There are so many people for whom their website is an afterthought. They don’t visit their own site and just assume that it continues to work for them in promoting their business – but, often, the site hasn’t been updated for many months (sometimes years) and the owner is unaware of how well – or poorly – it’s working for them.
When you are marketing your business your web address will be on your flyers, brochures, email signature, social media business posts, articles and press releases. This means that, if your website isn’t holding people for longing enough to persuade them to take action, all that effort you have put into marketing is wasted. So how does your site stack up when it comes to keeping people’s attention?
Here are 9 things that will ensure your website performs well:
1. Headlines: ensure there is an interesting and prominent headline on the home page – and every other page, you never know where people will land if they’ve come from a search engine list or a specific link to the subject matter of that page.
2. Images that support your message – but don’t distract from it. Things that move often are likely to take the reader’s eye off your message and, eventually, irritate them. Irritating is not the impression you want your business to make! Images are really important and give your pages energy and life, but they need to be relevant and add to your message. Don’t just stick a stock photo on there to decorate the page, invest the time in choosing an image that really works with your message.
3. Words that are about your reader and what they get (not about what you do). Focus on what the benefits are; the emotional triggers that get people to take action.
4. A call to action on every page – ‘now do this’. If you don’t ask people to take action, many won’t. It doesn’t have to be complicated – ‘find out more on this page’, or ‘call us on 0123456788 for more information’. If you want people to visit another page make it easy by making the call to action a hyperlink.
5. Hyperlinks – do a monthly (at least) check that all the hyperlinks on your site go where you expect them to. Sometimes links break and need recreating.
6. Options: don’t give people too many choices – the more choices there are, the more people that will bounce off your site because it requires them to work too hard to make a decision. This may sound ridiculous, but we’re all lazy and impatient online and if it looks like we will have to invest time and effort many people will simply go to the next site on their list in the hope that the answer to their question will jump out at them.
7. Positioning: arrange the options on your page where people a) expect them to be and b) in order of importance – to the reader. Menus left or horizontal (under the brand); things that you want them to click through on or forms to complete on the right. Put important pieces of information (to you) next to important pieces of information (to them) so they don’t miss the things you want them to see.
8. Content: Keep content fresh for the search engines by updating it regularly. If you’ve paid to have your web content written you probably don’t want to tinker with it too much, but writing a regular blog on your site will fulfil this requirement. Alternatively, having a page where you share information or have offers can also we a good way of doing this.
9. Currency: read your site regularly (or get someone else to do it) and ensure it’s still on target and covers all the things you offer clients. Ensure there are no dates that have passed or other out-of-date information.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but if you get these right you’ll be well on the way to improving the performance of your website.