The times when your website didn’t need to be more than an online version of your business card are over. People are now searching for more than just a company’s contact details online. They want to have all the information they need to make an informed decision and they certainly don’t expect to have to pick up the phone for that.
So let’s have a look how you can easily improve your website and use your online presence to generate new business on a daily basis.
As always in marketing, seeing things through your customers’ eyes is the best way forward. So if you are looking at your website, keep in mind what your target group is looking for and what situation they are likely in when looking for services or products like yours.
Are they in a hurry? What keywords will they have most likely used? Are they likely to buy at their first visit or is it a decision that takes time? Let’s have a look if the following areas of your website are optimised to convert visitors into loyal customers:
Structurally, the menu is the main focus of every website. People who are looking for your help are usually not willing to spend lots of time sifting through your site in order to find the information they are looking for. They need to be directed to it as quickly and with as little clicks as possible.
Make sure that your main menu is easy to find and works like a straightforward direction system through your site. Keep it short and simple (ideally not more than 1-3 words each and not more than 5-6 menu items) and position it at the top of your page or in the sidebar. Also, if your website’s main goal is to increase sign ups for your free trial or to promote your latest discount, make sure you add an extra button to your menu that stands out and leads visitors directly to your shopping cart or sign up form.
2. Above the fold
Have a look at your web stats and find out what screen size people are using when visiting your business’s online presence. Google Analytics also provides a neat in-page analytics that shows you (either as a heat map or with percentages) where the people click and where they don’t. If something really important is not clicked on enough, it might be too far down the page to be seen by enough people.
The ‘above the fold’ expression of course comes from the old print era, when a newspaper was actually folded, and it mostly applies to visitors who look at your site on a desktop computer. But if that is a huge chunk of your overall website visits then you should check it out and move important elements further up the page.
3. You vs I
Now we have to look at your content: Are you talking about yourself most of the time — what you do, where you are and so on? You might want to reconsider that. If you want your website to perform well, you need to focus on the potential customer and not on your business. Tell them which problem of theirs you can solve, how you can make their life happier and easier.
The ideal mixture of customer and self focus is 3:1 or anything above that. You can test your own website with this free customer focus calculator and then tw
eak your content accordingly. My own homepage for example has a 83% customer focus and 17% self focus, have a look and see if you can find some inspiration for the wording on your own website.
Make sure that your content talks to your visitors directly and tell them what you want them to do. Call to actions (or short CTAs) are very important for the performance of your website. Do you want them to get in touch or sign up for a free trial? Tell them how to get in touch with you and make it as easy as possible (‘Click here’ or ‘Call me now on…’). Make sure you use a button to make your call to action stand out (‘Sign up now’ or ‘Free trial’).
To make your message clear, don’t use several call to actions on each page. Focus on the main goal of the page visually and through your content and don’t forget to tell your visitors what the benefits of your services or products are.
Another way to make your company website easy to navigate for your customers is to link your content from within your content. Don’t just rely on your menu, tell people what else they can find on your site and link to relevant pages in your written content. If your visitors are reading through your product or service pages, offer them a quick and easy way to find out what your customers are saying about it and link to your testimonials or case studies.
If you have a closer look at my web pages, you will see that I finish every page with a written call to action and a few more links that might be interesting to visitors at this point. See if you can add something like this to your pages to keep visitors longer on your site.
Search engine optimisation is a vast field but for the intents and purposes of this blog post, let’s have a quick look at your keywords and meta tags. You should always write your web content with your reader in mind, not thinking about Google’s little bots who are indexing every inch of your online presence and hopefully rank you higher than your competition. Write like you speak and use the words that your potential customers are likely to use when searching for your products/services.
When it comes to your page titles and descriptions (the things Google shows in its search results lists), make sure to not exceed 55 characters for page titles and 150 characters for page descriptions, or otherwise Google is going to truncate your lovely content. It’s hard with so little characters but focus on telling your potential web visitors what you can do for them and why they should choose you.
7. Loading time
You don’t have to be as impatient as me to know that this is a biggie: The longer people have to wait for your content to appear, the quicker they move on to the next result in their online search (aka your competition). Several studies have shown that a site speed of up to 3 seconds is acceptable, everything that’s slower than 7 seconds will lose you potential customers.
There are free site speed tools out there that can help you improve your website’s performance. This is likely to get more important in the future as more people are surfing the internet on their mobile devices and websites are becoming more and more complex and content-heavy. It is even rumoured that Google is thinking about labelling slow websites in their search results.
Whether you are looking at your contact form or a sign up form for your newsletter or product, always make sure it’s as simple and easy to use as possible. The more people have to fill out the more likely they are to run away screaming. If you want more information than their name and email address, then at least make the fields optional.
Also, add your little data privacy blurb to the form (the one where you swear that you’re not giving any details to third parties) and try to get rid of the captcha stuff and use more subtle honey pot methods to keep spammers at bay.
Last but not least, please consider a responsive website if you don’t already have one. Google is already labelling mobile-friendly websites in their search results and with public free wifi getting bigger every minute, people are more and more likely to read your content on their mobile devices.
Especially if you use social media marketing and have a blog, you will have to swallow the bitter pill and get a website that is accessible on all possible devices and screen sizes. Google Analytics will tell you how many of your web visitors are already using their smartphone or tablet to look at your online presence and also how long people are lingering, reading and clicking through your pages when on the road. If that is considerably lower than your desktop visitors, you’ll need to act.
Over to you: What could you change on your company website to convert more of your visitors into actual clients?
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
4 Steps to a Successful Web Copy
SEO or: How to Make Sure Your Website Is Found by the Right People
The Most Important Do’s and Don’ts for SEO in 2016
7 Marketing Checks for Your Small Business