Does your Website Match your Goals?
A company’s website is the foundation of everything they do online. Businesses that do not have a website can be seen as less credible, and businesses with websites that are difficult to navigate or hard to understand can miss a vital opportunity to gain new customers and retain current ones.
Often when somebody comes to us and wants their website redesigned, we evaluate the website and find that the website doesn’t need to be rebuilt from scratch, but instead needs a goal-oriented update to the website.
Many websites today are pretty templates that don’t cater to the company’s needs and goals. Therefore, they fail.
In today’s age of growing website presences and increased eCommerce business traffic, it is vital that you focus resources on your website and get it right!
So how do you prevent falling into this trap?
Designing an effective website involves multiple steps. The company needs to
- Identify their goals
- Develop a clear brand and ensure the website conveys that brand to the customer
- Ensure that website content contains all the information needed for a smooth customer experience
- Audit the buying process your customer goes through to be sure you are designing a website which makes the process a seamless experience.
1. Identify Your Goals
A company needs to have clear goals for its website; you can’t have a website simply because you need to have a website. Your website should be a funnel that guides visitors to a certain action: a phone call, a sign-up, a request for more information, a download, or a purchase. Look at the list below to see how different goals lead you to focus on different aspects of your website:
- Phone Calls
- Make sure your phone number is front & center
- Have clear calls to action!
- Make sure trust signals are prevalent on all pages
As you can see from these goal examples, every detail of site structure can have an impact on website success. Once you have completed a goal analysis, the next step is to establish a brand for your company.
2. Websites and Your Branding
Branding is your logo, colors, and visuals as well as the voice of your business. Websites that successfully incorporated their branding throughout the website are more successful. For this reason, using canned templates purchased on the internet or DIY websites have a high failure rate – they do not convey the brand to the customer that is using the website. This is an unfortunate fact as many start-up companies rely on these types of websites because money is tight. New companies need to prioritize this fact when setting their budgets.
3. Your Website’s Content
In addition to having the right information in the right spots, you need to be sure the navigation of your website is easy. There are many areas of website content that need purposeful attention and development:
- Company Information: Give the customer information about the company; this will help you gain their trust.
- Services/Products: Be clear and concise in your descriptions.
- Proofing: Make sure all pages, especially blogs and articles, are carefully proofed to eliminate errors.
- Team: A customer who can read about the team behind the business will feel a more personal connection.
- Images & Video: Make sure images and videos are high-quality. Avoid stock photos and videos, take your own instead.
- Keep it Updated: Make sure your website doesn’t contain outdated information. Add fresh and new information to keep customers engaged.
4. The Buying Process
As visitors become buyers, they go through a process. Your website should provide a flow or a funnel through this process to ensure the visitor doesn’t get frustrated, confused, or leave the website for any other reason. Read the process below and the website details inherent in making the visitor experience a positive one:
They Discover the Need
A buyer’s flow starts with the awareness that they need the product or service. Let us use an HVAC company as an example. The air conditioning is acting up at their home. They play with the thermostat and look at the filter. They probably will go to Google and type in what the AC is doing to see if there is a solution to the problem. They do not find one. They have discovered their need for a professional.
Researching Their Options
Once they realize they need something they will research their options online to see what is out there that will address their need. In our HVAC example, they will look online to see who is in the area or ask friends for referrals.
Shopping For Price and Benefits
At this point in the buying process, the buyer is looking at the price and options based on the research they have done in the previous two steps. In our HVAC example, the person will research companies based on availability, reviews, warranty, services they provide, and cost.
The reality is, you don’t get to talk to a prospective customer until after they have gone through this cycle. Your website is meant to stand in your place as the buyer is going through the initial steps outlined above.
How to Give the Buyer What They’re Looking For
Once you know who your buyers are, you know their pain points or the problems they need to solve. Give them great information that allows them to discover their need, research their options, and compare benefits/prices.
Your website is the prime place for this great content. After all, it is our goal to get them to our website from other networks whether it is from search engines, social networks or other online marketing methods.
Start Off With Great Copywriting
The content on your website pages should have wording that clearly identifies the product or service that your buyer is looking for. This confirms to the buyer that they are in the right place and compels them to start the research phase of the process.
Good website copy should put the buyer at ease, giving them good information so they know they’re making an educated decision. And this phase is where your authority in your industry is vital.
Prove Your Authority
The best way to prove your authority is by expanding on your main content through articles, stories, and case studies. These types of content are best placed on your blog page. A good content strategy is recommended for this reason; it creates an inbound marketing scenario which results in your customers coming to you rather than needing to find each customer by making time-consuming and inefficient cold calls and cold touches.
Another tool to prove your authority is having testimonials on your website, on search engines, and other networks that people rely on when making a buying decision.
Calls to Action
Since you have already set your goals in step 1 you know what you’re trying to accomplish on your website. Make sure each page of your website asks the visitor to take the next step in the process. Your calls-to-action should have a confirming statement with a button or form, so they can take the next step. We prefer to guide them to a page so we can track how many are taking the next step right before the conversion
The button in our example takes them to the “request a quote” page and allows us to track how many are taking the next step and where they are coming from.
Every Page on Your Website is a Landing Page
Landing pages are usually used in ads such as AdWords or social media ads, but each page of your website is technically a landing page since you’re driving traffic from search engines as well as social media posts. Make sure each of your pages has a clear goal for the page and a clear call to action.
Great Images and Video
The reality of internet browsing is that people do not read; they skim contents to see if what they are looking for is on the page. Your page headers and images will guide them through the process as they make this determination.
Video continues to gain strength and is a great opportunity to not only tell them something but to show them as well.
Videos and images can help walk the customer from one phase to another as they go through the process of becoming a buyer.
The Social Media Icon Argument
The social icons on your website do not need to compete with your website’s call to action. Often, we see these at the top of the page right next to a phone number or right near the call to action. We find it’s better to have social media icons on the contact us page to give people the option to contact you through social media. Locating them here prevents having them compete with the goals of other pages on your website. Doing this doesn’t minimize the importance of having social media on your website; it is still important that you have social media on your website as it builds organic followers. Correctly locating social media icons not only increases their use but prevents them from accidentally diverting the customer from other web pages meant to funnel the customer to the next step in the purchase process.
Summing All This Up
If you are just starting out or are considering updating your website, the details above are critical to effective website development and company success.
Your website is the blood of your business online. To accomplish your goals, you need a good search engine optimization campaign and a good marketing campaign which includes email and retargeting. This drives traffic to your website and helps accomplish your goals. Without these, your website will be useless as there won’t be enough traffic coming through it for you to get results, and enough quality website content to accomplish your goals.
Know expected traffic vs. needed traffic and plan accordingly
Business owners need to realize that the average conversion rate of a website visitor to a customer is 1 to 2%. Using that statistic, companies need to calculate how many sales or leads are actually needed each day to reach their goal. Looking at the number of leads you need will demonstrate how crucial a great online marketing campaign is in making your website successful and provide justification for a website development budget which will pay for itself very quickly.
If you are having challenges with your website or would like a website review, we would be happy to talk with you, review your goals, evaluate your website, and offer recommendations. We have a wealth of experience in this area that your company can benefit from. Just get in touch with us and we’ll help you develop a plan to increase your web traffic and customer conversion.
Filed In: Website Design