6 ways to make the most of your website
Your website is often the first point of contact a prospective customer has with your business, making it a fundamental part of your marketing and communications strategy.
A good website is more than just an interactive brochure: with the right content and design, it will become a 24-7 shopfront for your business, engaging new clients and increasing sales. Here are some ways to turn your website into a lead-generating machine:
Search Engine Optimisation:
What’s the first thing people do when they’re looking for a product or service? They Google it. Good SEO and a higher search engine ranking means more people will be able to find you when they come looking. A few good strategies include:
- Identify accurate keywords and descriptors for your business.
- Use these keywords in page headers and body copy, but use them in context.
- Include keywords in the ‘alt text’ tag for your images.
Perfect elevator pitch
Visitors spend an average of seven seconds on 90 per cent of the websites they visit. So if you want them to hang around for longer than that, you need engage their attention immediately.
- Ensure that your logo, tagline and the initial two sentences of your website copy are clearly visible.
- Write an ‘elevator pitch’ – a catchy 30-second summary of who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. Stick it on your home page. Together with your logo, this will sum up your business’s identity and brand personality.
Make ‘About us’ about them
The ‘About Us’ page is often the most visited page on a website, where site visitors often decide whether your company is the right choice for them. So it’s crucial to get it right.
- Your ‘About Us’ page shouldn’t be about you at all. It should be all about your customer: what you can do for them, how they will benefit from using your product or service; how you can provide solutions to their problems.
- Keep the tone chatty and conversational, avoid using industry buzzwords.
- Describing the motivation behind how/why your business started can help you connect with customers.
- Solid facts and figures speak louder than superlatives.
- List awards and association memberships (like HIA) to add credibility.
Call to action
Anyone who has Googled your product or service and clicked through to your website is a motivated potential customer. Help turn those who are ‘just looking’ into paying customers by including a ‘call to action’, e.g.:
- Ask visitors to submit an online form requesting a quote or more information
- Suggest they sign up for specials
- Invite them to subscribe to your blog or newsletter.
Once you have a visitor’s email address, stay in touch: send newsletters, special offers, discount vouchers, etc. It’s all about keeping your business front and centre as they approach their purchasing decision.
Design, look and navigation
The length of time your site takes to load, its visual appeal and ease of navigation will all impact on how long visitors stay on your site. A clear layout and good navigation system will encourage users to stay and discover more. But if they can't find what they’re looking for they will usually click away.
- Ensure a quick load time by sizing images correctly:
file sizes of 100K and 60K are sufficient for on-screen viewing.
- A grid-based layout is logical and easy to follow.
- Text should be clear and legible; keep colours and typography consistent.
- Position primary navigation menus near the top of the home page and use ‘breadcrumbs’, which link back to each previous page the user has navigated through.
Mobile friendly design
Websites aren’t just viewed on computers anymore. In June 2013, 7.5 million Australians accessed the internet via their mobile phone, and almost 40 per cent of Australians own an iPad or Android tablet. With these stats in mind, make sure your website is responsive: that is, can be displayed on any device or screen size.
Some tips for responsive web design:
- The site must display on all screens with minimal need for scrolling, panning and re-sizing.
- Ensure your site loads quickly.
- While usability should remain optimised, eliminate non-essential content to streamline the mobile experience.