A website needs to compel visitors to do something -- make contact, buy products, engage. Knowing what you want yours to do is the end game. The challenge is to figure out the steps that will lead them to that happy conclusion.
Put yourself in their shoes. If you were buying a product or service like yours, what would you want to know first, second, third, etc. before making a decision? Make sure the order of your menu is in line with those steps. Use benefit written content, links and calls to action to drive visitors down that road. Respond to anticipated questions and respond to objections. To increase engagement and sharing, write useful information, or posts that warrant an emotional response: controversial, funny, strange, etc. Think about what they would want to share with their networks.
2. Make Every Page a Winner
Look at your website's traffic data to see how it's being used. Which pages get the most and least views? How long do visitors stay? How many visit your home page, then bounce (leaving after a 1 page visit)? If they aren't staying long, rethink the content, links and layout of those pages. If there are important pages they never get to, fix the menu, links and calls to action on the pages leading up to them. Consider scrapping less critical pages that get little or no traffic, so you can devote more time to the pages that count.
When was the last time you took a good look at your website, from home page to contact page?
- Fix all the broken links. You can check each page manually, but there are plenty of tools that can help you find them, like Xenu for PC and Integrity for Mac.
- Test your links to other sites to make sure they're still relevant and in working order.
Grab a big cup of coffee and take the time to reread all your content to make sure it's current with any changes you've made, such as:
- New products and services
- Business changes: locations, hours, contact info, personnel, etc.
- Portfolio items: pictures, writing samples, projects, case studies, before and afters, etc.
- Press room: your articles, press clips, images, personnel bio's, etc.
- Events: courses, speaking engagements, open houses, holidays, etc.
- Third party services used via your site: email, social networks, appointment setting, ecommerce, etc.
- Legal: terms and conditions, shipping and privacy policies, etc.
- Correct missing, out of date and slow-load images, and be sure those images are helping visitors to understand what they're reading.
- At the very least, change the copyright date in the footer to let visitors know the site is up to date.
It's essential that your site work for visitors first, especially with the recent Google Hummingbird update, but it also needs to be readable by the little "bots" sent out by all search engines. Simple changes can help, like naming images with "alt tags" and adding titles to pages. It's the behind the scenes stuff that visitors can't see, but search engines can. Learn about changes you can make in this presentation we gave on how to increase website traffic.
More people are accessing websites with their mobile devices. See if this is true for your site by checking your stats. Then, access it via a mobile device to see for yourself if it's mobile friendly. Is the experience a good one? Are pages getting cut off? Is it easy to navigate? If not, it's time to convert to one that's "responsive" -- one that looks good and functions well, whether the visitor is on their laptops, smartphone or tablet. Try using one of the many website builders that have mobile options, such as Weebly or Wordpress.
Take the time to make these changes, and your site and your business will be soon be humming. Tell us about the changes you're making to your website. What are some of your favorite tools?
Find Customers and Determine Seasonal Demand