more interested in what you have to offer them.
Not Telling Your Audience to Do Something
Call to actions are incredibly important. They dictate next steps of, ideally, how you’d like your visitor to behave. They don’t have to be salesy, and it’s probably best if they aren’t, until visitors get further interested in you and your offerings. They could be as simple as “Read More” or “Learn More” buttons.
If you don’t give your audience next steps, they may decide the little “x” in the upper right hand corner is a best next step. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to get them more engaged with your business and your content.
Making Customers Hunt for Information
What are the most common questions potential customers ask you? Is it your store hours? Maybe it’s your specialty. Whatever the question, that information should be easy to obtain without clicking through multiple pages. No one has the time or inclination to hunt for what they need. If you don’t serve it up easily, there’s somewhere else they can get it, and you can bet they will.
If your site loads slowly you are not only providing potential customers with a bad user experience but Google will penalize you too. Make sure you don’t have anything on your site that’s slowing things down. If your site appears slow on a high-speed business line imagine what home users are experiencing.
Making It All About You
Your website should be a resource for potential customers. It should provide all the necessary information about your business but the focus should be on answering customer questions and solving their problems. If you provide content that answers questions about your services/products or the industry you work in, or you offer content that entertains, people have a reason to return. Return visits and sharing your content will make Google more interested in your site, which means higher rankings, more organic traffic, and less expensive ad words.
Your website should be a resource for your audience and a sales engine for you. With the right materials placed properly you can create a vehicle that moves visitors along the sales pipeline, while providing them a much needed service with valuable content. The most important thing about your website are your customers. Keep them in mind with all web designs and alterations, and in your content creation, and you’ll have a strong web presence.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.