Building a Website that Builds Customers
You’ve heeded the advice of much of the world, and have gotten a website for your business. However, you realize quickly that your bottom line is still, well, sagging. Wasn’t the website the key to success? The answer is yes, and no.
Simply having real estate doesn’t mean buyers are coming to your open house. Or, once they do come, they put in an offer. You’ve got to first entice a buyer – or in the case of websites, your customers – to visit, stay and make a purchase, either through online sales or picking up the phone and scheduling an appointment.
Let’s start with your website, namely your homepage. The purpose of your site is to convert visitors into customers, and generally this is where most visitors start. If you feel conversions could be higher, you need to make changes here first and foremost. Assuming you already know your customers when you have a dallas web design and have analytics on your website, a few changes – some minor, some major are generally in order:
Avoid clutter: Don’t throw too much at a visitor, they may be likely to back away from the confusion. Considering 96 percent of visitors to your site are not ready to buy, it won’t take much for them to leave. If it can be said cleanly and clearly, it’s more appealing.
Understand that it’s not just about text, but the overuse of images and video on the homepage. Make it clear what you’re offering, and make it easy for your customer to make the decision to go further.
Don’t reinvent the wheel: Clever can be cute, but we are creatures of habit. For example if you own a salon, customers are used to call-to-action phrases like “request an appointment” rather than “look beautiful today.” Likewise, icons have become a familiar language, so use what is universal to communicate better.
Testing, Testing: Change things up, but don’t go overboard. If you have a lot of content on your homepage, it’s time to clean it up. Remove some things and place them on other pages where they may be better suited. For example, client testimonials can be placed under About Us, perhaps on a subpage called “What our clients say.”
See a difference? If it’s significant in a positive way, you can either keep it or continue to make other changes. In all cases, testing and evaluating is key. It can be a minor change, such as the verbiage on a call-to-action button; or major, like removing half the content on a heavily-burdened home page.
Beyond the homepage, avoid “friction”: Maybe it’s laziness, but if you’ve ever wanted to order something online, or simply get an answer, you’re likely to give up and go elsewhere if you have to click too many times. Create a clear path using as few click-throughs as possible. The Vancouver Olympics found a 21.8 percent increase in sales when they put their order form on one page instead of two, even though the amount of information the user had to provide was the same.
Behind the scenes
It’s less sexy, but like a strong foundation on a house, what lies beneath can make or break the entire structure. And unless you’re a stone mason, you are hiring someone to review the site to make sure all the stones are in place.
- Keywords: among the most fundamental pieces to the puzzle. What words will your customers use in a search? If you don’t use them on your website, you are invisible; using them too often will knock you down on the list as well.
- Placement of keywords: It’s just as important to include keywords in headers (H1-H3) on pages, on photos as metatags, and in url addresses for your site, or for each page.
- Backlinks: This is where social media sites are essential. Backlinks are inbound links from other sites that drive your score up in web searches. Having a blog is incredibly helpful as well. Sharing your blog posts on social media can drive traffic to your site, especially if it’s content that ‘goes viral’ and is shared extensively among your followers.
Landing them on your site
We also need to get customers to your website. Beyond web searches, let’s be more proactive by putting your name out there with landing pages. Simply put a landing page is a standalone page leading customer to your website, and nowhere else.
Strong landing pages with optimized Header Tags generally contain
- Fantastic headlines – and we mean knock-em-dead headlines
- Strong image or graphic
- Strong offers or incentives (giveaways of some sort) in exchange for an email address (lead generation); if you’re a service, free consultations or contests can be a part of the package
- Invitation to your website to “Learn More” or “Find out How” (click through)
You can find great examples and create your own using any of dozens of resources, including:
Do your homework to see which landing page sites can best suit your budget, skills and needs.
The key takeaway is that you’ve sweated over your website too much to let it be the house on the block that no one visits. Fill it with value, visibility, and easy access, and you’ll be the place everyone comes to… and returns to.