You have a website but do you know why you have a website other than to say, ‘you have website’?
The reason I am putting this question out there into the great digital universe is because I often come across Clients who have existing websites but they don’t know its specific purpose. When I ask them what their website is for, they don’t actually know or they say something like, ‘to be found on Google’.
Over the years I have learnt a great deal about websites as a Website Designer and it’s fair to say that not all websites serve the same purpose however they do all share one common goal; to inform and educate the visitor in one way or another.
You see, your website isn’t really about you or your business. Not really. Of course, it’s important to include content about your business, services, what you stand for etc. however that’s not really and shouldn’t be its main purpose. Websites should always be about the visitor, with a direct focus on ensuring that they get what they are looking for when they are visiting your website.
Confused? OK, let me explain.
For businesses, customers are the lifeblood of their business with their website acting as their digital shop window. When a visitor visits a business’s website, the visitor is often looking for something specific. Sure, you’ll always get the browsers who are simply killing time but more often than not, if a visitor has gone to the effort of searching for something specific then it’s most likely because that’s what they are looking for.
The goal of the website is to simply compel the visitor so that they turn from a visitor into a prospect (potential customer) which is achieved by giving the visitor exactly what they want – easy peasy eh? Of course it isn’t, however this is where knowing your ideal customer comes into play because by knowing who you want to attract to your website, when they get there you can make sure that the content of your website speaks directly to them.
How you attract the right visitor to your website is a whole different blog (coming soon!) but let’s just say that you have an amazing marketing strategy in place that attracts your ideal visitor, how is it going to be possible to keep them interested in your website when there are tens of thousands of other websites out there promising the earth?
In Today’s world, it’s crucial that all businesses have an online presence so potential customers can find them however in order for this to happen, websites need to ensure that, not only can they be found online but once found, can keep the visitor interested enough to turn them into a prospect (potential customer) and then hopefully into a paying customer. Here lies the challenge.
So, I have provided 6 top tips to consider when thinking about your own website and how you might go about compelling your visitors to stick around:
1. Website structure
Really think about the layout of your website and how’s it’s going to work, do you really need all 100 pages?
If your website is small then you may only have a few pages such as home, about, services and contact page which is fine however if you have a larger website, you may want to create a site map so you can focus on how the structure of your website is going to work.
Put yourself into your visitor’s shoes and think about what they would be expecting from your website. What would your ideal visitor be looking for? Then make sure that this is mapped out in a way that is easy to find.
Your navigation needs to be clear and direct, try not to have too many sub menus. If you have a large website then consider using breadcrumbs so that visitors know exactly where there are in your website at all times.
Do bear in mind though, that not all traffic comes directly through your home page, so you need to ensure that your website is easy to navigate at any point of entry.
2. Visual design
Oh yes, it’s all in the design baby!
Never underestimate the power of design or in particular, the use of white space. Now I love white space… I like clean, simple effective design with plenty of white space. Why? Because it helps with the readability. You are more likely to take something in, if it’s presented in a way that is easy and appealing to understand.
Now we’ve all come across those websites where the web pages have been crammed with an endless supply of text & images mixed with an over-use of bright colours. Chances are, you’ve probably taken one look at, say the home page, and thought, ‘I’m outta here!’ (I know I certainly have!).
I suspect you have ‘bounced-off’ the website in less than 3 seconds flat because you have taken an instant dislike to what you’ve seen. You have not been compelled to stay in delve further. The reason is because, not only does the website look pretty awful but also because where do you start? The page looks far too busy and confusing and so before you’ve even taken in any information, you’re ready for a lie-down!
A well-designed & branded website will entice visitors to stay and have a look around. It will also engage the visitor’s attention so that they are likely to take in what you have to offer.
What’s the saying, ‘Content is king’? well this couldn’t be truer when it comes to your website as it’s the content within the site that, not only determines whether it will be found by the Search Engines but whether visitors will stick around.
Your website content needs to be authentic & engaging, written in a way that speaks directly to your ideal visitor. It should be customer-focused, not self-focused. Having your story within your website is a great idea but maybe keep this to the ‘About Us’ page.
Prospects often have a reason for visiting product or service-based websites as they often have a specific requirement that they are looking to fulfil so your website’s content should be written in a way that not only identifies a problem they may have but also provides potential solutions. By writing your copy with a more solution-focused approach, it’s more than likely that you will be able to convert visitors into those all-important paying customers.
4. Call to actions
Make sure that your all web pages include call to actions so that you can guide visitors easily through your website, taking them to where you want them to go, think of a them as a sign post.
Call to actions needs to be effective and compel the visitor to take action, they also give the website a focus and something to measure by.
What is it you would like your visitor to do when they land on your site? would it be to sign up for a newsletter, fill in a contact form, visit your e-shop or simply get in touch?
Make sure your call to actions are clear, they stand out and also consider their positioning on the page as this will impact your results.
Finally, think about what happens once a call to action button is clicked on, what’s the rest of their journey? Make sure this is planned out so it’s a seamless process for the visitor.
5. Search Engine Optimisation
Now who hasn’t heard of SEO? I would imagine every website owner is aware of Search Engine Optimisation – even if you do not fully understand it, I am sure you’ll have probably heard it being mentioned by some IT savvy know-it-all.
For those who may not necessarily understand Search Engine Optimisation (also known as SEO), it is how your website is optimised so it is found online. Unfortunately, it’s not enough just to have a beautifully designed website, your website must be optimised for web so that visitors can find it.
This is achieved by adding relevant key words (metadata) into your website so that Search Engines can index your website to find relevant content when a visitor does a search. Optimising your website well is vital to your website’s success and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Take time to really think about top key words which you would like your website to be ranked for. Are these keywords contained within your web pages? You’ll want to include generic keywords but consider niching down and being really specific as well.
Try and think about what your ideal visitor is most likely to put into Google when they are looking for the products or services you offer? You don’t want to miss out on the obvious.
6. Mobile responsiveness
We live in such a digital age now where most people pretty much conduct their entire lives via their mobile phones so it makes absolute sense that websites are fully optimised for being viewed on these devices. I recently read an interesting statistic that up to a massive 80% of website traffic comes through mobile devices… that’s huge!
Of course, this makes total sense, I mean think about it…. how do you use your mobile phone? I bet visiting websites is up there with listening to music, posting on Facebook and pretty much doing everything except using it as an actual mobile phone!
It is worth noting however, that search engines do not favour websites that are not mobile responsive so if your website isn’t geared for being viewed on handheld devices then I urge you to address this which of course, I can help with.
If you are not sure if your website is mobile optimised then view your website on a mobile – does your website’s layout adapt to the screen size (known as a liquid layout) or does it just shrink? If it simply shrinks then it is most likely not mobile responsive. You don’t want to be missing out on vital traffic because your website isn’t configured correctly.
If your website looks really small on a mobile phone, why would a visitor stick around?
Remember; the goal of your website is to simply convert an unknown visitor (who probably knows very little about what you offer) into a prospect (potential customer) and then into paying customer.
It takes time to get a website right and the only way you are really going to achieve this is by testing content on your website. What I would recommend is that before you even start thinking about its appearance, understand who you want to attract because by knowing this, you are half way there.
Keep content up to date and don’t be afraid to change things, think of your website like a shop window that gets updated on a regular basis. If you keep your website fresh and interesting with relevant content then visitors will more than likely be compelled to stick around which is ultimately what you want.
Websites are a brilliant marketing tool that can really showcase your business so take the time to invest in one, getting the right team on board who can help with all the above.
Please, do of course, share your thoughts below as I would love to hear from you.
If you would like to get in touch to see how I can help you then please click here.