It’s not uncommon in 2019 to attend a networking event or conference and exchange social media handles before business cards. People and brands have been swept into an algorithmic current while succumbing to the crafty ways these platforms monetize our attention.
Social media is undoubtedly a useful tool for engaging your audience, raising brand awareness, and building relationships. In just a few taps on Instagram, you can browse a photographer’s portfolio, order a pair of sunglasses, and schmooze industry peers—all without leaving the app.
For those whose success is not driven by widespread recognition or referrals, also having a good website is good for business. Until artificial intelligence becomes a little more intelligent, closing deals on social media remains a manual process, whereas a well-designed website earns you money while sleeping.
I tell my clients that your website is one of your best investments and your cheapest employee. With an inviting design, clear messaging, and simple systems to generate leads and sales, your website will replace tedious, manual tasks and give you more time for other areas of your business.
Design with the customer in mind
The biggest website mistake is designing without your customer in mind. You have just a few seconds to make a good impression on your visitor as they decide whether to keep exploring or exit. While your visitors might be interested in learning your biography and seeing all of your greatest accomplishments, they are more interested in learning what you can do for them. Think about this when creating content, organizing page layouts, and structuring site menus.
On your homepage, define the problem you solve and for whom you solve it, and include a clear call-to-action that fosters further interest. A good call-to-action might lead to a portfolio, a sales page, or a lead magnet like a free e-book. Also include social proof, such as reviews and testimonials, to help bolster your brand’s credibility.
Ensure your site speed is fast and the design optimized for desktop and mobile devices. Use headers and photos to break the text and improve the user’s experience. Be mindful of professional fonts and colors. Finally, research best practices for ADA compliance to afford all users an equitable browsing experience (and minimize the risk of being sued).
Soothe the pain
Copywriting is the term for writing in advertising or marketing to build brand awareness or persuade an audience to take action. On your website, acknowledge your understanding of your customers’ pain by listing a few problems they might be facing now, which ultimately led them to your website. You can also quote specific problems past customers revealed to you during a consultation or phone call because there are likely many people with the same issues.
Follow this with a brief summary or step-by-step process of how you solve this problem and the specific results you provide. Be clear in explaining the benefits of this solution rather than just listing features. For example, would you rather hire a photographer with a 24-megapixel camera or a photographer who captures your memories in vibrant, print-ready photos?
Help prospective customers understand where they are in their journey now and allow them to imagine where they could be with your solution.
Know your numbers
Every website owner should use at least one analytics tool to measure overall site traffic and its sources. Analytics will help you understand not just where visitors are coming from, but also who they are, what content they like, and which pages are the most popular. Knowing your numbers is useful for refining your content strategy and making improvements that cater to customers’ needs.
Google Analytics is one of the go-to tracking tools. If you plan to use paid social media advertising for your business, another is the Facebook pixel. This tracks everything from page views to website events like a customer adding an item to cart or completing a purchase. Adding the pixel to your website is imperative for using Facebook and Instagram ads to re-target customers at various stages of their buying journey.