Creating an effective website isn’t rocket science. So whether you plan on building it yourself, or having one professionally-designed, here are 6 Tips to a More Effective Website.
1. Decide What You Want from Your Visitors
When a visitor comes to your site, what do you want them to do? If they take the intended action, it’s called a conversion.
Depending on your website’s aim, a “conversion” can mean your visitor:
- Made a purchase
- Signed up for free information
- Downloaded a white paper
- Completed a survey
For most local small business, a conversion is a phone call or a walk-in customer.
Knowing what constitutes a conversion will determine what goes where on your site.
I want phone calls:
Place your phone number at the top of the page. Include a strong call-to-action.
I want walk-in customers:
Put your address and hours of operation at the top of the page. Include the phone number if you wish, just be sure the address is more prominent.
Don’t make it hard when visitors decide to take action. Place your address or phone number at the top of each page so it’s accessible everywhere.
2. Give Visitors Reasons to Trust You
Help visitors trust you with these proven factors:
- Years in business
- Size of business
- Family owned and operated
- Licensed, bonded, insured
- Guarantees or warranties
- Special offers (e.g., Emergency Service, no appointment necessary)
- Associations or memberships (e.g., BBB, Chamber of Commerce)
- Training or certifications (Industry, Manufacturer or Factory Certifications)
- Authorized products and services (i.e., brand names your business is authorized to sell, service, or repair)
3. Avoid These Common Mistakes
Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
Nothing screams “unprofessional” as much as grammatical and spelling errors. Make sure to have your site thoroughly proofread.
Omitting an email address or contact form means you risk losing a valuable lead. But even worse is placing an email address on the site that no one checks.
Yes, it’s the 21st century and people expect to be able to email a business from their website. But better to omit an email address altogether than publish one you’ll never reply to.
Pages that go nowhere frustrate visitors who are looking for information. Remember, they’re one click away from abandoning your poorly-designed website for a competitor’s.
There are plenty of ways to shoot yourself in the foot. Here are 5 Reasons Why Your Website is a Failure.
4. Anticipate Visitors’ Questions
Do you take credit cards? Which ones? What are your hours? Do you provide free estimates? 24-hour service?
Answering commonly-asked question means visitors don’t have to pick up the phone to call you. It also frees your staff’s time from responding to the same questions again and again.
5. Sell Yourself
People in the service business often find it difficult to sell themselves. But if you have a tangible way to demonstrate your work or show a “before” and “after,” then do so.
I’m surprised that more contractors don’t place before and after photos on their websites. There’s no easier way to sell yourself than showing examples of your work.
6. Set Yourself Apart
These first five steps are just the price of admission. It’s everything your competitors are already doing or saying about themselves.
To set yourself apart, you need a value statement—one that tells your potential customer:
- What product or service you sell
- The end-benefit of using it
- Who your target customer is
- What makes your offering unique and different
Avoid meaningless or fluff statements such as, “We provide better service for the best price!” Here’s an example of a value statement for our Yellow Pages product:
We help small businesses acquire new customers without wasting money on advertising that doesn’t work. Over 6,000 companies advertise with us because our high usage and competitive pricing makes Haines Yellow Pages one of the most cost-effective ways to obtain new customers.
Setting yourself apart isn’t always about your product or service. Do you offer a unique financing method? Can you provide faster delivery or turn-around time than your competitors? If so, these can set you apart from the competition—so long as it’s a benefit your customers want.
Is a bad website better than no website at all? I can’t say. But a bad website that drives customers away is as ineffective as no website.