For any business with an online presence the good news now is that a few simple enhancements to your website can quickly translate into increased visitors and more sales.
Just like your home, your website needs a little tender loving care from time to time and just like your biggest investment, there are all manner of straightforward upgrades that can bring instant dividends and we’re not talking about a complete redo or a do it yourself project!
Just get in touch with any decent web designer and you’ll soon be on your way to a more streamlined and attractive website, bursting with content and tailored for today’s SEO savvy, limited attention span, audience in cyberspace.
The first thing to understand here is we are not talking about a major overhaul. The foundations of your website are likely secure enough, so don’t touch them. But splash a lick of paint on the walls, add a few bright scatter cushions and start seeing things through your customers’ eyes, to create an improved online experience and a smoother route from click to sale.
First things first. Let’s consider your home page. Is it too cluttered? Is it adequately portraying your unique selling proposition? For your opening shot, your message needs to be super clear, like an elevator pitch and don’t be afraid of white space. You need that room to create a sense of balance, keeping a natural flow and helping the user navigate their way through your content.
Now let’s check the text on your home page, as well as within your website and the chances are it’s too much. Less is definitely more when it comes to text on the web. Let’s face it, who has time to be reading page after page, when another form of instant gratification is just a click away. Ideally you’ll want to strike the right balance of proving enough information about what you are all about, without overloading your users and making sure everything is digestible.
A good guide to stick to for the homepage is to have a small paragraph of text below a heading and in subsequent pages, break up the text with sub headers, bullet points and lists. Read through your text from a user’s perspective and ask yourself if you are getting that balance right. Another simple tip is to place your most engaging content ‘above the fold’ which is the space immediately visible to a user without having to scroll down.
Imagery is another key focus here and ideally you’ll be looking for less of the stuffy stock images and more of the imaginative photography that will make your page stand out. Your designer can help you, but Pixabay is a great resource for some excellent royalty free images and this approach should be employed site-wide, with no tolerance whatsoever for any clip-art.
And if customer conversion is a goal, think about adding a powerful call to action to your website. Whether it’s sign up here for information or click here for a discount, it ‘s essential to have that call to action functionality, which will work alongside your copy to harvest contact details for your mailing list or lead straight to sales. Talk to your web designer about introducing new buttons to engage your users.
So we all know that content is king, but how do we bring that to life in your website. The answer is in your blog capability and being able to capture your audience through clear and concise writing, being informative and at the same time interesting. Consider a series of blog posts that inform users on issues or topics connected in some way with your service or offering, especially where you can demonstrate your expertise without giving it the hard sell. Blogs can be far more effective if you can provide a regular stream of useful content that informs as well as explains to help join the dots for potential customers. Any time you can add video to the mix that’s even better, as it provides a far more immersive and engaging experience and it’s an easy process to host the clip on a video sharing service like Youtube or Vimeo.
Blogs are perfect content for sharing on social media and while you are updating your website it’s an ideal opportunity to audit your social media functionality. From basic steps like introducing a Twitter or Instagram feed, to any number of social widgets, integrating your social media platforms into your website helps build trust with users at the same time as generating more likes on your Facebook page, so what’s not to like!
While we are giving some attention to the front end of your website, don’t forget to look under the hood and make sure you are doing everything you can to help search engine optimisation. That means making sure your page titles and tags are all on point and you have the right keywords are in place in your copy. Don’t let your messaging get lost in translation by using too many keywords where they don’t feel natural. The mantra of writing for humans and optimizing for search engines is a true now as it ever was. While we are optimising, let’s not forget devices and the importance today of having a mobile friendly website navigation, when of course so much of today’s searching and browsing activity takes place on the go.
If you’ve been able to address any of the points we have discussed as you’ve moved down the page, then ‘great job’ – you’re already on the way to a sharper, more functional and aesthetically pleasing website for your business. It doesn’t need to stop there, however. Think about doing an annual refresh at least to ensure the information you are presenting is up to date. Updating and enhancing your website should be a constant process and just as technology is always moving forward, websites should keep evolving and not remain static.