In my last blog Creative Services – Why It’s Not Just About the Design, I suggested that you think of your website as a 24/7 sales girl. What do you want, NEED, your website to wear, say and do?
You’re probably already aware of many of the website basics like having a custom domain name, providing location and contact information, and keeping your content fresh and professional – I’m not talking about that stuff. You may even have some understanding of the importance of things like using keywords to improve SEO and incorporating social media to improve brand awareness. I want to talk more about why those things are important and the 10 things that you definitely need to understand and include in your website.
- Responsive – Mobile Friendly
Reports indicate that as much as 60% or more of online traffic now comes from mobile devices including cell phones and tablets. Having a responsive website means that your content will appear the way it was intended, on all types of screens and devices, and be easy to read without having to scroll, pinch and zoom or open new pages.
I know, I know, keywords are all the rage right? The truth is that they are actually really important. Keywords are how search engines find your website – this is called SEO (search engine optimization). If someone Google’s “blue running shoes” and you happen to be the country’s largest producer of blue running shoes, you’d better be sure that you have included those keywords in your content so that your name appears near the top of the search results.
- Social Media
Including social share buttons, and links to your own social media pages not only improves brand visibility and awareness but it also increases your reach. Imagine you have 500 Facebook followers that didn’t even know that you sell blue running shoes? Now imagine how many of their connections might be interested in blue running shoes. Connecting your social media pages and including share buttons means 500 more opportunities for people to learn about you and share your content.
- CTA – Call to Action
You’ve got a beautiful website full of relevant, searchable content. What’s next? Provide your users with an opportunity to take some sort of action such as “Take a Quiz”, “Download an Article” or “Sign Up For a Newsletter.” Not only does a CTA give your user the opportunity to take the next step, but it’s also an opportunity for you to gather a name, phone number, or email address.
Rather than telling your customer what they need and want, let someone else do it. Testimonials are not only a real-life success story, but they also allow the user to self-identify. Nobody knows your users better than they know themselves. If you are in a highly regulated industry such as financial advisors and can’t use testimonials consider an alternative method for making the same impact. You may try detailing the types of people you have been able to work with successfully in the past.
- Fresh Content
Ensure that your website has relevant and fresh content by adding a blog, podcast or newsletter page. Every single post that you add your site increases your reach and improves brand awareness and SEO.
Sometimes less is more. Keep the music, flash, videos, and slowly loading distractions to a minimum. Most users don’t have the time or attention span to wait 20 seconds to load a video, much less sit and read a 50-page website.
- Contact Page
Include a page or section that can be accessed from anywhere on the site, that allows your users to cut to the chase and get the goods. You may even want to include a simple form where users can submit a question or ask to be contacted.
- Want vs. Need
You may know and have exactly what your user needs, but if they don’t WANT it, it doesn’t matter. Don’t tell or sell them what they need, sell them what they want. How does your product or service make them better, faster, happier, or healthier? Tell them what they’ve won!
You’ve got one chance to land your message – who, what, where, when, why. A 2014 HubSpot article found that 55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website. If a user lands on your home page, you’d better be sure you’ve made your point clearly and quickly. Have you ever read a website cover and to cover and still left saying “so what do they do?” Don’t be that guy.
Some of these topics might seem easier said than done. Follow our blogs to learn more about things like SEO, brand identity, and sales enablement.