Is Your Website Stuck In 1999?
I’d like to ask you a couple of questions about your website…. What value does it provide to your prospective customers? How often does it change? What can visiters do on your site?
I see so many small business websites that are designed with the same formula that was created sometime in the late 90s, and somehow has persisted.
A well-meaning web developer and a small business owner, neither of whom have a lot of marketing training, get together and say, “What should we put on your website?”
And typically they fall back on this formula, saying “Well, we should probably have an ‘About’ page, and some samples of our work, and our contact information so people can get in touch with us.”
This formula is easy, and good for web developers. The problem is that it is completely ineffective at actually engaging customers.
The formula for websites has to be flipped upside down. This may seem odd, but your website shouldn’t be about you. It should be about them.
Let’s look at that a little more closely. Here are four things that the most engaging websites do in the new millennium:
#1 – The best websites are customer-driven. When people visit a website, believe it or not, they don’t actually want to read about you. They want to recognize themselves in what they see. Your website copy should talk to your customers. Show that you understand who they are and what they are looking for. Ask them questions to which they can answer “Yes! That’s me!”
#2 – Provide value. Your website must offer something of value to your visitors, and information about you and your business doesn’t count! Provide them with information or tips they can use right now. Do some of their research for them. Share pieces of your expertise. By providing value to your visitors, they learn more about you and build more trust in you than they could by reading a paragraph about your schooling or your work process.
#3 – Be interactive. There should be something for your website visitors to do besides just read. My recommendation is that there be an opt-in with a free gift that they can download, allowing them to show interest and share their contact information with you. There are other forms of interactivity as well. The more a visitor is able to click on, or respond to, the longer they will stay on your site and the better they will get to know you.
#4 – Change often. If your website doesn’t change regularly, it’s basically an online flyer. Once you’ve read it, there’s no need to keep it any longer. In order to continue to attract visitors and build relationships with them, you must provide them with new information and ways to interact with you. (It’s great for your search engine position as well.) A blog it a popular way to accomplish this.
By flipping the website formula on its head, we prioritize functionality over design. Many people spend a lot of money on website design, but these days, it doesn’t have to be flashy or be professionally designed. Make sure that the money you invest in your website improves it’s ability to engage your customers.