Website Design Boot Camp Part 4: Website Content
So you understand all the functions you want your website to serve, and you’ve got the general design down. But what about the actual content? What words can you put on a website to create dollars? There might not be a magic formula, but with strong and complete copy you can create a compelling site that brings in traffic and converts that traffic into sales.
One of the most important pages of your website is your “About Us” page—where you come right out and talk about what your business is, and share its background and history. Every business has a story, from the youngest startup to the oldest store. When people find out about your business for the first time, this is the first page they will look to. They want to know who you are, what you do, where you come from. The trick is to say as much as you can, in as few words as possible. People want to learn about you; but they don’t want to read a novel.
Because we believe in practicing what we preach, let’s use the “About Us” section that we use at GoSmallBiz.com:
In two short paragraphs, our visitors learn:
- What we do: “online destination for small business consulting and tools”
- How long we’ve been in business: “Founded in 1996”
- Who founded the company: “NFL Hall of Famer and veteran entrepreneur Fran Tarkenton”
- Where we operate: “small business owners across North America”
- A sampling of our product and service offerings: “Unlimited online business consultation, software tools, business coaching, and training courses”
- Our mission: “to help you run and grow your business”
Likewise, your “About Us” page should tell people what you do, how long you’ve been doing it, who you are specifically, where you operate, and what your mission is as a company.
From there, you want to include contact information—once people are interested in your business, they need to know how to reach you! Provide a phone number, physical address, and/or email address, as applicable.
As discussed earlier, the way to a site that really stands out and drives traffic is to create and offer resources for your visitors. You want to update the site regularly with
interesting, relevant information. Anytime you have something new related to your business that your customers should know about, put it on your website! Connecting your website to your social media accounts is an easy way to display some fresh information—content that you’re already producing can do extra work for you.
Blogging is the most common way to keep generating fresh content. If you’re worried that you don’t have anything to write about, don’t worry—there are lots of different things you can blog about to keep generating fresh, relevant content:
- Community events that your business is involved with
- Other community events that your customers would be interested in
- Trends in your industry
- New product or service offerings
- A great customer experience story (with their permission, of course)
- Informational how-to’s for do-it-yourselfers
- Personal anecdotes to help customers get to know you better
Fresh content gives your customers a reason to not just visit your site once, but to come back. That’s how you build a community, which is much more powerful and sustainable than a simple list of leads. Some of your content might be freely accessible, while other pieces might be lead generation material.
For help with writing your content, check out our “Customer Communications: Business Writing Fundamentals” guide!Social media marketing blog SocialMediaToday.com updates their blog multiple times per day. This gives visitors a reason to come back again and again. They also use Twitter and other social media outlets to alert their fans when new content is available.
Calls to Action
Did you catch that above? We just gave you a call to action to download our Business Writing Guide (there goes another). Generating traffic is great. But converting that traffic into customers is essential. To do that, you need clear, effective calls to action. What do you want your visitors to do after they visit your site? You need to know what you want them to do, and then communicate it clearly so that they know exactly what to do next, too.
Here are some of the actions you might want your website visitors to take:
- Visit your store
- Visit a specific page on your website
- Call or email you
- Schedule an appointment
- Place an order directly online
- Download a white paper
- Participate in a webinar
- Get a free trial
There might be multiple actions that your visitors can take, depending on where on your website they go. You might ask people to contact you on your “About Us” and “Contact” pages, ask for the sale or a trial on product pages, and ask for contact information in exchange for some of your informational resources on other pages. But try to limit yourself to one call to action on any individual page. Multiple calls to action distract your visitors—you might think you’re giving them options, but what it often does is lead them not to take any action.
Be specific, rather than vague. Telling people to respond in general without telling them exactly what to do is putting a burden on the customer. When the customer is ready to do business, they should be able to just follow your instructions, not have to think and guess about what to do.
Calls to action should stand out on the page, and be in clear language—”Buy!” “Call Now!” “Join!” Visually, try different colors for your calls to action. Green, red, blue—change the colors around to see if customers respond better to one option over another.
If you take your customer by the hand, they have a better chance of getting where you want them to go. Give them a clear path for how they should respond to the information you’ve given them on your website, and you not only get more responses, but more valuable responses.Facebook marketing consultant Jon Loomer (JonLoomer.com) uses a combination of calls to action on his website. These images, all taken from one post, show a pop up advertisement (for his free eBook), sidebar banner ads, and an article-ending call to action for a one-on-one marketing coaching session. Jon brings visitors to his site through free content, and then shows them these ads.
To stand out in today’s marketplace, a business needs to not only have a website, but a great website. It needs to do more than just act as a brochure; it should serve as an online extension of your storefront and become a resource center for your customers. It should be at the cutting edge of intuitive, attractive design. And it should offer compelling content that brings customers back over and over.
If you’d like help building your website, contact our web designers today.
After you read this, ask yourself these questions about your website:
✓ Do you have a CTA on every page?
✓ How often do you update your content on your page?
✓ Is your “About Us” page clear and concise?
✓ Does your content inform the consumers about the information they are looking for?
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