If websites were first dates, many of you would be in trouble. Between grungy appearances, poor planning skills, and shallow talking points, many websites share the undesirable traits of first-date horror stories. Is it possible your website fits that description?
Website developer/love doctor Michelle Wheeler is here to make sure your website garners a closer look with potential suitors. When it comes down to it, your site is usually the first point of contact you have with clients or customers. Whether they’re checking your hours of operation or looking for service-related information, your website is typically their first stop. If that’s true, what is your website saying about your business? To ensure you’re making the best first-impression, follow these 4 basic rules:
1. Plan a Fun Date: Make Sure Your Website is Organized Effectively
Having a well-organized website is crucial. When potential clients come to your website, they must be able to access critical information in 3 clicks or less. When designing your website’s site map, be sure to work with a designer or developer who understands the importance of content-flow. Plot out opportune Call to Action (CTA) areas that drive visitors to the most significant sections of your site (ie. Services, About, Meet Our Team). Don’t make people dig for the information they’re after. Utilize design elements such as accordion drop-downs, horizontal and vertical tabs, and content sliders to maximize your content-flow. Website visitors (and first daters alike) rarely enjoy a chatty-Kathy, so use these design elements to compartmentalize your content in an intuitive way.
2. Communicate Clearly: Ensure Your Site is Well-Written with SEO In-Mind
There’s nothing worse than going on a date when the conversation has no chemistry. Every time someone visits your website, you have an opportunity to show them how wonderful you are. Now, without stepping on the toes of #4 on this list, it’s important to frame your services well. Unless you absolutely love to write (and are good at it), consider hiring a professional copywriter. The content of your website is the voice of your business, so make sure it sounds right. From the tone (playful, professional, compassionate, factual, etc.), to the grammar, your website content needs to be consistent and efficient. Don’t say in 400 hundred words what you could say in 150. Make sure you (or your copywriter) have an innate understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Writing website content with SEO in-mind can do wonders in getting your website noticed.
3. Consider Your Wardrobe: Update Your Site Regularly and Keep the Design Clean
We all know looks aren’t everything, but if you show up for a first date with a pink mesh tank-top, Zubaz, and a teased out perm, people may question your sanity. If you’re a time-traveler from the 80s, sweet dude. If not, it’s time to reconsider your aesthetic. Website design turns over every 5-8 years, meaning if your site was created before 2010, it’s likely time to explore getting a new website. The good news? It’s now less expensive than ever to attain a state-of-the-art website. From a techie standpoint, you’ll want a website that uses HTML5, Google Analytics, SEO best-practices, and kick-butt images. Why choose cheesy stock photography when you could have images that help define your actual business?
4. Don’t Just Talk About Yourself: It’s All About the User Experience
“OMG…I’ve been sitting here nodding my head and going ‘uh huhhh’ for the last 20 minutes. When will my date get a clue?!” Eek. Red flag! Red Flag! Nothing says, “I don’t really care about you” more than failing to address your date in conversation. This also rings true when exploring website interaction. So, what’s the opposite of dominating the conversation? Asking questions. Consider adding an interactive questionnaire to your website prompting visitors to engage with your content. For example, Professional Services Marketing, LLC added a survey to their website asking, “Are you’re a good candidate for Outsourced Marketing?” The results were incredible. Another wonderful option for small businesses or organizations is to arrange your content around your clients’ needs. Figure out what target demographic you want to attract and then develop content specifically for them!