You know the saying. ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression.’ Your home page is your first impression. It should instantly engage your visitor.
Think of the your homepage as a pitch. It should also tell the visitor who you are, what you do, and why this is valuable to them.
First-time visitors are not likely to spend time digging through the website searching for this information. It only takes one click to leave a website, so you want your audience to be able to identify these things immediately.
Avoid using jargon, or cluttering your page with giant walls to text. You want your homepage to have clear language that speaks directly to your target audience.
Use high quality images to get your viewer’s attention. Some industries, such as food, clothing or interior design easily lend themselves to relevant and beautiful imagery. But regardless of what kind of business you own, you can capture images that work well for your website.
Use images that you think represent your customers, using your product, engaging in conversation, or doing something that represents your industry.
Photos that feature human beings tend to be the most engaging to viewers. So even if your product itself is photogenic, find a way to incorporate at least one image on your homepage that features people.
Images also add appeal to your website by breaking up text, striking a balance that is informative, while visually interesting.
2. The Right Design
So, your homepage made a good first impression, and the visitor has started to explore your website. A great design will encourage them to pay attention to the content.
Not only should the design be beautiful, but it should also convey your brand identity. If you browse the website of a successful brand, you will probably see a strategic use of colour that compliments the logo.
Each page should have a distinct purpose, while making use of company colours and fonts to draw all of this information together. Design every page as a possible landing page. Some of your visitors will begin on a page that is not your homepage. So, once your homepage is the best it can be, ensure that every other page is up to the same standard.
Better design improves the user experience and reduce the bounce rate which are good for both SEO and conversions.
Valuable and relevant content is key to attracting visitors who stay on your website, and encouraging them to return. For starters, good content increases the likelihood of your website being found in the first place.
But beyond this, the content is another way to communicate with your customers, and illustrate the personality of your brand. By offering interesting information on a regular basis, you are already providing something of value to potential customers.
One of the best ways to include more content is to add a blog or news feed to your website. You might decide to focus on news updates about your industry or advice that is relevant to your target audience. For some industries, a slightly more laid-back and personal style can be effective. For example, if you run a restaurant, you might post a photograph the chef plating up a delicious meal, or use your blog to announce a new menu item. If you run a hair salon, consider asking some of your first customers if you can take a ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot of their hair.
Take a look at what your biggest competitors are doing with their blog and decide which principles you want to borrow, and what aspects you want to do better.
4. A Call To Action
Your website is a great place for visitors to learn about your brand. But if you want to turn these visitors into customers, you should include clear and compelling CTAs (Call to Actions).
Make a list of goals- what actions do you want someone to take when they visit your site? This might be making a booking or purchasing goods. You might want them to sign up to regular updates by leaving their contact details.
An effective call to action creates a sense of urgency which makes users feel that by not doing this now, they are missing out on something important. CTAs tend to do well when they are displayed as a clickable button and positioned ‘above the fold’ on the page (meaning that it is visible without scrolling down).
A Call To Action is not just for your home page. You can include a variety of different prompts throughout your website. Below are some examples of effective CTA s.
All these examples show a clear call to action asking users to take an action.
5. About Page
Your ‘About’ page should provide some background information. What products or services do you offer? Where are you based? What kind of experience do you and your team members have?
It should also highlight your company values and what makes your business special. Emphasise your passion for your industry and dedication to customer service.
This page is usually titled ‘About’, ‘About Me’ or ‘About us. It should be clear and easy for visitors to locate.
The overall user experience should be at the front of your mind when it comes to the layout of your website.
Firstly, make your site mobile friendly. Many focus on amazing desktop design but forget to make their site mobile friendly.
We are no strangers to the fact that mobile usage is increasing and we all spend a lot of time on our mobiles so it would be abig mistake not to make your site mobile friendly. It’s even declared as ranking factor now by Google.
Further, Find a website for a local business that you’re not very familiar with, and imagine that you are interested in the product or service they are offering. What are the first questions that come to mind?
The links and sections on your website should appear in such a way that the user finds the right information at the right time.
Avoid long menus and complex, multi-tier navigation. Having a few sub-sections for each menu item can be a good way to include more information while keeping your layout tidy. But be careful not to go overboard, as this can be overwhelming for the user.
You should also consider the speed and ease of access to information. Large slide-shows and background music might seem like a fun idea, but these things can be off-putting and often slow the website down. Unless there is specific research of your target audience indicating that they are drawn to these elements, it is best to prioritise speed and browser compatibility. The same applies to elaborate menu images that take extra time to download. Remember that the attention span of the average internet user is short, and a website that is not user-friendly can cost you customers.
You should also to consider how your website functions on different devices, including desktop computers, laptops, netbooks, tablets and mobile phones.
7. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
‘If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?’ This 18th Century thought experiment might sound like a cringeworthy cliche, but it is actually a useful way to think about your website.
