It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small service business or a grand old retailer, your website is a digital presence that carries your messages, your voice, and your vision out into the unknown. It’s your home base. The place where people come to explore, decide and buy. Desktop, mobile, wearable and whatever comes next. Your site is where your customers and clients touch down.
It’s your mother ship. You don’t just put up a website and go off to the seashore. Your site requires attention, cultivation and curation. And your business thrives on a steady diet of carefully-planned and beautifully-executed content.
When you play your content marketing cards right, you’ll have a site that attracts qualified customers and seals the deal within minutes.
But first, you need to keep people on your site long enough to make a decision.
1.) Start With a Happy Landing.
When someone lands on your site, load time is everything. It’s gotta be snappy. In fact, shaving milliseconds from page loading ties directly to more page views and higher revenues. I know. I know. I find that hard to believe myself.
Here’s the bottom line: Don’t keep visitors waiting. They’re a shifty lot, and they’ll take off at warp speed.
Another reason to look at your page speed? Something I didn’t know until I had a WordPress super-pro look under the hood on my site. Load time affects your Google search rankings. And mine was just borderline.
Looked pretty good to me.
But not to Google. Without going into all the gobbledygeek, a poor user experience doesn’t go over well with Google. And slow-loading sites, especially mobile sites, don’t get promoted in search rankings.
2.) “Don’t Make Me Think” Navigation.
Whether you have a one-pager or a blockbuster retail site, visitors want to navigate around without thinking twice about it. Without thinking at all. Nobody wants to come up with clever nav titles more than I do. But I mostly stick with the standards: Shop, Services, About, Contact, Blog, the warhorses of navigation.
Because figuring out what you mean leads to thinking, and thinking leads to leaving.
Now. Why do people come to your site, and what can you do about it? They are searching for something they want. Like a service or product. So your copy, images and navigation must let them know they’re in the right place. That you have what they want. Or something even better. And, most importantly, how to get what they came for. This is how you get site visitors to become clients, customers and buyers.
It’s called conversion.
It’s the secret to having a website that will literally sustain your success.
3.) Websites Have Feelings, Too.
Never underestimate the impact of emotion in site design. Maybe you’re a technology company, and you want to appeal to analytical types. A simple, elegant design may say more about your technology than diagrams, charts and endless lists of features. Visitors will respond to the emotional impact of a great line, a killer photograph, video or illustration.
I’m forever being told that CEOs are only interested in analytical communications. I just don’t buy it. In fact, I’ve worked with many people who are so analytical they find it difficult to make decisions. Sometimes it’s smart to go with your gut. This article in the Harvard Business Review explores that idea and the neuroscience of decision-making. I’d love to know what you think about it. For me, it confirms something I instinctively know to be true.
Words, images and ideas that generate emotions are powerful and persuasive.
Here’s where analysis will serve you. You can analyze your visitors’ behavior. See how they found your site. Tune up your conversion with heat-mapping and click-analysis. Test effectiveness with split testing. These analytical approaches will tell you what’s working, and what could work better. When you have a high-converting website, you’ll know why.
If your site isn’t bringing in business and sales, let’s talk. I know we can turn that around.