Too many people believe that, as far as their business’ website is concerned, all they need to do is make sure that it’s online. Some think that’s all websites are good for – to be there if someone stumbles upon them. Others know that a website can be a great marketing tool, but they don’t understand how exactly to make it into one. Either way, a huge potential is wasted – websites can drum up business, and the better they are created and managed, the better marketing tool they become. You can approach the issue like this – to make a sale, a salesperson needs to look presentable, speak all the right things and be able to create a flow of the conversation that leads towards the sale. If your business’ website were a salesperson – and it’s closer to being one than you might think – it would still need to have these three things. They would only be called differently.
Clean shoes and clothing, a neatly done tie, combed hair or discreet makeup – that’s what you’d expect your salesperson to look like. If someone approached you wearing flip-flops and pijamas and asked you whether you want to buy something from them, would you say yes? You probably wouldn’t, because we don’t want to buy things from people who don’t look trustworthy or respectable enough. Looks are the thing that delivers the sales pitch even before any words are spoken, and this is true for your website as well. Only, for websites the whole “looks” part is called “design.”
Simply put, your website needs to look good so it can sell your services or products. Now, it’s entirely possible you don’t know what “looking good” means for a website, and that’s okay. The professional you hire to set up your website will know. Still, you’d want to have some input into your website’s design, so try to imagine what your potential customers would like to see on your website. If you can’t do that, you can always sneak a peek at what your competition is doing, get a sense of where things are in your industry, and form a broad idea about what would work for you.
Even the most professional-looking salesperson can’t rely solely on looks – at a certain point, he or she will need to deliver the sales pitch. That’s the salesperson’s bread and butter – their ability to persuade. And it’s a fine art, persuasion – if you talk too much, you’ll turn the potential customer away. If you talk too little, you might not give them all the information they need to make a purchase decision. And if you don’t know what you’re saying it doesn’t matter how much you speak – you won’t make a sale. Your digital salesperson – your website – will have the same issues. Only, for websites the whole “talk” part is called “content.”
Content on a website is made from all the words on it and the photos that are used to illustrate the words. Developing quality content is as fine of an art as is the sales-talk a salesperson delivers. It also follows the same rules – too much of it will drown the person reading or listening, too little will not be enough, and quantity doesn’t matter if the right message isn’t conveyed. For your website, this usually means a couple of things. For the front page, the main goal is to provide just enough information to let the visitors know they’re at the right place and to make them interested. They need to know they’ve found what they were looking for, and they need to be interested enough to delve deeper into the website. The front page should also contain links to other pages on your website which list your business’ services, products, strong points, references, and contact information. All of these pages need to be informative yet not too hard or boring to read through.
You can’t have your salesperson just go to people and ask them to buy things. There needs to be a conversation, and it has to have a certain flow – the things that are mentioned need to be placed in a logical order. They need to be placed in an order which naturally leads towards the end result, all the while removing any doubts the customer might have about whether they need what’s being sold to them. It’s the same with websites, as well. Only, for websites the whole “flow” part is called “direction”.
Each piece of information your website provides to your potential customer is there for a reason. Information demonstrates specific things, they back up your claims, and they persuade. But you can’t just throw them around without an order. You need to give the website’s visitors a well circled, thought-out experience, you need to show them that you’ve actually thought about how the visitors will navigate the website and did your best to make it as easy and sensible as possible.