Once upon a time, a decade or two ago, just having a website was enough for most small businesses. Times have changed a lot. It’s not enough to simply have a website, you need a great website. Your site needs to be easy to find given specific keyword searches. Once potential customers get to your site it needs to be pretty, interesting or exciting enough to make people want to stay there—and to do that within the first second. Then once you’ve convinced them to stay you better have great content that really convinces them that you are the right choice for whatever it is your potential customer or client is looking for. If all of those things do not fall into place, than your competition is going to get your business.
If that sounds scary take some solace in the fact that the vast, vast majority of business websites fall woefully short of these goals. Here are the three main things to keep in mind as you create your website.
- Amazing Content – Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of business websites is the content, which is surprising since you would not overlook content in say, a TV ad, Newspaper ad or marketing mailer. What if you had someone on the radio mumbling about your brand, using horrible syntax completely off tone and in some weird annoying style? Why then do so many websites sound this way? At the end of the day (or the end of a customer’s visit) what you actually say to them is what is going to get them to buy, what will make them remember your brand, and will determine how they remember your brand. You need sales content for your business’s website, and the sales content needs to be clear, concise, interesting, persuasive and original. It needs to have an intuitive structure with interesting and persuasive headlines and tags. It has to have a powerful call to action. Your design should fit around the content you need to sell your product, not the other way around. On page SEO is important as well, but not as important as good on page content.
- Great Design – This includes the layout, where your links are located, the navigation, your images, the colors, etc. All of these things need to work together to draw your potential customer’s eye to the most important aspects of your site, your headlines, benefits, tags, and your call to action. At the same time in needs to evoke an emotion, the emotion that best gets your customer in the mood to buy. It also needs to grab attention immediately. It is the designs job to draw in the customer in that first second, to get them to at least read your headline before leaving.
- Search Engine Optimization – You’ve heard of this right? It is all the rage lately, but for good reason. Unfortunately there is a lot of bad advice out there. SEO is what ensures, given the right keywords which most often lead to actual sales (not just visits, it is not the same thing) that you get more of these potential customers, or at least just as many of these potential customers, as your competition. It is a complex and evolving field. It includes factors from the underlying coding of your site to META tags, on page content, incoming and outgoing links, how old your site is, your authority rating on major search engines, etc. You likely will want to at some point hire a professional. When choosing an expert the most important thing is to choose a reliable company that only uses White Hat SEO. While there are a lot of charlatans in the business, there are also quite a few great SEO companies. Do your research and review a company’s results prior to hiring anyone.