It’s not enough just to have a business website, even though that’s the “cost of entry”. Follow the tips below to add more you to your site, bringing in authenticity and helping you stand out to potential customers and followers.
1. Enlist help
If you’re a small business owner with a relatively limited marketing budget, your first instinct might be to build or update your website yourself. And we’re not saying you can’t do that, but it’s important to be realistic about time constraints. Do you have time to complete the project to the standards you prefer? Can you commit to a design direction and see it through? Keep in mind that potential customers will be judging you and your business based on the quality of your site. Engage help from a professional web designer or digital agency for top-quality in a timely fashion. It’s worth the investment.
2. Write it
That’s right. Even if you’re bringing in a professional copywriter or agency to polish your content, no one knows your story better than you do. Start by writing out a thoughtful first draft, complete with everything you want potential customers to know about you and your brand. As you’re writing, think beyond what you do, and consider how what you do impacts and benefits your customers. This is the stuff they’ll want to hear about. It’s always easier to trim copy later on, so get it all out there. Once you feel good about your draft, your agency can help you focus on what matters most to your target.
3. Get inspired
If potential customers find themselves on your website, and cover up your logo, does your site still look like you? That’s the challenge. You want your colors, fonts, images and messaging to come through,but decision fatigue can happen to the best of us–especially when your business is close to your heart and you’re looking for a design that’s a perfect representation of your brand. It’s not “copy-catting” to find sites you like and keep them on file for your next redesign. In fact, visiting other sites during a search for inspiration can help you decide what you like and dislike about different web designs. If you find some examples, share them with your designer so they can help you translate your preferences into a design that works for your brand.
4. Tell stories
There’s no better way to add authenticity to your site than with a story. Maybe you had a long road to where you are, or maybe your founding story is downright hilarious. Sharing these grains add richness and credibility to your brand. They also help elevate you and your team as people, and help create genuine connections with your audience. Even short team bios can achieve this effect. This way, when it’s time to schedule a visit or make a purchase, your customers will feel like they already know what you’re all about, and trust you more from the get-go.
5. Be inviting
A good rule of thumb is to share different ways to get in touch prominently on your site. This gives people options, allowing them to contact you in the way that’s most comfortable and convenient for them. A fool-proof option is to add a contact form because they’re easy to fill out from mobile or desktop and it gives you both the flexibility communicate on your terms.
6. Keep it simple
This gets back to the idea of decision fatigue. It can be tough to choose a single aesthetic, theme or design. You might like that image, and those fonts, and your entire color palette, but the most important thing is that everything works together to facilitate an enjoyable user experience and ultimately fulfill your business goal. Stick with a few dominant colors or textures, and don’t go too crazy with design elements. White space is stunning, and it’s having a moment. For a website that’s clean, effective and attractive, less is more.
7. Listen up
Some people struggle to be “self-promotional” but you want to make it clear to your site visitors that you’re listening to what your current customers have to say–whether it’s positive or otherwise. Focus on collecting a few customer testimonials and feature them on the site. You can change them out often, and they can be written or in video format. Testimonials can ultimately help potential customers make the decision about whether or not to pursue your services. And the best part? It’s not bragging if it comes from someone else, so go ahead and celebrate a job well done.
8. Look pretty
It’s about what you do that matters, but you have to show it off. Team photos, examples of your work, and even relevant stock images help add visual interest to your website. The same goes for video. These visual elements help break up the text and make your site feel less like homework and more like cyberloafing (that’s a good thing).
9. Get found
If your website is the world’s biggest slice of apple pie, then SEO is the larger-than-life billboard beckoning tourists on the interstate. If your site tells your story, it’s important to build an audience. SEO will send traffic your way, so it’s important to make it a top priority. If you don’t know where to begin though, your agency can help you leverage the right techniques.
10. Think mobile-first
No matter what type of content you include on your site, make sure it’s mobile-friendly. Having a site that isn’t optimized for mobile can turn customers off right away, hurt your SEO, and look unprofessional. This also applies to copy and images. Don’t be too long-winded when describing your services, and test your images for load time before setting them live.
11. Don’t finish
Sure, you can bask in the glow of accomplishment when your site launches, but it’s important to look at this as an ever-changing tool. Your site should be a reflection of your business, so remember to update your content accordingly as your brand grows and changes. Updating images, copy and testimonials keeps your site feeling fresh and relevant to visitors.
And if you need a little help getting started, you can always find us here.