Seven simple tips to make your business’ website the best and most effective it can be
There is a wealth of information available to website owners about design and search engine optimization, but one thing tends to get short shrift: the words on the website. It’s no use having a beautiful website with lots of traffic unless it’s generating sales.
Traffic gives you visitors; communicative text gives you customers. You must always be talking to the people who arrive at your website and telling them why you’ve got what they need, because very few products or services sell themselves.
Rule One: Think about the function of each page.
Visitors won’t always land on your Home page. They may land on your FAQ or About Us page. If they do, they will need to be given reasons to navigate the rest of the site. Every page must make the visitor want to buy.
If they want to know more before so doing, or if they’re not being asked to buy from the site itself, they may visit your Contact Us page. Ensure this page is welcoming. Instead of just displaying a contact form with a ‘submit’ button, try inserting a paragraph of text saying you welcome the contact, and will respond as soon as you can.
Rule Two: Be concise.
Web pages should not read like essays. Visitors won’t stick around to read reams and reams of descriptive text. Selling on the web is not the same as direct mail, where long text can sometimes work. Short, snappy text is needed – many people casually browse the net and if you want to hook these visitors in, you need to do it quickly.
Rule Three: It’s all about marketing.
You don’t an exhaustive explanation of what your company does, you just need to make the visitor want what you’re offering and take action to obtain it. Too many business owners write enthusiastically about what their product or service does, or how it works, and forget to tell their visitors why it would be a good idea for them to buy it.
Rule Four: Don’t make visitors do any work.
One of the most common mistakes made by enthusiastic website owners is to assume their own level of interest in what the business does will be shared by the visitors to their site. This is rarely the case, so don’t put anything on the site that makes anybody do any work.
Don’t make anyone read something twice to make sense of it, or study a table of calculations to work out why you offer the best value. Just write it down in plain English.
Rule Five: Consider your USP.
What’s different about you and why is that good? Moreover, why should the customer buy from you as a result? Work out what your key selling point is and emphasize it throughout – and it’s not always based on cost. If you’re selling rock climbing safety equipment, for example, your buyers will be more concerned with its quality than its price, so this is what your writing should emphasize.
Rule Six: Consider your design.
Make sure the design and writing style complement each other, and that the layout is constructed so you can communicate with customers to maximum effect. It should be easy to navigate from one piece of information to the next. Make sure you have all the links in place that are necessary for seamless navigation.
Rule Seven: Choose your words carefully
The most important thing about the style in which you write is to sound sincere. Avoid all of the following: cliches; corporate speak; excessive punctuation; fancy words; and long sentences.
The second most important thing is to tailor the style to your target market. An informal, colloquial style may be appropriate if you’re selling ringtones to teenagers, but it would be inappropriate if you’re offering professional services to corporations.
What you essentially need to bear in mind is who will be reading your web content, and what they want. Once you are clear about that, you can go about selling your product or service on the basis of what it can do for your potential customers. Turning visitors into customers should always be your primary goal.
© Crimson Business Ltd. 2006