Your website is the hub for your business presence online, which is why today we're going to chat about our approach to website design and the 4 things your website should do.
There are many tactics that help connect a potential customer with your business, such as email or networking events. Hopefully, those things eventually direct someone to your website because it’s not only a library of information about you (hopefully info that resonates with them), but it’s also an experience. It allows someone to experience your business even if they aren’t in physical contact with your building, product, or service at that time. You're missing the mark in your sales and marketing strategy if you aren't talking about your website.
A big thing we do when we sit down with a company to work on their website is start with the homepage. We have 4 questions we ask that your site should answer. They are:
You have just a couple seconds to capture someone's attention when they land on your site or they’ll leave. Make it clear what problem you solve so the visitor knows if they’re in the right place. They shouldn’t have to scroll several times before they’re able to determine what you do. It should be in the first frame.
People will quickly leave a website if it’s not functioning properly or designed poorly. But they will also leave just as quickly if they don’t identify with what you can do for them.
The more you know your audience, the better you’ll be able to present what your product or service offers them. Don’t be afraid to tap into the internal problems for a person too. If you’re a plumbing company, for example, you could show someone repairing a leaky faucet. That’s a great visual. Your value is demonstrated by the fact that you can fix an annoying leak. However, in a competitive market of plumbers who can all fix leaks, many individuals have experienced a lack of reliability or honesty from a plumber. This may be the problem you want to identify with.
The second question your website should answer is how are you going to solve a person’s problem? This is important because most people want a plan. This allows them to visualize the steps to achieving the solution you’re promising them. Make it simple. We recommend conveying the process with a numbered list when you can. Like this:
Step 1: Request a Plumbing Service
Step 2: Get help from a reliable plumbing expert
Step 3: Experience plumbing peace of mind
What makes your company special? Chances are you have competition. You're not the only person in town doing what you do. At this point in the prospective customer’s walk through your website, they know you can solve their problem. You’ve shared the plan or process with them. But are you any good at it? Can they trust that you’re going to offer them the best?
Trust is one of the biggest factors in a buying decision. That’s why reviews are such a normal part of business today. The goal is to establish yourself as a trusted guide. Show them you’re an authority on the subject. Empathize with their needs or problems.
As we’ve already alluded, one of the best ways to accomplish this is through other people talking about you. Testimonials, reviews, and other types of recognition are more convincing than you boasting about yourself. Don’t just say it, show it!
The final question we answer on a website is where to start; the next step a new customer can take. You may have mentioned this to the visitor when you outlined the plan, but if you didn’t make it extremely easy for them to take that first step, then all your other efforts fall flat.
A button they can click or an obvious number to call, these are some of the clearest signs for where to start. That should also be accompanied with a strong call to action. For Amazon shopping, it’s the “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart.” What an easy action! For you, it may be “Schedule a Free Consultation,” a call to action that incentivizes the visitor.
Order is important too. In a brick and mortar retail store, the register is up front with nicely lit signage. The arrangement of the floor tiles and aisles usually direct people toward check-out too.
This same kind of science applies to a website. We want to give people several pathways to take the big action you want them to take. Also, an average brain will expect a button in the first or second section of the homepage. It’s also common to have a smaller call to action in the top right corner above the navigation bar.
You should also give them the opportunity to take action at the bottom of the page too if they want to explore your entire homepage first. They shouldn’t have to scroll back up to take action. Give them another doorway already there for them once they’ve looked over your homepage.
When it comes to calls to action, remember not everyone is ready to buy or schedule a consultation. That might be your primary goal but it may be too early in your visitor’s decision-making process. That’s why they need a transitional step too. We call it a transitional call to action. Invite someone to learn more or to ask a question. Give them a chance to download a resource because that can keep them connected with you or build trust and authority which will likely lead to a buying decision later on.
Donald Miller, author of Storybrand, describes it like flowers and a ring. In a dating relationship, you may have both to offer. You could ask, “Will you marry me?” But they may say, “I’m not ready for that.” So you offer flowers instead and ask, “Will you go on another date with me?” to which they say yes. Asking them on dates over a period of time makes them more likely to say yes when you pop the big question.
On your website, you want to make both the flowers and the ring available because you don’t always know when someone is ready to make a decision. Be thoughtful in providing a way for someone to stay engaged if they’re not ready to buy.
Some of the best ways to do that are with free downloads of helpful content in the form of ebooks, infographics, or case studies.
As a graphic designer, it’s my job to be sure the questions we answer on your website are done with excellence. It should be visually appealing and uniquely branded for your business. Everything should be functional with no errors or confusion, because that makes for an immediately bad user experience.
I like to feature an awesome image or video loop in that first section of a website. Video is more popular than ever on websites. We also want to convey what you do – aka, what problem you solve – in just a few words in that first section. The image or video should complement that message.
We want to be sure your navigation makes sense and that all the links in it – and throughout the homepage – are working correctly. We have to think about how things look on desktop versus mobile too.
If you’re thinking of redesigning your website or creating one for the first time, it’s also a good time to assess your brand as a whole. How do people experience it? Have you nailed your messaging (who you are, what problem you solve, how you’re different)? It’s important to consider how people are already experiencing your business on social media or through your sales team. The website should have that same experience.
If you’re struggling to answer these questions about your business right now, we’d be happy to walk you through refining your branding. We’re also going to follow our own advice above by showing you how easy the process is for you to obtain a new website. We’ve been helping businesses in this way for over 10 years.
If your website doesn’t answer the 4 questions above and if it’s not producing leads, we should talk. It’s time to get serious about this important asset that could make or break your business.