People process information much differently on a screen than on a printed page. With that in mind, here are some tips and suggestions to help you develop clear, effective content for your site. Please feel free to contact our office for additional guidance. HOW TO SAY IT: White space is your friend. Visitors scan a page, so using things like
(white space), and bolding important words (see?) can help slow down that scanning eye so they pick up more of your message. Use plain English and avoid internal terms that prospective clients may not be familiar with. Avoid cute or clever headings - users like to know what they are getting. Clear, effective titles help them find what they need. WHAT TO SAY Make it easy for people to do business with you Put yourself in the customer's shoes for a moment, or better yet, ask someone who is unfamiliar with your business a few questions. What are they looking for in a business like yours? Who is your target audience and what do they want? What kinds of information do they need in order to make the decision to do business with you? Now build your site to make it easy for them. Organizing your site Think about what the main objectives are for your site. Are they to:
- Increase sales?
- Generate leads?
- Increase exposure/visibility for your company?
- Build credibility?
- Position your brand in a certain way?
- Simply be an online brochure for when people are researching your business?
You likely have more than one objective, but usually there is one that is truly your main goal. Keep that in mind and make sure your site's organization supports it. If it is a sales goal, make sure you are providing all information a customer would need to make a transaction. If the site is to build credibility, make sure you have space to list all awards, distinctions and testimonials. And so on. On every page: Remember that users don't always come in through the front door (your home page). So make sure you have a header or footer on every page that includes:
- Company name
- link to home page
- phone number/address as appropriate
The Home Page This is your business' public face, and the starting point for most visitors. You only have a few seconds to make a good impression on a new visitor - they are making a snap decision on whether or not they want to explore further, and are trying to quickly ascertain whether or not you are a company they need to do business with. A good home page gives some basic information and provides an overview (via navigation) of what else is on your site.
- Show your company logo in a reasonable size and noticeable location.
- Ensure great design that is simple, clean, and well organized—Just say NO to the website intros!
- Include a tag line: Start the page with a tag line that summarizes what the site or company does, especially if you're new or less than famous. Even well-known companies presumably hope to attract new customers and should tell first-time visitors about the site's purpose.
- Content--the right amount with the right focus: Users should never be subjected to a wall of text. Provide an overview of your services, products and/or website goals. A home page is not the place to list all of your services or products, however, don't hide your offerings in generic categories that will not be intuitive to prospective customers. Emphasize what your company offers that is of value to users.
- Navigation: Make sure your subpages/content areas have clear titles that will be intuitive to the user.
USEFUL PAGES/SECTIONS TO CONSIDER: About Us Page This is your calling card. When a prospective customer visits your site, chances are this is one of the first links they will click on. What they read there can make or break the decision to engage your business further. The visitor's primary question is, "Can I trust this company?" Show visitors that you have a solid track record as a reputable, experienced and customer-focused organization. Think about including:
- A brief overview of what you do, including the benefits you offer to customers, and how those benefits distinguish you from competitors.
- Your company history, which may include when and why your company was founded.
- Testimonials from happy customers.
- A list of awards and other recognition you have received (this may be an additional page if needed).
- Press releases and other resources for the media.
- Information on how to contact you.
Testimonials Page Testimonials are inter-mediated word-of-mouth marketing, and they work very well when credible. You may have to do a bit of work to get the right kind of testimonial. They can provide the much-needed social proof that tips a wavering prospect into a paying customer. It’s hard to sing your own praises, and it rarely works with prospects when you do. In a testimonial, you have a third party saying what you might not be able to. Effective testimonials avoid hyperbole and specifically address a potential sticking point that a prospect might arrive at. Here are tips for making good use of testimonials:
- Don’t over-edit. Testimonials work best when they are in real language. Those small grammar and language quirks help the reader connect and demonstrate they are real.
- Use testimonials that fit. Place appropriate testimonials along with a particular point that you are trying to make.
- Address objections. If a prospect discovers that another customer’s worries have proved groundless, then that person is more confident to reach for the wallet.
- Never fake it. While testimonials are crucial, it’s not worth the risk to fake them. Most people have well-trained BS detectors that can smell a fake a mile away.
- Encourage specifics. Specificity works in all areas of copy-writing, but is especially effective in a testimonial. Rather than we saw a big improvement, get your customer to state exactly what the improvement was, such as we saw a 217% improvement.
- Ask for what you need. Interview or email past clients and ask them to provide a testimonial. Tell them you are looking for a testimonial about your excellent service, reliability, or whatever it is you want to convey. You can also tell them you are gathering testimonials ask them to respond to a few questions. You can phrase the questions to focus them on what you need - "What specifically it that makes you feel like you can trust our company?", etc.
Team Page Meet the Team pages are popular in industries that want a personal connection with their clients. It can establish trust with visitors, and gives you a chance to show off your team's skills, expertise and experience. Once you add names and faces, it becomes easier to visualize doing business with you. Adding a page on your company’s key employees is a simple but effective way to make your company stand out. Some trends and thoughts in team pages:
- Images or photos: Most opt for head-shot photos of each employee, though some prefer avatars or other images to represent each person. This is a great way to let an employee’s personality shine through while keeping the design professional and consistent.
- Social Media Links: Considering how many professionals are likely to have LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social media accounts, linking to those accounts can be a great way to let current and potential clients connect with employees.
- Humor: Many companies feature unique, humorous or even campy takes on the more traditional Meet the Team format. For some, this is done through employee photos, while others have added in additional content that lets team members better express themselves. Be aware, though, of how this information can come across to professionals from different industries.
- Leadership Profiles Only: In more conservative industries or to hide a company's size, highlighting your leadership team only might be the way to go. Showcasing your leadership team is a great way to give clients and prospectives more insight into who is behind the team.