1. Your Website Design Should Showcase YOU
It’s understandable that people would have this misconception about website design. After all, a website is basically a giant, virtual portfolio with endless pages existing solely to display your greatness to the world.
Or is it?
Of course, that first statement was meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek. If you’re an artist or web designer, though, there may be a tiny grain of truth to it. For the rest of us, however, it’s a bit off the mark.
While one of your website’s pages should undoubtedly share with visitors a little bit about yourself and your background, the main reason for the site’s existence, if you’re in the business of selling anything, is to get your visitors to DO something.
Your website is, first and foremost, a marketing tool.
What this means for you is that less time should be spent on the esthetics of the site (website design) and more time spent on creating effective calls to action (CTAs). You can do this by adding suggestions within the content (“want to learn more? Click here!”), offering an incentive to join your mailing list (“get my awesome free ebook by filling out this form!”), or simply encouraging interaction by asking your visitors a question (“So, what are your thoughts about this incredibly pressing issue we’ve been discussing?”).
There are many ways to get people to take some sort of action when they’re visiting your website, even if it’s just getting them to look at more than one page. Like any good marketing tool, the ultimate goal is to begin building a relationship, so that eventually, your prospects start willingly taking you up on your sales offers.
2. You Don’t Need a Search Box
Some people just forget to put a search box. Others use it as a (not very good) strategy to increase page views: the thinking goes, “if visitors can’t easily find what they’re looking for, they’ll spend more time on my site searching around.”
No, they won’t.
Having category tabs isn’t enough because they don’t always lead to what people are specifically looking for. Web surfers are impatient and they want to get their information quickly. There’s a lot of competition out there on the web and if your visitors start to get frustrated, they’ll click out of your site in a heartbeat.
Put a search box on your website. In a clearly visible location. That is all.
3. People Will Read Your “About” Page
This goes back to misconception #1.
You think your website is about YOU.
Your visitors think your website is about THEM.
Some people have a mild interest in your back story and will click over to your “About” page. But it’s mostly so they can see if you have the right stuff to deliver to them what they’re looking for. So don’t just start waxing poetic about your college days or your birth story (unless your site is about birth stories).
Use your About page to — you got it — sell what you’re offering.
Your bio should be short (one paragraph max) and the rest of the page should contain things like testimonials, work samples, and direct reminders of why your visitors need to click over and download your ebook or sign up for your mailing list.
4. People Will Click Around to Find Your Contact Information
People can be impatient and they can be lazy. When they are looking for something on the Internet, they are usually both. The whole internet exists because people didn’t want to get up and go all the way to the library and search for books to help them with their research (okay, that might be a bit of an oversimplification, but, you get the idea).
If you’re lucky enough to have someone coming to your website with the express purpose of getting in touch with you, don’t make them work too hard for it. Don’t just put your contact information on your “contact” page — detailed information like maps or links to directions may load very slowly. Don’t give your visitors any reason to get frustrated and click away.
Put your email address or phone number in a clearly visible spot on each page (website design 101). Quick, easy, and efficient — that’s what customers like.
5. People Will Automatically Share Your Articles
You’ve done your due diligence and you’ve got pretty, round little share buttons for every social media site under the sun visible under all the titles of your blog posts. So you’re good, right?
First of all, the share buttons should also be at the end of the article because that’s where people end up after they’ve finished reading. It’s really hit or miss as to whether people will scroll back up just so they can click “share this.” Don’t leave it to chance.
Also, don’t leave it entirely up to your readers to decide whether they will share your content. Ask them to do it. Services like Click to Tweet make it easy to create and include a pre-populated tweet containing a snippet of your content, right within the text of your article. Visitors simply click the link graphic, and it’s done.
Nice and easy. No scrolling required. Clean website design.
6. You Don’t Need a Blog
Simply put, you do. For two main reasons:
- Blogs help you build your reputation as an influencer and thought-leader in your industry.
- Blogs allow you to interact on a more personal level with your prospective customers. In a world where social media rules, any opportunity for businesses to have a personal interaction with their customers is a good thing
You have a business to run and you’re busy, there’s no question. But here’s the thing…you don’t have to post daily or even weekly. All you have to do is be engaging, consistent, and share useful, timely information with the people who can most benefit from that knowledge.
7. Sometimes Less is More in Website Design
It’s hard not to get distracted by all the shiny websites, videos, and marketing campaigns that abound on the internet. Every marketer on the planet will try to convince you that your website NEEDS to have this new, important thing to be relevant and competitive. If your website design becomes mainly about being slick and “new,” however, your message and your product or service offering may get lost somewhere in the process.
Once again, the focus should always be on getting your website visitors to take some action that moves the customer/client relationship forward in some way. Consequently, you should put less emphasis on “magic,” and more on targeted, consistent messaging.
Need help? The team at Localsync creates focused, compelling websites for small businesses and can help you get started.