After reviewing and building scores of websites, three factors stand out as most important. The good news is that they are completely within your ability to control and fix them.
These three points are senior to SEO, design, branding and positioning. Without them, no amount of SEO work will save your site. Your social media and pay-per-click efforts are entirely wasted if you don’t first address these three components to a good website.
1. Decide what your website is for.
A website is not a two dimensional object like a billboard. A website is a 3D marketing device. It is shaped like a funnel.
Every component of your site should be focused on funnelling traffic to a specific end result. Common results for a site could be:
- A direct sale
- An identity capture
- A hot prospect that contacts your company, whether online or offline
Anything that does not directly contribute to achieving that end product should be removed from your site.
2. Write clearly.
A visitor should know within 3 seconds of visiting your site:
- Who you are
- What service or product you offer
- How to get more information about that product
- What makes your company unique
- How to buy that service or product
Don’t let visitors guess who you are. They came to your site looking for something – make sure that they find it.
Your copy should succinctly direct visitors through your website funnel.
Leave special nomenclature and euphemisms for your services out of your website copy.
Recently we reviewed a website for an insurance broker that only mentioned the word, “insurance,” 3 times on a 20-page site. Instead, the site was peppered with “Employee benefit solutions.” Why?
“Because our clients already know what we offer.”
But – Google ranks a site based on the words used in the copy of the site. So instead of ranking for “Insurance broker,” or “small business health insurance,” this site will rank for “employee benefit solutions.”
And guess how many people search for that?
And worse, that particular site does a disservice to visitors by making them search to discover what products are offered. This is easily remedied with big results.
How long will new visitors – potential prospects – hunt around on a site to try and discover what it is you sell? How much easier to hit the “back” button and search click on your competitor’s site?
Seth Godin likens your website visitors to crack-addicted monkeys searching for a banana. While this isn’t very flattering, this description does help us remember that people are very easily distracted on the internet.
Write clearly. Let your visitors (and Google) know who you are and what you do.
3. Use good pictures.
People visit your site to find out who you are. Your site is a safe way for potential customers to get to know you before they must interact with your company.
Pictures give your visitors familiarity. They can see what you and your company look like.
Don’t use stock photos to represent your company. Stock photos are easy to spot and they ruin any sense of familiarity that your website might otherwise provide.
Go ahead and hire a photographer to come in and shoot pictures of:
- The company founder
- Important employees – including points of contact like the receptionist and sales force.
- The product or service being produced
- The product or service in action
- Your office location
- Happy customers
Put those on your site instead of generic “happy business people shaking hands” stock photos. You’ll become more real to your visitors and they will be more likely to trust you and reach out to you.