Is your website poisoning your business? If you want your site to drive customers to your business, you'll need to follow a few key rules. Luckily, they're simple, and we can help.
Websites have served many rudimentary purposes over the last few years. They’ve served as bulletin boards, address books, libraries, and just pretty, flashy things to look at. All of that is fine, and websites can still serve those purposes, but their main purpose should go far beyond that. Websites have the capability to excel your business to infinite levels, but their purpose lies all in how you use them. How should your website be building your business? We’ve boiled it down to a few main points:
1. Your website should be a slam dunk of a first impression.
There’s that old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but if we’re honest with each other, we know that it’s hard NOT to have an opinion on the appeal of something once we lay eyes on it for the first time, and I’m even going to go as far to say that the opinion can some times be as deep as an emotional connection. People, clothing, food, home decor, your website — no matter what it is, first impressions are crucial. Sometimes the opportunity for a second or third glance doesn’t present itself … leaving you with none other but that first impression again. That’s why that first look matters immensely for your website. Your website MUST have a great first impression on your intended audience to serve its purpose.
That “intended audience” part is important. What does making a great first impression on your audience mean for you? It means your color scheme should reflect your brand. If you’re in the spa business, you probably don’t want hot pink and red as your main colors. You want soothing colors that get your mind and body ready to relax. It means your photography should be high resolution and speak to your audience. Yes, it’s just a picture, but pictures can speak even louder than words can sometimes. If you have a slider with large images, pick the image that portrays your company’s purpose most effectively as the first slide. And it means choosing fonts that are easy to read. Typography is similar to pictures in the way that it portrays personality. If your company is in the wedding business then you may want to choose a nice, simple script as the font for some elements on your site, but if your business is solely a blog, then you want to go with something different. Regardless, the point is your branding has to be on-point to hit that first impression out of the park!
2. Your website should be a direct road map to your phone lines and inboxes.
One of the main functions of your site should be to get people in the door, on the phone, or asking questions about what you can do to help them. If that’s the case, then the information folks are most often looking for should be ridiculously easy to find and should follow industry standards as far as where it is most always placed on a site. When someone goes to your website, whether it’s a new visitor or a regular, there should be calls to action strategically placed so that no matter what they’re looking for, they can find it quickly and easily — and even better, they’re directed there. This takes out the guesswork and keeps your visitors from getting frustrated with your website and closing it out (which not only loses customers, but also increases your bounce rate — a bad thing for Google ranking).
So, how do you make this happen? The flow of your site should be intuitive. The most visited portions of the website should be highlighted “above the fold” (that means what shows when the page is first loaded) so that, as soon as your site loads, that user can click right into what they came for. This doesn’t mean that you have to have arrows and flashing colors everywhere. We actually discourage flashing anything, but “strategically placed” is the key. We read left to right and in the shape of a “Z,” so start there. Your phone number, hours of operation, and your address should ALWAYS be listed in the footer of your site. Your contact form should have fields only for the essentials and to make getting in touch with a real person super quick. People are much more likely to fill something out if they know where it’s going or what they’re getting, so make sure that familiar ways to contact you and your team are visible and sending an email to you isn’t a hassle. The point is ease of access.
3. Your website should be an “invisible” sales guy.
That may be the weirdest thing I’ve said in a while, but think about it: Your website has to sell your product or convince your audience that your product or services are worth their time and investment. These days, if someone hits your website and isn’t compelled, then they’re going to leave and find another company that is more appealing via the web. It goes back to that first impression thing I was talking about a few minutes ago.
How do you employ your website as a sales guy? Use compelling language. Your calls to actions, buttons, and directives should make your visitors want to take action. Your copy should tell your visitors enough that they want to know more, but also enough that they have information to make an educated decision about contacting you. You have to prove yourself, and you have one website and a few sentences to convince them. This doesn’t mean that your website should mimic an infomercial. (Please spare us … infomercials are for late night TV when everyone is sleeping.) Your best bet is to tailor your copy to what would most likely sell YOU on your products and services and then go from there, but don’t be afraid to change it up. If it doesn’t work after a couple of months, then try something else. That’s the cool thing about websites, right? Nothing is set in stone.
The Bottom Line in Website Design
Is your website helping or hindering your business? Is your brand well-defined? Is your site making a great first impression? How easy it to find your business and ways to contact you? Is your website copy compelling people to take action and hire you? We’ve given you the meat and potatoes — now it’s time to take your website to the next level and enjoy the sweetness of a little bump in your business as dessert! Or … maybe I’m just hungry and need to go take care of that before I make any more food jokes.