In a competitive industry, your website is one website in a forest of websites run by your competitors. You could have the most immaculate design and the most compelling content. But this will only matter is if internet users find your website in the first place.
This is where Search Engine Optimization comes in.
By improving your ranking on Google, Bing and Yahoo, SEO will make your website more visible to potential clients who are searching for businesses like yours.
For example, one of our recent clients achieved top rankings in Google with 35% increase in Organic traffic and 40% increase in leads within 3 months. Ranking on first page brought the client’s website in front of thousands of users. SEO can make your voice heard. SEO is a highly effective, long-term marketing strategy for increasing the number of enquiries from your website. You can read more success stories.
Make sure that your web page is free of typos, spelling errors and grammatical errors. Typos are mistakes made because of the way your fingers hit the keyboard, while misspellings occur when you do not know the correct spelling of a word.
Grammatical errors are instances of faulty or unconventional usage of words or punctuation, such as a misplaced apostrophe or the incorrect verb tense.
There are two main reasons why correct use of written language is so important. Firstly, some typos or grammatical errors actually alter the meaning of the sentence. For example, a misplaced decimal might make a product seem to be 10 times cheaper, or ten times more expensive than what you intended. Secondly, because correct spelling and grammar looks professional.
It is true that for most spelling and grammatical errors, the reader is able to decipher the meaning based on the context. But poor spelling can have a long-lasting negative impression and ultimately lead to lost revenue. Online entrepreneur Charles Duncombe says that a single spelling error can cut online sales in half.
This is why it is important to pay strong attention to detail, particularly when it comes to spelling and grammar.
Choose styles that are easy to understand, and colours that are not too similar to your background. While you want to express your individuality, you don’t want to do so by sacrificing the readability of the text on your webpage.
Remember that you are probably not the best judge of your website readability. You are familiar with your brand, and in some cases, you have also written the content on each page. When you read over your own website, your brain is combining the sensory information (the page) with your own expectations. This means that you are less likely to have difficulty understanding them than somebody who is reading the information for the first time. Ask a friend or colleague who is less familiar with your industry to proofread your website.
All businesses need to have trust and credibility to succeed.
Large, multi-national companies who have already established both of these things will still work to maintain their reputation. But owners of smaller and newer businesses will need to work harder to establish a sense of trust and credibility among their customers. This is an even bigger challenge if you sell your products online. Internet users come across a lot of spam and scams on a regular basis, so they are likely to be cautious when buying something from a website they have never heard of.
Offering a guarantee, or including testimonials from previous customers are both excellents ways of making customers feel confident about choosing your brand.
If your business has won any awards, include this information in your ‘About’ page. Customers are more likely to trust your company if another source has recognised the quality of your product or service.
Customer reviews on Google also go a long way in helping you gain credibility. When a customer tells you they had a positive experience, don’t be shy about asking them to take a few minutes to write a review.
Another great way to boost the credibility of their brand through its website is to include include a short biography of yourself and any other team members, as well as a physical address, email and phone number. This tells customers that you are real people who are accountable for the quality of your product or service.
10. Contact Information
If you have put a lot of effort into your website, the most important information should be easily accessible. But there will always be at least one customer with questions that aren’t addressed on the website.
There will also be customers who want to ask a question that is covered on your website. This is because people tend to scan information rather than reading it in its entirety. Good customer service is responding to these enquiries, regardless of how visible you think you this information is on your website.
A good strategy is to include a contact form, in addition to an email address and phone number.
An email address and phone number add credibility to your website. You may also chose to offer the email address for enquiries that are not related to customer service, such as website issues or media enquiries.
But for enquiries about your product or service, contact forms are the way to go. They are far more convenient for customers. Regular internet browsers are so accustomed to fast and simple communication and they’re more likely to contact you if it take less effort. They also have a number of benefits for your business.
They help you provide better customer service
You can use a drop-down menu that asks customers about the type of enquiry. This makes it easy to automatically re-direct their questions and comments to team member who can provide the best assistance. Remember to include an ‘other’ option, or make the field optional, in case a customer is unable to identify a category that describes their reason for contacting you.
They can help you understand your customers
Data from the form can be routed directly into a database, making it easy to find patterns among the people who contact you, which can help you better understand your target audience.
A contact form is a Call To Action
Providing an email or phone number is a passive way of showing customers how to contact you. A contact form actively prompts the user to leave you a message.
11. Updates and Improvements
Once your website is live, you should start keeping track of your enquiries and sales. If your website is new, than getting customers might take a little bit of time. But eventually, you should start evaluating the enquiries you receive through your site.
Are you meeting your goals? Do you think your website is working for your brand? If the answer is ‘no’, then it’s time to consider tweaking your website.
Experiment with the language styles and design features on your website, while using Google Analytics to measure your return of investment. This way, you can determine which approaches are most effective.
If you notice that a link is broken, or you receive feedback about a problem with your website, you should resolve the as early as possible.
Always continue to ask yourself how your website can improve.
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