It never ceases to amaze me how so many companies have bad Websites. I’m talking about Websites that are dog-ugly, a hassle to navigate and lack strong calls to action. And topping the list are Websites that don’t make it clear what the company does or why anyone would want to use its products.
Now, you’d think having a good Website is a no-brainer given the Internet’s growing value and role as a marketing and sales tool but, sadly, too many companies clearly didn’t get the memo.
So, here’s the deal: Take a good, hard look at your Website, and ask yourself if it would captivate, excite or, heck, even generate a modicum of interest from a potential customer. Be honest, be brutally honest. And then just to be sure, go ask some total strangers about what they think, and tell them not to worry about hurting your feelings.
What you’ll likely discover is your Website sucks. Yup, it’s digital garbage or, at least, it’s so bad it’s not doing your company any favours. Bottom line is you have a big problem that needs to be fixed. Your Website is your digital welcome sign; it’s the place online that is supposed to make a great first impression. If it doesn’t, do something…quickly.
With your tail between your legs, now what? What’s it going to take to transform your Website into an information, conversation and sales machine?
Here are some places to start:
1. Think about the people visiting your Website. What do they want to know or learn once they get there? This is about their needs, not about what you want to tell them. It means serving up information that answers their questions, explains how your product works, and shows them how to get more information or talk to someone.
2. Make it dead-simple to navigate. Remember, most people online are lazy. They want everything to be easy so don’t make people think about they need to do next. Instead, make sure the Website is user-friendly and intuitive.
3. Do not be afraid to invest in design. As people such as Peep Laja makes clear, first impressions count. A site that is clean, lively, interesting or beautiful quickly sets the tone. If people perceive your company is the real deal, that’s half the battle in starting to convince them to become a customer.
4. Have clear messaging and value propositions. Like I said earlier, people are digital couch potatoes. Getting them to do any kind of work is a challenge, so what you do and the benefits of using your products must be abundantly obvious. Your goal is making sure people immediately “get” it.
5. Have strong calls to action. Have a plan for what you people to do. It could be registering, signing up for a demo or Webinar, downloading an e-book or software, or, heck, calling someone. Whatever the plan, make it obvious about what someone should do next. If you don’t, chances are they won’t do anything or click away.
6. Have an “About” page that kicks butt. Too many companies are guilty of not spending enough time crafting a page that articulates what they do, their history and people involved, or they don’t have an “About” page at all. Big mistakes.
7. Measure and track the Website’s performance. How many people are visiting? What are they doing once they get there? What pages are they viewing? How long are they sticking around? Where are they coming from? These are all straightforward questions but they provide valuable insight into whether the Website is doing its job or not.
What do you think? What are the other things that make a Website work well?
For some other thoughts and examples on good Websites, check out this blog posts about “Purple Cow” Websites by KissMetrics. Lisa Barone has a good post on the five things a Website should do, while Digital Telepathy highlights “14 beautiful content-heavy Websites”.
If you’re looking for help to overhaul your Website’s messaging or design, drop me a note. I’d be happy to talk about the services I offer.