Your website is your most important marketing tool and it has a job to do that goes beyond just looking sexy. That’s an added bonus.
We know it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in latest digital and design trends, and hey, it’s great to experiment and split test new ideas. Just do not let it affect your website’s primary focus.
As a business owner your website needs to do four things.
1. Showcase your offering in the best possible way2. Provide visitors with easy access to the information they require3. Build trust and credibility4. Turn site visitors into paying customers/clients
Let’s look at these in more detail.
This is so important. You have about three seconds to convince a new site visitor that you can provide what they are looking for when they land on your site.
To do this you must inform visitors of your offer in an engaging way that compels them to continue reading.
The moment a visitor lands on your page, they need to know WHAT problem you solve and WHO you solve it for.
This is known as a value proposition and it should be prominent above the fold.
For example, on Creative Tweed’s homepage we establish very early on that we use web, design and marketing to help business owners attract new customers and grow their business.
The second step to showcasing your offer is to do with engagement. To avoid visitors hitting that back button your content – copy, images, video – must be engaging.
We’ll cover this in more detail, later on.
There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to find what you’re looking for on a website, whether it be a business telephone number or information on a particular service.
Well thought out content architecture is critical to providing a great user experience for website visitors. You should establish an information hierarchy during the planning phase of a website build.
How do you do this?
Your starting point should be your buyer personas. You need to think about the different types of people who buy from your business. What information do they need to convince them that you can meet their goals and deliver what they want.
Once you have this you can plan content accordingly and make sure it’s easily accessible.
In order for someone to buy what you are selling they must know, like and trust you.
Your visitor has now established you can provide what they are looking for and has found more information about the product or service that is of interest. You must now convince them that you are worth their investment.
Here are a few things you can do to start building trust and credibility with your site visitors.
We also really recommend being open and transparent about what will happen when people click on a call-to-action or fill in a form. For example, here at Creative Tweed, we have a free eBook which you can download on how to supercharge your website.
We’re really clear that when you complete this form that we may send you other emails to help you on your business journey – but you can opt out at anytime.
Arguably the most important item out of the four. A website conversion strategy is the purposeful plan you put in place to turn website visitors into paying customers/clients.
It would be lovely if visitors turned up to your website, loved it so much they picked up the phone and immediately bought from you but, unfortunately, this hardly ever happens.
You need marketing funnels on your website to steer your prospects towards to action you want them to take. Ultimately, this tends to be either to book a callback or make a purchase.
It’s a little bit like reassuringly holding your prospects hand and effortlessly guiding them towards the end goal.
At Creative Tweed this is our starting point. Before any design work takes place we have a big whiteboard session (yes, we have a HUGE whiteboard in our studio) where we map out your website user’s journey.
The starting point here is to first map out your website sales funnel. We’ll wireframe each page of the funnel on the board so we can visualise it. The funnel should be between two to four pages long.
We then look at the other content pages on your site and map them to your sales funnel.
Sometimes it’s easier to start with the end goal and work backwards.
What is the end goal of our funnel? To purchase a product? Download an eBook?
You then need to look at each of the pages in your sales funnel and make sure you are applying AIDA, which stands for:
Attention. Interest. Desire. Action.
We’ve written about AIDA previously. The principle is so successful as it takes site visitors through the emotional journey of making a purchase.
Go through the pages of your sales funnel and highlight the sections on each page responsible for attention, interest, desire and action.
You should find that you are presenting the visitor with a roadmap to follow where next steps are logical and easy-to-follow.
If you find that website user journeys are not quite as obvious as you thought, it would be a good idea to get a professional web designer in to help.
It is so important that your website is consistent with its use of fonts, colour, shape and form.
What does a button look like? What fonts are used for headers and what fonts are used for body copy? What design does your blog post use?
Site visitors need to understand this early on so they know what appropriate action to take at key moments on your website.
Keep header fonts the same. Be consistent with your button types.
Direct response is a phrase that’s specific to a copywriting or advertising strategy where you want an absolute action taken.
Direct response copy always has a call to action that has an immediate, measurable outcome and is an essential element of any high performing website.
Yes, your copy needs to tell a story, showcase your product/service and engage your visitors, but ultimately, you want them to take action.
While we’re talking about copy, there are few other key elements you will want to keep in mind.
As business owners, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of talking about you and your company too much. You really want your copy to focus on the site visitor.
Go through your copy and count how many times you use words like “us”, “we” or “I”. Ideally, these should be kept to a minimum.
You also need to be mindful of your copy’s length. Nobody likes huge paragraphs of text!
Keep your sentence succinct and to the point. Keep your line length short, breaking as often as you can.
This makes your copy more appealing to the reader and also easier to skim read.
Why is this?
Often, when a visitor is reading your website, they will not understand the technicalities that they are buying. What they understand is what’s in it for them.
For example, at Creative Tweed we will normally implement an opt-in box or sign up form as part of a client website build. If you don’t work in website design, there is a good chance you won’t know what this is.
The way that we would reframe this as a benefit would be to say “increase incoming leads to your business”.
A definitive 42 point checklist that will take your business to the next level. Make sure your website is not missing these key features.
Yes, that is plural. You need to have more than one call-to-action on your website pages.
We recommend that our clients have both a primary and secondary CTA on the page.
Why? Well, different site visitors maybe in different stages of the buyer’s journey.
In most cases, your primary CTA will be for the visitor to get in touch with your business or purchase a product. But what if they’re not ready to buy? You do not want to lose that potential customer.
That’s where the secondary CTA comes in.
At Creative Tweed, the primary CTA on each of our service sales pages is to ‘Schedule a Call Back’.
