People buy from people they trust. Convince website visitors you're the real deal with this checklist of trust factors — some are so simple, you may have just forgotten about them. Google ranks trustworthy websites higher too, so be sure to read through to the end for ideas that work with search engines.
Start with These Basics
Before we get into the meat of the list, here are some general good practices:
Simple Trust Signals
Add immediate credibility with any of these:
Build Out Your Content
Building trust can be especially difficult when promoting services because they're intangible. These tips will help you sing your own praises:
Maximize Your About Page
Your About Page shouldn’t be an afterthought. People like to know who they’re doing business with. Here's what to include:
Help Google See Your Site as Trustworthy Too
Google wants to make sure they’re sending searchers to useful sites. Here’s how to look good in their eyes:
A Little Tougher to Do, But Worth the Effort
That's our exhaustive list of trust factors, just part of Homepage Homeruns — our 129 page guide, packed with strategies, images, examples and checklists that shows you how to connect with visitors to convert more of them into buyers.
Tell us what you've been doing to increase conversion at your website in the comments below.
Looking for More Ways to Turn Visitors into Buyers?
Keeping a website up to date and running smoothly is no easy task, but it's essential if you want one that will help your business succeed. Here are some ideas for getting your site primed for the New Year.
1. Guide Visitors to Your Happy Conclusion
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.
3. Don't Lead Visitors Down a Blind Alley
When was the last time you took a good look at your website, from home page to contact page?
4. Out with the Old, In with the New
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:
5. Google is Becoming More Human
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.
If you're more technical, you may find David Portney's SEO makeover article helpful.
6. The Year of Your Mobile Website
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
The Web is Global, but If Your Customers are Local, Use these 6 Methods to Connect with Them through Social Media
Social media has the ability to touch people around the world, but a small business's best customers often may be right around the corner. Knowing how to tap into the local side of social media is key to its usefulness as a promotional tool. Plus, small businesses have a size advantage; they don't have to deal with as many customers as a large one. This gives them the opportunity to make personal connections with customers, which fits in very nicely with social media.
Try some of the following ideas to take advantage of social media to more effectively reach your local customers.
Choose Local Social Sites
There's a lot of hype around what I call the social media royalty, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and now Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest. Up and comers? Snapchat and who knows what's next. However, they don't always focus on a local audience. You can change that up by joining geographically targeted groups on those sites or create one of your own. Be aware though that targeting by location may work better in some areas than others. There are also niche sites designed for local audiences. They may not be strictly social, but they often have social tools, like discussion boards, Q&A's and blogs where you can participate. Look for local online magazines, government sites and Chambers of Commerce.
Many websites are designed for a broad audience; yet there are those that allow the visitor to select by city or neighborhood, like the review site Yelp. Online newspapers and magazines offer reports by neighborhoods, like Columbia City, Green Lake and Ballard. There are also hyperlocal sites like Nextdoor. Remember, neighborhoods have distinct personalities, so make a real connection with the people there by talking about their concerns and interests.
Online Yellow Pages
Even Yellow Pages are getting into the act, combining a directory with shared advice, discounts and reviews. There's also Localndex with a mobile version. The beauty of Yellow Pages, and other locally targeted niche sites, is that they attract an audience looking for something in particular, which means they have the mindset of a buyer rather than a browser.
When writing about your business for directories or commenting on social sites, use geographically and culturally relevant words. Use the actual city and neighborhood names and the more familiar terms and nicknames, as well. These will help people locate products and services in their area. It will also help to distinguish you from other regional or national companies. When you can't build these words in, add them as tags. Add your zip code as a tag, too.
Social Tells a Story
Data at the micro-level isn't always easy to come by without custom research, but reading posts and comments on local social sites may yield valuable insights about customers. People will also say things on social sites they may not feel comfortable saying to your face; that honesty can be especially useful for improving or coming up with new products and services.
Go the Distance
When it comes to using social media for local marketing, it's up to you to be where they're looking. Always take into account how people find information. Residents and commuters will read local blogs or the newspaper, or simply notice a sign on the street. Destination seekers may research a new restaurant at a review site. For personal services, like a haircut, people may ask for advice from their online social network. Visitors from out of town will discover the new and unusual in a travel guide like TripAdvisor.