So, you may have an online presence, but are you fully reaping the benefits of a website?
The Benefits Of A Website
So what are the benefits of a website for a small business?
- Credibility – potential customers can see that you are a genuine business person
- Visibility – be found by more new customers
- Likeability – your personality can shine through
- Authority – demonstrate your expertise in your field
- Integrity – build trust, so your customers refer others to you
Why do we need to keep our website fresh?
Put simply – Google.
One of the major ranking factors on Google is having a website that keeps up-to-date with the changing business landscape.
One of my heroes in the digital marketing world, Neil Patel, advocates that we should not only be adding new content to our websites on a regular basis and the easiest way to do that is to add blog posts including also updating old content. Update old blog posts to make them more relevant to users searching today can greatly increase your search traffic.
So, honestly, when was the last time you updated your website? A month ago, 3 months, a year, not since the day it went live?
Let’s dive into how to make simple changes regularly.
As I’ve said, blog posts are probably the easiest to do, especially if you take one of my blog packages – no hassle at all for you – just give me your topic, 3-4 key messages and away you go.
If you are going to tackle the task yourself, pick a frequency for posting and try to stick to it. Google can take a while to crawl your website, but if you are posting up fresh content and making changes on a weekly basis, then you’ll stand a much greater chance of having your website crawled and therefore ranking up on the Search Engine Results page.
Another way to make changes is to add testimonials on a regular basis. 80% of users now look for reviews when looking to make a purchase. Written testimonials are great, but videos are even more powerful because they are harder to fake. Ask your clients to hold up their smartphone at the end of their dealings with you, or when they are using your product and just talk authentically and naturally about their experience for 30 seconds. Testimonial videos don’t have to be professionally produced like other video content on your website.
Do you routinely ask your clients for testimonials? When you have a great experience with a business, you should get into the habit of sending them a written, or even better, a video testimonial before they ask you for it.
Quality of the user experience
When it comes to websites loading, we are an impatient lot. On mobiles, especially. If your page takes longer than 3 seconds to load on a mobile, 53% of users click away, so you are likely losing lots of potential customers. Talk to your website developer to find ways to reduce loading time, such as image compression, minimising the number of plug-ins you use and more efficient scripting.
If links are broken, this can be frustrating for the user and make it less likely that they will revisit your site. If you are making changes to URLs, make sure to use 301 redirects so that the old URL redirects to the new one and the user doesn’t just drop into a vast chasm in your website.
Site structure or navigation is important too. Your user should not be able to get lost in your website. If the page structure is too complex, this will detract from the user experience and you are much more likely to have a high bounce rate.
Website maintenance is something we should all budget for each year. Think of it as an MOT for your online vehicle.
The benefits of a website include enabling your customers to make a connection with how you look. Your online image is so important.
Does your website look and feel like your brand?
Is it instantly recognisable as you?
Are you using a consistent colour palette and consistent fonts?
Does your website reflect your other marketing assets such as your logo, social media channels, or printed materials?
A lovely example of a simple yet effective site with consistent branding, straightforward wording, and beautiful images is the Studio Couture website, belonging to Peghe Kakolyris-Yianni and designed by Sharon Davidson. It has plenty of Studio Couture’s trademark hot pink, a stunning photo gallery showcasing Peghe’s talent, and just enough words to explain the benefits of what she does to her potential clients. It loads very quickly on mobile and its simple structure makes it a pleasure to browse. If you haven’t seen this site before, check it out.
Your images also need to reflect your brand. If you sell a product, this is somewhat easier than if you sell a service. Stock images are cheaper than having a professional photographer every time you have a new marketing campaign but if other people are also using those images, then you are losing some of your brand collateral to others. A small treasure chest of bespoke imagery for the main pages on your website can make a big difference to the reaction you get from potential customers. If you want to understand more about that, then I recommend you speak to one of the photographers in the region.
The words you use a.k.a. Copy
Words are powerful. You’ve heard me say it before. Words ARE POWERFUL. The best sales letter ever generated more than $2bn of profit. It was 776 words long. That’s more than $2.5m profit per word written.
How amazing is that? To be fair, it was written back in 1974, which were somewhat simpler times, but as a one-off piece of writing, it was phenomenally successful and was in use continuously for over 25 years.
Perhaps we cannot hope to emulate that, but we can ALWAYS make improvements in what we write and how we communicate. Websites should be a living, evolving communications tool with our target audience. We should use it to extend our reach and grow the trust and engagement with our brand to fully reap the benefits of a website.
Your website should reflect your personality and it should sound like you. Businesses sometimes feel worried that their own words might sound too informal or chatty, but it’s important to be authentic. A solicitor’s website will naturally use much more formal language and more jargon than say a children’s party entertainer. You must speak to your client in their language. Don’t be afraid to break the conventions of formal writing and let your voice shine through. A professional copywriter can work with you, so your words sound like you and have maximum impact.