IS YOUR WEBSITE SPEAKING TO YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER?
So you have put your own website together – fantastic work.
There is so much time and effort that goes into a website and sometimes we are just too close to the project to look through the forest to see the trees!
Before you launch your new website, you may want to be brave and ask a few people to take a look on each page and provide you with honest feedback.
If you have an online store, you could assign each person a task, such as “find and purchase a particular product” and ask them to write down how they found the whole process. A small thing like; see if they can find your contact details easily. Many sites do not have contact details at all and only a contact form. Think about your targeted audience and ask yourself, if you were them, would you want to call someone or email someone directly or is a contact form enough. Ask your testers if they know what your business is about from landing on your home page or was it a little confusing.
You can uncover some interesting things by asking people before your site launches rather than launching without any prior feedback. Your website is a tool to get sales from and inform your customers about your services and products. If this is not clear, then you are wasting your time.
Something that makes perfect sense to you can be confusing to people new to your site.
Your website will be something that needs to move as your business evolves and changes.
It is not something that should stay the same throughout the journey of your business. When launching my first site I thought “yeah, it’s done. So glad I don’t have to look at that again!” Who was I kidding; of course it was going to need to be changed. Don’t think once you’ve set up your website, that’s it! Your users experience needs to be slick and requires continual reinvestment.
To promote a website successfully you need various elements working for you. The key elements consist of; search engine optimisation (so they can find you), content marketing (relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience), social media interaction (talk to your facebook, instagram twitter accounts), conversion rate optimisation (process of improving your website to drive visitors towards desired actions — actions such as buying a product) and website usability. It is about making sure choices are in a clear and concise way and the placement of important items are in appropriate areas. Consistently working on these key elements will help make sure you get both short and long term conversion from your visits to sales.
A business in it’s first year is most likely nothing like what it will be in its 2nd, 3rd, 5th or 10th year.
Two of these elements I would like to elaborate on are: USABLITY and CONTENT.
Firstly on the web, usability is a necessary condition for survival. If your website is difficult to use, people leave. If the homepage fails to clearly state what your business offers and what users can do on your site, people leave. If users get lost on your site, they leave. If your website’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave. See a pattern here? There’s no such thing as a user reading a website manual or spending heaps of time trying to figure out how to move around. There are plenty of other websites available; so leaving your site is the first line of defence users will take if too many difficulties are encountered and worse still, it can just be one difficulty within a few seconds that will make them leave.
Secondly, the content of your website needs to be reviewed and changed accordingly to meet the different stages of your business. It needs to be GOOD content and just what exactly do I mean by “good content”? If your content isn’t good – it won’t help you progress your business in the direction you want to take it or it won’t take your customers to where they need to go, to purchase.
Crappy content doesn’t get shared. It doesn’t get links. It doesn’t rank in search engines.
And it doesn’t CONVERT your visitors to paying business.
Everything you communicate to a customer or a potential customer is marketing and every bit of marketing is related to good content in some aspect. Your website isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do – like the quality of work you do, how you resolve your customer complaints (let’s hope you don’t get many or any), how you talk to your customers, how you relate and understand them.
Part of all communication is non-verbal and how your site looks, says a lot about you and the type of work you are able to produce. Your website design and content can pull your visitors in or totally chase them away. Will your website appeal to everyone, probably not but it NEEDS to appeal to your targeted audience. So not every visitor will engage with you and that is ok, as long as you are talking the language of the ones YOU DO WANT. And if you’re not sure, ask people that fit within your target market whether it speaks to them or not.
It can be difficult to get outside of your own head (where everything makes perfect sense about your business and website) and into the head of a customer, to see whether your content is working or if you’re losing them. This is where asking people for their opinions and taking them on board (and not taking it personal), WILL BENEFIT YOU HUGELY.
Remember your business is doing you no good, if you are the only one who understand and likes your website. It‘s also no good if it just looks pretty and isn’t clear about what you offer. Your site serves as a powerful tool to convert visitors to paying customers. If you want them to be returning customers and referring customers, you need to listen to them and make changes if necessary. You need to be able to say, “Okay, this isn’t working the way I thought’ and move on very quickly with another strategy.
And most of all ENJOY THE RIDE!
About Julie Allen
Julie Allen is a Website builder and trainer specialising in WordPress. She has a passion for people, business, and finding solutions. When you engage Julie to get your website up and running, you’re also getting a cheerleader for your brand, a promoter to help you put your ideas into action and a small business owner who knows what it feels like to build a business from scratch.
She also provides a range of other support services, including web content writing, web conversion, email marketing and small business mentoring. Julie’s favourite part of each project is getting to know her clients and their businesses.
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