I’ve been reviewing a lot of websites lately. Whatever industry your business is in, there are some common things that every website should contain in order to be effective in converting visitors into customers. Does your website contain each of the items on this 5 point checklist? If not, you could be leaving some serious money on the table because people just aren’t enticed to further engage with you and your business.
Let’s face it, we’ve surpassed the point in time when a business website is optional. Given that this is such an important tool for your company, shouldn’t you invest the time and energy into the one thing that you’re putting out there for the world to see? Here’s a list of the 5 essential things your homepage should contain to make your website the most useful for your business as it can be.
- A purpose
What do you want your website to do for your business? Do you want it to get people to pick up the phone and call you? Do you want to make sales directly from the site? Do you want to plant a seed in someone’s head in hopes that later they’ll remember you and seek out more? Whatever the purpose is, your website must have one. Make sure your homepage fulfills at least a portion of that purpose.
- An Introduction
This one leaves me perplexed sometimes. What I mean by an introduction is some sort of information telling the visitor who you are and what your business does. As hard as it may be to believe, people really tend to forget this one because they know their business so intimately. I can’t count the number of times I’ve visited some huge company’s site that obviously spent a large amount of money on their web development to find myself very frustrated that I cannot find any indication of what the company does or what audience they serve. Take Cisco, for example: Granted, it is obvious that the company is in the technology industry, but unless you have a degree in Rocket Science, you can’t really tell if they’re a manufacturer, service provider, etc. There isn’t a single place on the company’s site that says, “This is what we do.” What I’m looking for is one or two sentences that tell someone who has no idea who you are enough information to know if they are on a site that is relevant to them. Just don’t go over the top in making it all about you. It’s really about your customers.
- Attention Getter
Hey you! Yes, I’m talking to you! What’s the best way to get people to do something? Appeal to their emotions. Your homepage should have something that will make visitors connect emotionally with your business. Whether it’s a picture that addresses their problems or a headline letting them you that you understand them and what they need, you need some way to connect with people – especially through a computer screen.
- Next Steps
Perhaps the number one reason many websites aren’t generating any business is because of the lack of clear instructions telling the visitor what to do next. Marketers call this a call to action. Your website could be beautifully designed and have killer information, but people may subconsciously click right on by because they weren’t triggered to DO SOMETHING. Think about how quickly you click through websites. Sometimes the click of a mouse button can become so automated that you may really like a site that you’re on, but unless you see something jumping out at you saying, “take this next step to get in touch with this business,” you’re just going to close the page and hope you remember it later. Your website needs to take people by the hand and instruct them how you want them to proceed through your website and then, what steps you want them to take next. This could be to sign up for your newsletter, connect with you on social media, or call you on the phone and start the process of gathering more information. Make your next steps clear and obvious for your visitors.
Does your website have a professional logo displayed near the top of the page? Was your website DIY, or did you hire a professional to design it? The best way to give your website credibility is to make sure that it’s organized neatly, with professional-looking graphics and design. You don’t want potential customers to think you threw your site together overnight. If your site is homemade and disorganized, is that how you are going to treat them as customers?
Once you make sure your website has these 5 key pieces, I promise you’ll see results.
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