Years ago, it was enough to have a business website that was (for all intents and purposes) a digital billboard, providing a basic overview of your company and products/services, as well as contact information. But given what we know about how buyers have changed — now turning to the internet and their search engines to find answers to their questions — you need to think about your website differently.
Today, your website has the potential to become your number one sales representative — educating tens of thousands of potential buyers with answers to their most pressing questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year — never sleeping or taking time off for the holidays.
But how do you do it?
While what’s possible with website design and development is always changing, there are seven specific “evergreen” priorities you should focus on if you want to transform your web presence into a perfect lead generating website:
- Homepage design and messaging
- Obsess over honest education
- Textual and visual content mix
- Client or customer reviews
- Website page speed
If you implement the tactics and strategies we outline in this blog post on your website, you will position your company at the digital forefront of your industry.
1. Homepage Design & Messaging
Take a moment and think about what you consider to be important when you are visiting a business website. Are you more concerned about your needs, your questions, and worries — or are you more interested in learning about the company?
Of course, we care more about ourselves — our priorities and our challenges.
But most small businesses still talk about how great they are and why they are unique in their headlines and copy on their websites. Yes, these types of statements hold some value, but they should never be the primary focus of your brand messaging.
Because, when your buyers land on your website, they are only trying to answer one question:
“Can your company solve my problem or not?”
How to Answer That Question in Your Messaging
- First, count how many sentences and headlines on your website include the word “you” versus “we” or “our,” as in “our company.” The ideal ratio is 5-to-1, meaning you refer to your buyers five times more than yourselves.
- If you’re not meeting that ratio, you should rework your headlines and copy to lead with your buyers’ primary problems, needs, questions, or worries — in their words.
This simple exercise and reworking of your website copy will make it so that your buyers are able to immediately identify that you understand their problems — exactly how they express them — and, because you have that understanding, you can genuinely help them.
Homepage Design & Layout
The goal of every single business website home page — no matter what your industry is — is to get your visitor to page two. When we say page two, we simply mean that a visitor has taken an action — an initial step beyond your home page — meaning they are digging deeper to find what they are looking for.
Page number 2 matters, because you won’t learn much about a website visitor if they spend 20 minutes on your homepage alone. They may have gotten bored and accidentally left the website browser tab open while they navigated elsewhere online.
But the more someone moves through your website — looking at pricing pages, blog articles on specific topics, and so on — the more of a contextualized picture you will get about who your buyer is and what they are looking for from you.
How to Get Your Website Visitors to Page 2
First, understand that your website homepage should not exist to teach visitors everything they need to know in one place. Instead, your homepage should allow your website visitor to find exactly what they want as quickly as possible.
To do this, get your team together for a brainstorm in which you answer this question:
“What are the top actions, questions, needs, or worries someone would have if they were to come to our website right now?”
From there, prioritize your list of answers in order of importance, and then consider whether or not your current homepage layout reflects what you’ve identified as the true needs, questions, and worries of your buyers.
What you determine at this stage will give you a clear roadmap of what changes you need to make. And by making those changes, you’ll put the priorities of your buyers first, your website’s “dwell time” will increase, and leads and sales will inevitably follow.
2. Obsess Over Honest Education
Content marketing is important, not just because it works for building trust, generating leads, and cultivating customer loyalty, but because it has become the new normal from the consumer side.
It is, in itself, helping to evolve what customers expect from the brands they interact with. That said, there is a simple exercise you can perform (with your team) that will help with the practical application of content marketing on your website:
- Brainstorm the top 25 questions you constantly hear from buyers about your products and/or services.
- Next, ask yourselves, “How many of those questions do we answer on our website either in text or video format?”
- Finally, ask yourselves, “How many of those answers (in video or text format) you have already are easy to find on your website?”
Now, document any video or text content gaps you identified in the second step — this will be your action plan for what content you need to create first. Also, reevaluate how and where that information is housed on your website, and make any changes necessary to make that content easy for your visitors to find.
3. Textual & Visual Content Mix
If you are already creating content or you know and follow brands that create a lot of content, you understand the importance of creating videos.
That means your website must prominently display video content — lots of it — in addition to the more traditional text-based content you’re probably used to creating. We as human beings love and prefer video content (most of the time)
To determine how well you stack up right now, ask yourself:
“If someone wants to visually learn about any of our products and services, could they do that on our website right now?”
In terms of application, every major website page should feature at least one video specific to its subject matter. Because if you’re only answering all of the questions your buyers have via the written word, you’re poised to fall behind.
4. Client or Customer Reviews
Our entire online buying culture is based on our ability to easily find what others are saying about the products and services we want to buy. That’s why you must be prolific about the amount of social proof — testimonials, customer journey videos, client case studies, NPS scores, and so on — on your website.
5. Website Page Speed
“Wait, what does the speed of our website have to do with the content we’re creating and everything else we’ve discussed so far?”
Your buyers want answers, access, and solutions. And they want them right now. In fact, Google found that40% of buyers will abandon a website entirely if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Considering most business websites take between eight and 12 seconds to load on average, that’s a big problem.
How to Assess & Address Your Website’s Speed
- Go to a website like webpagetest.org to check out your current company website speed.
- If there are any issues with your website speed, engage with a technical SEO specialist and/or your webmaster to discuss what needs to be done to speed up your website load time.
The consequences of slow website speed — and, therefore, a slow user experience — are too great for you to ignore.
Above are some of the major factors that determine whether a website will be successful or not. Invest in your website and over time, it will reward you exponentially. #StartDoing the work necessary for long term growth.