Customers will often choose a small business based on the appearance and functionality of their website.
If you are a small business owner, a potential customer may only give your site a few seconds before they move on to your competitor’s site. If your site is simple, clear, functional and professional, it will generate more business.
Simple is better. So let me ask you 3 questions to determine if your website is simple enough:
- Can a new user easily determine what you do by looking at your website for 5 seconds?
- If they are looking for a product that you sell, could they simply and easily find out information about that product from your site in 10 seconds?
- Do they understand from your site the simple factors that separate you from the other people in your area offering similar services?
Your website needs to communicate to potential customers what you do in language they can clearly comprehend. If you aren’t seeing traffic come in for your website, here are a few tips that might help to you to attract more business from the web.
“Simple is Better
#1 – Make the Home Page Simple, Clear and Responsive
Google is by far the most widely use web browser and part of their success comes from keeping it simple. Research has found that people can process less than 10 different options on a webpage, so Google keeps their homepage choices extremely limited. Being an effective website guide means that you don’t give people too many choices to make. You always help users know exactly how to take the next step.
Things that look simple are the result of a great deal of planning. Map out your site before you begin. Consider placing no more than 6-7 choices on the home page and then make those choices really clear! Think about how a person travels through your site and ask:
- What are they going to see first? What impression does that image make?
- Where do you want the customer to go next? What do you want each step to communicate about your company?
- What can you offer on the website that will turn a person from a browser to a buyer?
Consider interviewing some regular customers and ask them what convinced them to use your products and/or services over those of your competitors. Use this input to help move a website viewer through your site so they become your next regular customer.
#2 – Remove Unnecessary Clutter
Over time, websites tend to get cluttered up. Managers begin to push for more space to promote products, sales people promises clients space on the website, new products are being offered by the production team and negotiations are made with new vendors. New blogs get added. Content evolves. Before long, your site can become a mess!
Begin by shortening the long lists of services and condense those lists into simple to understand statements. Better yet, tells stories and highlight experiences. People aren’t as interested in a laundry list of your services as they are with knowing that you are an expert and working with you will be a pleasurable experience. Put the main ideas into titles and headers. You have less than 10 seconds to communicate to a new buyer what you do, so make sure your main message stands out!
Secondly, use stock photos intelligently. A stock photo is better than no photo, but our last udated from Google informed us that Google is ranking sites higher that are utilizing real images and custom photography. Stock images can be effective communication tools, but they need to carefully chosen so they reinforce the message of the text. When possible, use professionally shot images of your staff and your products. Realism goes a long way when promoting a small business.
Thirdly, use terminology that those outside of your industry can understand. Technical jargon can be helpful in the shop, but it can be confusing to the general public. Consider having someone outside your company read your promotional copy before you publish it. Make sure that someone who is unfamiliar with your product understands what you are offering.
#3 – Connect to Social Media
Social media marketing is exploding! Small businesses who utilize this resource are attracting new customers. Include “like” and “share” features on your website. Give people opportunity to interact with what they see there.
Produce new content on your site on a regular basis. Once a month is a minimum. Once a week is better! Sites that add new content 10-15 times per month are currently getting the best results. Write about what you know and then share it on both your website and your social media pages. Give your customers the chance to share that information with others. Give people a reason to keep coming back to your site by offering up new content.
People trust those who are experts in their field. You have the opportunity to use your site to position yourself as an expert in your area. You main objective it to earn the trust of your customers with your web content.
#4 – We are No Longer “Above the Fold.” – JUST LET THEM SCROLL!
10 years ago, the conventional wisdom was to keep all the critical information about the company on the very first screenshot – before the user has to scroll. This idea is so outdated.
People scroll. They WANT to Scroll. JUST LET THEM SCROLL! Modern websites use 3-5 clearly marked sections to draw the reader through the content on the home page. These sections should include a few (but not all) of these elements:
- Value Proposition is a photo reinforced tagline. These are often called sliders by web programmers. This element is a 1 line statement that tells a user everything they need to know about who you are. It is the first visual impression.
- Intro video showing the owners, your product or your services. Everything has an orientation video these days and they are very effective!
- A graphic overview of services. Don’t just list them all. Guide the reader through your main products or services using icons or images.
- Testimonials really help to build trust – especially if you are relatively new or unknown.
- The “About Us” section of every website I’ve ever built is one of the most visited features. People who use small businesses want to know who they are dealing with.
- Feature a few of your most popular products.
- Case Studies / Work Samples / Success Stories all help to build trust with a potential client.
- People will come back repeatable if you offer some helpful resources. Resources often come in the form of a blog or news page.
One huge exception to the “let them scroll” rule is search engines and logins. Both logins and search engines should generally still be “above the fold.”
For just about everything else, we are not trying to cram everything together at the top anymore, so use white space. Don’t cram it all in….Let the page breathe. Be more liberal with pictures and use your headings intentionally.
Here’s an article about how a website works better than word of mouth.
When in doubt, give us a call!
We’d love to help you out with your next web project. Contact us today!
Creative Director / Owner