If you own a small business, you’ve probably heard this before.
“You don’t need to spend much money on web design. You can get a perfectly decent website for next to nothing these days.”
You hear it everywhere.
And it’s terribly misguided advice.
I mean, just take a look at all your options when you type any given search into Google. You are presented with pages upon pages of relevant businesses.
But, if like many searchers, you only click on those websites on the first page, what compels you to ultimately contact one of those companies?
It’s something that otherwise intelligent business owners often struggle to get their heads around…
Web design really matters.
I’ve lost count of the number of business owners who have cited the web as being an unreliable source of new customers. An unsuccessful Google Ads campaign or poor conversion rates on a high ranking website are way too often ascribed to lack of relevant searches and fickle website visitors that have no intention of buying or calling.
The reality is, that unless a visitor is hooked by a particular website, and either stays on the site or makes a mental note to return, they will happily move on and peruse other websites until they have narrowed down their choice of product or service.
And if you’re simply treading water with a standardized “professional” business website, you will appear no different to your competition; no matter that you know you are!
In the time we’ve been designing websites, I’ve noticed some traits that make all the difference between a website that generates consistent leads for the business and one that is regarded as just another average advertising medium.
In no particular order, here are 5 of the most important:
#1: Excellent Design
Think back to when you’ve previously been house hunting…
You have shortlisted a number of properties.
Once your practical requirements were met, what exactly drew you to one property over another? What made you feel enthused about one particular home whilst indifferent and objectionable about another?
Design influences you in several ways; some obvious but many barely perceptible. Everything from the flow of the home, to the colours and shape of the rooms…to that elusive “feel“.
And so it is with your website.
The colours, fonts, words, flow and images all affect your visitors’ impressions and intentions.
And when design elicits a positive, warm response, you’re halfway there.
#2: Professional Copywriting
It’s impossible to convey the importance of getting your content working to maximum effect.
Whether it be a leaflet, brochure or website, content is usually the difference between losing money, simply recouping your advertising spend, or profiting from a very successful campaign.
Words can guilt, shame, tease, tempt and inspire website visitors into taking action.
There are copywriters who are primarily proficient writers; they love their craft and can write with poise and clarity – in perfect Oxford English.
There are copywriters who come from the direct response world; they usually lack the academic credentials of real writers, but may have experience of small business advertising successes and failures that help them sell products, services and businesses more effectively…
But, it’s when you combine great writing with proficient knowledge of direct response advertising that you have…
Words that sell.
A great copywriter can improve your website conversion rates by several percents.
Great copy can also improve your search rankings dramatically.
#3: Social Proof
One of the most powerful ways to convince and convert your visitors is by providing them with proof of your happy customers.
You can talk till you are blue in the face about how great you and your product is, but your potential customers are unlikely to believe you. You need to demonstrate how you have helped and satisfied other clients.
Genuine testimonials and case studies should be proudly displayed on your website.
A good spread of customer testimonials on your website, social media platforms and directory sites helps remove barriers and gain trust…
Small businesses need a way of differentiating themselves from franchises and national competitors. As well as using powerful testimonials, another way of demonstrating how you are different is by using you as the focal point of your website and marketing.
If you run a cleaning business, how can you possibly stand out if you align your website content with that of all others in your industry?
I can guarantee that everyone is talking almost exclusively about the usual suspects; machinery, accreditation, qualifications, reliability, no job too big or too small….
And your visitors have heard it a thousand times.
They’d prefer to know more about you. So consider including photos of yourself. Talk about your beliefs and how you’ll help them solve their problem. Then prove how you’ve done so before.
People still want to buy from people. A logo slapped on a modern website (no matter how beautifully designed) followed by technical bullet points is not going to do anything to help your customers make a decision.
Show them who you are and why they can trust you.
It’s amazing how many small business websites lack a call to action or a choice of contact methods.
Granted, there are some websites and blogs that do seem to go way over the top in trying to grab your email address or contact details. And pop-up boxes can be intrusive and spammy. But at least they understand the importance of getting a visitor to take action.
It sounds incredibly basic, yet there are many local, small businesses that only include a contact number in the header of their website. They seem afraid to ask the visitor to call, email or act.
As long as your website and content are helpful, trustworthy and informative, you lose nothing by telling them what they should do next.
And remember that some people will call, whilst others prefer to first make tentative enquiries via email contact. Give them both options on your website. Pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many only include an obscure un-clickable email contact in the footer of their homepage.
Be sure to add a contact box on several pages of your site.
And consider using more than one telephone number…
Including land-line, mobile and freephone numbers help increase the rate of calls. And if you operate in multiple cities, there are definite advantages to purchasing a local dialling code.
Most of all, be clear and ask them to take action today!
Need help with implementing this advice?
If you don’t have the knowledge of how to revamp your website and get it working effectively for your business, get in touch with us today. Or if you’d prefer a friendly chat about how we can help you, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.