You might be going through a bit of an interesting time with your business as I am writing this article. Things are changing and uncertainty has never been higher. While you can’t rely on people walking into your storefront, the internet is absolutely a socially distant way for your customers to find you.
While working with clients, I have found that not everyone fully understands the potential their website may have. Some clients have never received a customer from their website, and that means these clients are leaving serious money on the table.
Think about this – you might have a website that has no SEO value, but you had a meaningful conversation with a potential customer who left to do their own research. Later that day, the potential customer visits your website as well as a competitor’s. At this point, whoever’s website demonstrates more value and builds more trust will likely earn that customer’s business.
So how do you build an effective website to grow your digital presence and value? Here are some key steps to help you along the way.
- Let your clients know what problem you solve
- Request visitors to take action right away (nicely)
- Build trust with your visitors
- Create a strong ‘About’ page
- Consider having a blog
- Give visitors a way to contact you
- Know your numbers
- Never stop improving
Let’s dive into the details on what to do with each of these recommendations.
Let your clients know what you do – quickly.
For any business, you need to be able to pitch a potential customer quickly. This is typically known as an “elevator pitch” – and your goal is to help customers understand why they need you right away. On the internet, people have incredibly short attention spans unless they are “hooked” quickly by the content. This means you have a few short seconds to help your visitors understand why they should keep engaging with your website. If you can answer these questions in one or two sentences, you are well on your way to creating a web-worthy elevator pitch:
- Does it solve a problem?
- Does it save time?
- Does it save money?
For this website – I solve the problems of relying on a web developer and not having a website. My solution, to teach people how to make a website, will ultimately save them time and money. If my visitors feel like learning to manage their own website will save them time, money, or hassle, they are likely to keep reading. Now that I have them hooked, I need to prompt them to take action.
Request them to take action right away – but don’t be obnoxious.
Your visitors are new to your website, so you need to draw them a map to show them where to go now that they see the value of your business. So what can you ask them to do?
Ask for them to subscribe to your email list.
It’s a great idea to ask people who visit your website to stay in touch. You don’t know how ready they are to make a purchase, so by receiving a visitor’s consent to keep in touch, you can remind them who to call when they are ready.
Tell the visitor to call your business.
If your service is something that typically requires immediate action, you should have a “call now” button right under your elevator pitch. A good example of the kind of business would be a plumber. People in need of plumbing assistance are typically looking for someone who can get the job done right away. For this reason, you should not waste time demonstrating your business’ value, but rather, ask your customers to call if they are ready. You don’t need pop-ups and obnoxious repetitive calls to action – a single button will suffice at the top of your page. You can ask again lower on your web page.
Schedule an Appointment
If your product or service requires a consultation, meeting, or first appointment – including the ability to book should be placed at the top of your home page. Give people the opportunity to schedule an appointment if they are ready. Services like Calendly are great ways to allow users to arrange meetings on the schedule that you define.
Direct Users to Your Most Important Page
I used to work for a guy who did not want people to reach out to him – he wanted his visitors to read his content so they can make purchase decisions from his partners. Instead of a contact form, his site had a link to his key piece of content which was a comparison page. If your site has a key piece of content that directs your visitors to do something other than contact you or subscribe – this is the call to action for you.
So what comes next?
If your customer liked what you had to say in your elevator pitch but is not ready to take action yet – then it is time to build trust! Show your visitors why you are suited to be a good solution to their problem.
Start this on your home page, where you should be relatively brief. Introduce your business to build familiarity. Talk about your strengths. If you have been in business for a long time, helped many clients, or performed a task in a way that merits a little “showing off,” now is the time to write a paragraph or two about your business to show your customers they should invest in you.
If you have testimonials from former clients, make sure to showcase some reviews on your home and ‘About’ pages. Testimonials speak volumes and build more trust with your site visitors than simply telling them to pick you.
After a brief description on your home page, you will want to give an in-depth explanation on your about page.
Create a strong ‘About’ page
Unlike your home page, the ‘About’ page is not about asking users to take action. People who visit your ‘About’ page are looking for signs of credibility and trust, showcasing that your business can successfully solve the problem they have.
The way you “make the sale” on your ‘About’ page is by showing that you are fit to the task. Don’t make the mistake of making this a direct sales page – instead, work on stating the problems your client may have so they know you understand them.
Next, you want to explain how your company solves the stated problems in a way that allows your customer to understand your expertise. This is also a good place to intertwine more information about your business including employee bios, years of experience, and more testimonials.
If the visitor can get to know you, they can establish some basic trust in your offering. Try not to make your page too “salesy”. This is not a page to close a customer by direct means. If anything, offer an email subscription request in the footer. You can also direct clients to a contact form at the very bottom.
Sometimes it pays to give customers space to think about your service. Such is the case on your about page.
Blogs can show off your knowledge
If a user wants to learn even more about your business, they may be looking for content on your website beyond your home and ‘About’ pages. That’s where your blog comes in.
Your blog allows you to demonstrate your business’ strengths. You can post content about elements related to your business, accolades you receive, professional spotlights, and more. Seeing as you are currently reading one of my blog posts, I assume you get the general idea of how to show off your knowledge with blog posts.
Blog posts can also build authority for your website in terms of SEO. If you consistently write great content, you will enhance your chances of showing up at the top of search when people look for solutions in your industry. This is the most basic element of your website’s SEO strategy, so if you want to start ranking for valuable keywords – this is step one.
Have a contact page
This one is a bit of a no brainer. You want to give people the opportunity to reach out to you so you can earn their business. You should make your contact page simple – show people the way you want to be contacted, how long they should expect to wait before you respond, and the regular hours of business.
The clearer you can make your communication methods, the more likely you are to avoid a potential client running out of patience and reaching out to your competitors. When you are contacted, always reach out as quickly as possible!
Set up systems to know your numbers
Beyond the content on your website, one of the most important things you can do to ensure your success online is to set up analytics and understand what kind of traffic you are getting on your site.
When you set up analytics, you will want to look at how many visitors are coming to your site, how long they visit, what pages they go to, and what kinds of action they take.
Track your progress
Knowing your numbers will help you set up tests to improve your conversion rate. Furthermore, it will help you evaluate what kind of people are checking your site out. I had a client with over 50k monthly visitors, but an incredibly low conversion rate because he determined his visitors were coming to his site for all the wrong reasons. His site was not a solution for their needs, so he needed to adjust his targeting to reach better targets.
Getting to know your numbers will go a long way to help you create an effective website, so be sure not to miss this important step!
Don’t let your site “sit”
This is the last and possibly most crucial element of your website. Never let your website sit idle. If you take your eyes off your website, you are going to leave money on the table and simultaneously open your site to hacks.
Keep your site updated to keep your site as secure as possible. Trust me when I say a few minutes of weekly maintenance (meaning running backups of your website and running updates to the programs that support the website) will save you a lot of time and headache – I have gained quite a few clients in moments of panic when their sites are hacked. Unfortunately, hack events can sometimes leave no choice but to restart a website from the ground up, so do yourself a favor and do the necessary maintenance.
On top of maintenance, if you can add a little content consistently, you will give search engines a reason to improve your website’s rankings. Even if you add one blog post each month it will go a long way to building your credibility. It won’t take long before your website seems like an encyclopedia of knowledge for your industry.
If you can do all the simple steps mentioned above, you will have an effective business website. These are the basic principles, and you can certainly take more advanced steps to elevate your website’s value. Before you start diving into more technical aspects of web design and SEO, you will want to master the elements mentioned above.
Take your time, stick with the program, and remember that a great website is never finished. Good luck on your journey to a more effective website!