A website is critical to your business success because it helps to establish credibility. Websites provide a map and direction to your company’s shops, products and services or contact information for visitors to get in touch and find your location easily. Research in Time magazine shows that if your website can hold a visitor’s attention for three minutes, they are twice as likely to come back than if they only stay with you for one minute. The key to getting people to stick around is writing rich and rewarding content.
Share your passion
Your website should be more than an online catalogue, or a place to put your contact details. It’s your chance to make a creative statement about you and your personal business, to inspire and entertain potential customers, and to showcase just how unique your unique selling proposition (USP) really is. So, what do you love? What stories can you tell to get your potential customers excited about your product?
What is content?
The content isn’t just words on the screen. Thanks to the ease of production of audio and video material – content can also include videos, or podcasts, or even games (if you think your website visitors would be into that sort of thing). Just so long as it informs, educates and/or entertains the visitors on your website.
6 key ingredients for your website
The six pages (or sections) you could have on your website are:
Page 1: Home page
This includes everything essential about your business.
- What you do/sell.
- Who you are.
- Where to find you.
- Why they should come to you.
This needs to be a short, snappy synopsis of what your business does. A sentence or two that will intrigue the customer enough to make them want to read more.
Call to action
What is the single most important thing you want your visitors to do before they leave your home page? Do you want people to …
- Make an appointment?
- Ask for a quote?
- Sign up for newsletter?
- Visit your online catalogue?
- Watch a video?
- Ask a question?
Encourage people to stay on your site, by offering more insight into what your business can do for them. That’s what customers typically want – someone to solve their problems for them.
Sell the sizzle
It’s a good idea to include a short list of your services or products. There are various ways to present this on your home page, such as:
- A simple list of bullet-points, like this one.
- A carousel rotating through a series of images or links.
- A grid – or mosaic – of images.
The key with this is to only include the ingredients that casual customers are most likely to want.
Make it easy for people to get in touch with you. It’s a good idea to offer just one primary point of contact on the home page, because offering customers too much choice too early, might impact on their decision making and discourage them. The easier it is for customers to get in touch, the more likely they are to actually do it.
It’s a taster
That’s plenty for a home page. After that – you will need individual pages (or sections of your scrolling page) that fill-in a lot more details …
Page 2: About page
An about page is a chance to write in more depth about why you do what you do and why customers should let you do it for them. Explain why you do what you do, what motivates you, what your ambitions are. Fill it with the stuff you’d conversationally tell an interested stranger. There’s no need to make your bio flowery – the plain, honest truth will suffice, just give it a positive spin and keep it relevant to your business.
It’s all about you
- It’s where you can write about your goals and vision for the business. How did you get into the business, and why? What’s unique about your business?
- It’s your chance to tell customers why they should trust you with their custom. If you have a wealth of experience and/or qualifications – talk about this on your about page.
- It’s a chance to introduce the team – the people you work with. These are the people your customers will be dealing with. It’s a great way to put a human face on your business – because people connect with and buy from people.
- It’s a chance to offer up some customer testimonials. Word of mouth is still the most persuasive form of recommendation you can get.
Page 3: Products and services
Here you can offer:
- A full list of the services you offer.
- Pricelist (if your site will include that).
- Shipping costs.
- Returns policy.
- Turnaround times – especially important if you have to do the work yourself, or if your products are bespoke.
Take the time to make sure any photos of your products are of high quality and large enough to actually help you sell. If they don’t look appealing, they might work against you!
Page 4: FAQ
A FAQ page is a great idea:
- It can be a source of information for customers who are interested in your services, but haven’t yet made the commitment to purchase.
- It can reassure potential customers. It helps to show that you know what you’re talking about, which can establish your credentials, and develop a sense of confidence and trust in your business.
- It can also be a useful alternative form of navigation. Each answer can link to a page on the site that relates to that issue.
- The page can speed-up customer enquiries if it answers a question that a potential customer would, otherwise, have to email or call you about. This saves time for both you and your customers.
- It is also a cunning way to employ SEO searches and keywords.
Take time to answer some general questions about your market sector – because that answer might bring someone onto your site, from a search engine, who was just looking for a solution to their problem. If your business offers that solution – you’ve got yourself a new customer!
Page 5: Contact details
As with the home page, you want to make it as easy as possible for customers with a single way to get in touch. But here you can offer them options.
Some customers might have complex queries, so would rather send you an email rather than rely on a phone call.
If being local is important to your appeal as a business, certainly include your physical address.
This is also your chance to link to a map of your location which some customers can use to guide them to your door.
Page 6: Your blog
Like your FAQs, your blog can serve many useful functions for your business:
- Writing blog posts on subjects relevant to what you do, is a way of demonstrating (alongside your FAQs) that you know what you’re talking about. It helps give customers confidence in your service.
- Offering free advice to people is a great way of offering value to prospective clients, without them necessarily having to give you anything in return. This, in-turn, develops trust so, when they want to purchase your service, they’ll know they can trust you.
- Covering subjects that potential customers are likely to care about, is a great way to get people to your website via search engines – and they will arrive on your site at a time when they’re interested in your service.
- Similarly, if you share a link to your blog on social media, that will help bring potential customers to your site.
- Blogs are an easy and quick way to keep your website up to date. If a news item breaks that is relevant to your area of expertise, blogging about it – then sharing that blog on social media – is a great way to joining a conversation and staying relevant.
Blog posts don’t have to be full-length essays, just a couple of paragraphs would do for some subjects. But, if you don’t feel comfortable writing even that much, there are plenty of writers – specialists you can hire who would be happy to do a professional job for you.
Here are some online tools to help you write great content and make the most of it in your marketing …
Every word processor out there will come with some kind of spelling and grammar checker.
Hemingway is a free online writing tool. You can cut and paste your text into the tool, and it will give you an immediate visual report of the readability of your text.
It will tell you if sentences are particularly hard to read, or written in a passive voice.
Pro tip: Don’t be upset if the reading age seems low – that’s actually a good thing. The easier your content is to read, the more likely it is to communicate clearly to all readers!
If you have a friend or colleague who is always correcting your grammar, or tutting about your typos – they could really be your best friend.
You can’t have too many proof readers looking at your written work, because no method of checking spelling, punctuation and grammar is infallible.
So, even if you use all the digital tools at your disposal – it’s still great to get a fresh pair of eyes to read through your work, if at all possible.
You’re almost ready to serve
Hopefully these guidelines have made it possible for you to tackle creating your own online. There are also other pages that your website could eventually benefit from, such as Landing Pages. And there is plenty of help and advice to be found on those subjects and more in GoDaddy’s blog. So read on, as and when you feel the need.