Your website is your gateway to the world, a place to build contacts and connect with potential customers. But many companies are not using their websites well and therefore not getting the traffic they deserve or the clients they need. Here are some tips for making your website work:
It’s NOT about you. Many companies use their websites to talk all about themselves. Well, guess what? People don’t want to know about YOU they want to know about what you can do for THEM. Forget this at your peril.
Don’t let design win over usability. A simple, clear and well designed website wins over a flashy one. Most people decide in less than 10 seconds if they’re going to stay on a site. If your website takes too long to load its clever, all-singing, all-dancing presentation, your visitors will have already gone.
Each page should have only one main aim. Try not to baffle visitors with too many options. Study eye-path patterns and then lead then gently to where you want them to go.
Don’t ask people to sign up on the home page. It’s too soon, they want to know more about you and if you can be trusted.
Offer solutions to problems. What question is in your visitor’s mind when he arrives on your site? Help him answer it.
Make the English impeccable. Why spend a gazillion euros on great design and then slip up on a laughable translation? It makes you look bad, and it happens a lot. I remember seeing a huge sign at Pisa Airport reading “Welcome in Tuscany”. Very nice, except it’s wrong! It should be “Welcome to Tuscany.” First impressions count.
Content is king. I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but clichés are often universal truths. Your site needs to be full of useful, well-written information to make people come back over and over again.
Do keyword research. It’s no good having a great site if no-one can find you. Although the Google algorhythm is complex, they do give importance to the keywords and phrases you use on each page of your site. Have you researched them? Are they what people really search for or what you THINK they search for? Use tools like Adwords Keyword Tool to help find those valuable phrases.
Use keywords and phrases cleverly. Keywords are divided into three types: the head, the body and the long tail. They can range from highly popular one or two word phrases to ten words or longer, often in the form of questions. One quarter of all searches each month have NEVER been looked for before, often because they are related to fast moving world events and hot topics. Can you add current keywords to a blog post or an article to take advantage of this?
Use media. Google loves multi media sites. So could you have a video uploaded to Youtube or a podcast? How about talking directly to your visitors by video on your home page or ‘about’ page? Talking of which…
Use your ABOUT page. This is where you show you are a human being and connect with your visitor. The ‘about’ page is one of the most visited on a website after the home page, yet it’s often neglected. Are you making the most of yours?
Capture emails. Don’t let your visitors leave without a trace! If you offer an ebook or a free gift in exchange for visitors’ email addresses, you can then keep in touch with them via a newsletter or through an email campaign. In that way your name appears in front of them on a regular basis and they will learn to trust you and build a relationship with you.
Fiona Tankard is a British professional writer and ghostwriter based in Tuscany, Italy. She specialises in helping you tell your own story through great web content, books and ebooks. Her website is www.spiderywriting.com