If the site visitor isn’t ready for that then further down the page we provide them with the opportunity to get a service-specific eBook sent to their inbox.
This is a great way to provide value to prospective customers and nurture them through the buying cycle.
There is one exception to having multiple CTAs and that is campaign landing pages.
We normally recommend that any advertising campaigns have there own landing page.
A landing page needs to be designed to get the visitor to do ONE thing. The other elements on the page should all be geared up to help them make that action (remember AIDA).
Not only is this good for tracking campaign performance but it also gives you greater control over visitor behaviour.
At Creative Tweed, we use different headers and footers on our landing pages. We strip away all navigation (so our visitors won’t be distracted and go elsewhere) and have one single CTA that will be strategically deployed throughout the page.
An orphan page is basically a ‘dead end’. It’s a page with no links on it. No next steps. No CTA.
This is bad from an SEO point of view but also from a users perspective and will likely result in them leaving your website.
Instead, always try and think of a smart linking structure.
If you’re planning a sales page, then having the CTAs in place as detailed above is a good idea.
If it’s a blog post, plan to have links to related posts at the end of the article.
You can tell a stock photo a mile off. Wherever possible, we would recommend investing in photography that shows off your business.
This makes your website more aesthetically appealing. You can photograph exactly what you envisaged using in the image space, something that really works with your brand (rather than trying to fit round pegs in square holes with a similar stock photo).
Professional photography will give greater gravitas to your message. It’s unique and more likely to leave a lasting impression in your website visitors mind, compared to the stock photo that they’ve seen four times already that day.
Now, we know this isn’t always possible. Sometimes you need a Man Playing The Tuba While Skydiving and that’s pretty hard to capture yourself! If you do want a photo like this, get in touch. we have a great range of photographers that skydive.
In those instance, head on over to sites like Unsplash or StockSnap. Their photography is a lot more considered than some of their competitors. The best bit? The images are free to use.
Sliders look nice. They keep things tidy and compact.
But here’s the thing, they’re hiding key messages, testimonials or other bits of content.
If your visitors are scanning your web pages and your content is hidden away in a slider, then there is a very good chance that they’ll miss it!
This maybe obvious but we’ve seen this overlooked so many times.
Having a hamburger to access the menu on a desktop is fine, however, there a definitely things you shouldn’t do.
You must avoid the temptation to have crazy loading effects or poor labelling. Sure, ‘Lumos Duo Spellbook’ may resonate with Harry Potter fans but this will confuse the average site visitor – it’s probably best to stick to ‘Blog’ or another label that they will understand.
It is really, really important to get this one right. Otherwise, visitors will be off, faster than you can shout “expelliarmus”.
Contact details cover quite a few things. Business telephone number, email, address and links to social accounts.
Now we’re not saying all of these should be prominent on every web page but it is a good idea to include your telephone number in a prominent place on your website.
Including your business address in your website footer is another good idea. Aside from visitor convenience, it also helps to build trust and credibility.
It’s all well and good stating the benefits your product and service can deliver but to be truly effective, you need to back up what you say with evidence.
The way to do that is case studies.
Case studies do not have to be ‘War and Peace’ but there is a formula to writing a good one. Try to follow this simple structure.
At Creative Tweed, we tend to document our work as we go along taking photos and video of the process. This allows us to put together real and compelling case studies once the project has finished.
You may not be doing any advertising right now but one day you might (we’d certainly recommend it if you’re looking to grow your business with ideal customers).
For online advertising to be really effective, you need to have marketing tags from platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google installed on your site.
Don’t wait until your ready to advertise, if these aren’t installed already do it now.
In order to deliver great advertising campaigns, the tags need to build up data on your website visitors. Install them now so you’re not delayed when you’re ready to start.
Need help? Get in touch with Creative Tweed, we’d be happy to assist
This can be really hard to avoid. You’re an expert. You know your industry and its intricacies.
Chances are your potential customers don’t.
The ability to explain a complex subject in a simplistic way is a massive skill and one your audience will thank you for.
We mentioned the importance of customer reviews and testimonials earlier in the article but this is such a key component of successful website we thought we’d just go a little bit deeper.
In a website and marketing context, social proof is evidence that other people have purchased and found value in your product or service.
People are more likely to purchase a product which others are already purchasing (the bandwagon effect).
You can display social proof in many ways on your site, such as a written quote or pulled in from a third party review site – but by far the most powerful is video.
Video of happy clients and customers removes any doubt as to the authenticity of the quote. Visitors can see and hear first hand how you delivered value and helped them.
We’re not particularly keen on the word blog, however, we are BIG fans of content marketing.
And that is what your blog is. A section on your site for strategic content marketing.
Here’s the catch, if you have an area on the site for content marketing, use it. The rewards are fantastic.
You can provide your target audience with tons of value and search engines love it!
Everyone hates being presented with a huge form to fill out. In fact, there’s probably nothing more off-putting.
If you’ve managed to get your site visitor to the point where they are about to complete a form and become a lead, the last thing you want to do is scare them off. That would undo all your hard work.
A better approach is to think about the minimum amount of information you need to complete the task.
If it’s a digital download, just get the first name and email address.
For contact forms, again just get the minimum.
Research shows that visitors are much more likely to fill in and submit the form after performing the micro commitment of clicking the button.
If you’ve stayed with us to the end, thank you. We covered quite a bit so we wanted to do something helpful.
We’ve summarised this whole article in a 3 page checklist that you can download today.
It’s easy-to-follow and even simpler-to-implement.
This is not a “techy” guide.
Just simple steps you (or someone in your team) can make to start reaping the rewards of a high converting website today.
Get powerful web and marketing insight that you can implement in your business today delivered directly to your inbox.
Privacy | Terms | References