Your website is one of your most valuable assets. Its purpose is to represent you and your business when you can’t speak with your customer face-to-face.
Picture yourself meeting a new person at a networking event: Do you introduce yourself with a handshake and smile? Do you invite them to share a little about themselves first? Do you offer to buy them a drink? Do you introduce them to a friend?
Most of us are good at networking in person; we’re polite, considerate and actively listen. But when it comes to communicating online we fall short. We’re slow to respond, assume intentions and social cues, and are distracted by our own objectives.
Communicating online can be tricky, especially when it comes to building a visually pleasing and easy to use website that sells who you are and what you do. The secret is to step back and think about your website as if it were a person. Ask yourself: “If I was talking to this person what would I think?”
Here are four common areas where websites often fall short. And some tips for setting them straight.
Not mobile optimised
What would you think if someone handed you their business card and it had .6 font, the logo was distorted and the email address ran off the page. You’d laugh and think this person isn’t taking their business too seriously.
So many websites look like this business card when viewed by customers on their mobile or iPad. The time has passed where customers were forgiving about brands who were slow to adapt to digital technologies. Now customers expect to be able to use and view websites on the go and across multiple devices. If they do stumble upon a poorly designed website they leave and never return. So don’t tell yourself that your customers will make do because they won’t and shouldn’t have to. Use the resources you have available to build an optimised website, and invest in your digital assets.
You strike up a conversation with an individual and things are going great. You have another engagement and have to head off. You ask what the best way to continue the conversation is and they reply, “I’ll see you around,” before walking off. You’re left pondering over the details, unsure of what to do next.
Not including a call-to-action can give the impression you’re not interested in keeping in touch. It also puts the onus onto the customer. Be specific with what you want your customer to do, and when and how you want them to do it.
Your call-to-action should explain how you intend to solve your readers’ problems using simple, clear and practical language. While “contact us” is better than nothing it doesn’t let the customer know what they’ll get when they complete the action. Try something like this instead: “Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.”
You’ve been wowed by a product and want to learn more. So you ask, “What’s the best way to get more information?” They start by saying: “Go here, then call Bob…” After three minutes they’re still explaining and you feel like they’re wasting your time.
For many brands, their website is where they house any and all information about their business. It’s a representation of their brain – connections are built based on their knowledge and understanding.
A problem arises when what you say and do internally doesn’t match what you want your customers to do externally. Just because the same person manages ‘Corporate Partnerships’ and ‘Media’ doesn’t mean it needs to be house together on the same web page.
Don’t just add to and alter your website content and navigation randomly. Sit down and plan your website with your customer in mind. And if you’re unsure, ask your customers or use Google Analytics to track behaviour. Don’t make assumptions and waste their time.
Missing ‘About’ page
You know that person at an event (there’s always one) that walks up to you and shoves a business card in your hand. They give you their 15-second ‘my product/service will cure world hunger’ pitch before walking away leaving you wondering who the hell this person is. Do you follow up with them post event? Probably not. Their product really could change the world, but you’re not interested because they failed to take the time to connect with you.
About pages on websites are all about building one-on-one connections. Customers will read your About page to get a better understanding of who you are and what you do. And more importantly, to see if you understand their pain points and if your products can solve their problems. So don’t just dump your businesses’ chronological history onto your About page. Use the space to answer your customer’s questions instead.