Your website is your shop front to the world, it is the way you present yourself to potential new customers and prospects, and it should also be seen as an investment in your business – helping you to achieve and maintain growth and build your revenue. With all this in mind, why is it that I have seen as many poorly executed websites as I have had hot dinners? If you owned a retail store in the ‘offline’ world, you wouldn’t neglect your shop front with peeling paint and dirty windows – so why should you treat your website that way?
Of course, as a business owner, you are likely to be rushed off your feet, and for many small to medium sized businesses in particular, while your website may be a priority – when time is at a premium, it can slip down the list of areas you need to cover. With this in mind, in this article I would like to discuss a few simple but effective ways to help kick your website into shape and start getting the return on the investment you put into it. Let’s get started!
# 1. Sort Out Your Home Page
Let’s face it – there is little sense in having a website at all if your home page isn’t up to scratch. Your home page is inevitably the main port of entry for most visitors to your site, and if you want to wow potential new customers – then let’s make sure it is doing you justice.
I recommend ensuring that you have three key elements in place:
- A one-line summary or statement of what it is you do or offer, displayed either in your logo / slogan, or in a prominent heading located in the top-half of your home page. Remember – the average attention span of a web user is ever-decreasing, and so you need to grab your site visitors and let them know what you can offer them! Otherwise, they may simply bounce away from your site altogether – and find their way to your competitor’s neatly executed home page instead.
- A compelling call-to-action for what it is you want your site visitor to do. If there was one action you would want someone arriving on your site to take – what would it be? For most, it will involve calling your business, sending you an email, making a purchase on your online store, or signing up to your newsletter. The easiest way to maximise the chances that they take this action is to detail the primary call-to-action on your home page in a visible way. I often recommend implementing this either just above the main image on your home page, or on the top-right hand side of the page, with a short and succinct sentence. If your primary goal is customer contact, add your phone number or email address via a ‘Contact Us’ label on the top-right hand side of the home page.
- A strong visual appeal. In short – wow your site visitor. Make it so that they instantly remark – ‘wow, nice website’! The sharpest, most ‘on-the-money’ websites I have encountered all tend to have a strong visual appeal, usually achieved via a slideshow of images, a pleasing colour-scheme, or clever use of design elements such as buttons, links and forms. A great way to start here is to look for or analyse websites that you admire. There will be elements that you can borrow and take inspiration from, whilst still stamping your own style and mark upon them.
Remember, if your website is your store front, then your home page is the front door. Keep it smart, tidy, effective – and a destination that will compel people to keep coming back to knock on when they need what it is you have to offer.
# 2. Give People Something Of Value
I spend a lot of time online. It is both my job to be online, and I also just enjoy reading useful, informative and inspiring articles in the areas related to what it is I do. The clincher, however, is that I can count on one hand the number of websites (excluding social networks) that I visit on a regular basis. And the reason there are so few is because they collectively fulfill a need I have for interesting, relevant and compelling content that makes me want to come back each time.
The net result is that they command my attention and are consistently on my radar as ‘go-to’ places on the web, which inform, inspire and provide quality content on what matters most. This makes them stand out from similar websites or businesses which don’t invest the time or resources in meeting this need.
When it comes to your website, do you want to be easily forgotten, or do you want to be a ‘go-to’ place for your customers and prospects? If the latter, then start creating value for them that will compel them to keep coming back to you. The difference that makes you stand out is proportional to the effort you put in to grabbing, engaging, and keeping your readers on board.
In practice, this is easily achieved through implementing one or more of the following features on your site:
- A frequently-updated and engaging blog, filled with useful, well-written, relevant content
- An ‘Articles’ section, which might contain industry case studies or white papers of interest
- A ‘Reviews’ section, a ‘Useful Tips’ page, or any resource that provides value to your visitors
The key is to create content regularly, and keep things fresh, up-to-date, and continually delivering real value for your readers.
# 3. Bring In The Trust Factor
Remember the adage – ‘People buy from people’? Of course, and why should it be any different with the online experience? All things being equal, you would rather buy from a site you perceive as trustworthy, reputable, and easy to interact with – than one that lacks these qualities. There are several simple but often neglected ways that you can improve your website’s trust factor:
- Company name, address and contact details: Ensure that these are located either in the footer of your home page, or via a visible ‘About Us’ or ‘Contact Us’ page
- Company registration number: This lends your business an air of trust from the get-go, since you are allowing your visitor to see that if needs be, they can check you out through official channels
- Testimonials: I recently chose a service provider based on the strength of their website testimonials, along with the expertise they demonstrated via their blog and general online presence. Testimonials from those who have purchased the product or service you provide are a massive endorsement in the eyes of those you hope will purchase the product or service you provide! Don’t neglect this avenue, and don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials from past and existing happy customers.
I hope that this article has provided you with some valuable pointers that you can now run with and implement quickly and efficiently. Give your website that extra boost it may need, and you may likely find that the return you receive is far greater that the effort you put in. Good luck!
What tactics have you used in the past to give your website a lift? What grabs your attention most on other websites, when it comes to making a purchase decision, or when deciding whether to contact a business?