A company's website is the foundation of everything they do online. Businesses that do not have a website are less credible, and businesses with sites that are difficult to navigate or hard to understand can miss a vital opportunity to gain new customers and retain current ones. If you are paying for advertising or spending valuable time and resources to market this website, it is a waste. 

Often when somebody comes to us and wants their website redesigned, we evaluate the site and find that the website doesn't need to be rebuilt from scratch, but instead requires a goal-oriented update to the website.

Many websites today are pretty templates that don't cater to the company's needs and goals. Therefore, they fail.

In today's age of growing website presences and increased eCommerce business traffic, you must focus resources on your website and get it right before you do anything else!

So how do you prevent falling into this trap?

An effective website involves multiple steps. The company needs to

  1. Identify their goals
  2. Develop a clear brand and ensure the website conveys that brand to the customer
  3. Ensure that website content contains all the information needed for a smooth customer experience
  4. Audit the buying process that your customer goes through to be sure your site is designed to make it a seamless experience.

1. Identify Your Goals

A company needs to have clear goals for its website; you can't have a website simply because you need to have a website. Your website should be a funnel that guides visitors to specific actions: a phone call, a sign-up, a request for more information, a download, or a purchase. Look at the list below to see how different goals lead you to focus on various aspects of your website:

Phone Calls - Make sure your phone number is front & center
Leads - Have clear calls to action!
Purchases - Make sure trust signals are prevalent on all pages

As you can see from these goal examples, every detail of the site structure can have an impact on website success. Once you have completed a goal analysis, the next step is to establish a brand for your company.

2. Websites and Your Branding

Branding is your logo, colors, and visuals, as well as the voice of your business. 

Websites that successfully incorporated their branding throughout the site are more successful. For this reason, using canned templates purchased on the internet or DIY (SAAS) websites have a high failure rate they do not convey the brand to the customer that is using the site. 

It is an unfortunate fact as many start-up companies rely on these types of websites because money is tight. New companies need to prioritize this fact when setting their budgets.

3. Your Websites Content

In addition to having the right information in the right spots, you need to be sure the navigation of your website is easy to use. There are many areas of website content that need purposeful attention and development:

  • Company Information: Give the customer information about the company; this will help you gain their trust.
  • Services/Products: Be clear and concise in your descriptions.
  • Proofing: Make sure all pages, especially blogs and articles, are carefully proofed to eliminate spelling and grammar errors.
  • Team: A customer who can read about the team behind the business will feel a more personal connection.
  • Images & Video: Make sure images and videos are high-quality. Avoid stock photos and videos, if possible. Pictures and videos made by you are more personable and allow a deeper connection with your visitor. 
  • Keep it Updated: Make sure your website doesn't contain outdated information. Add fresh and new information to keep customers engaged.

4. The Buying Process

As visitors become buyers, they go through a process. Your website should provide a flow or a funnel through this process to ensure the visitor doesn't get frustrated, confused, or leave the website for any other reason. Read the process below and the website details inherent in making the visitor experience a positive one:

They Discover the Need

A buyer's flow starts with the awareness that they need the product or service. Let us use an HVAC company as an example. The air conditioning is acting up at their home. They play with the thermostat and look at the filter. They probably will go to Google and type in what the AC is doing to see if there is a solution to the problem. They do not find one. They have discovered their need for a professional.

Researching Their Options

Once they realize they need something, they will research their options online to see what is out there that will address their need. In our HVAC example, they will look online to see who is in the area or ask friends for referrals.

Shopping For Price and Benefits

At this point in the buying process, the buyer is looking at the price and options based on the research they have done in the previous two steps. In our HVAC example, the person will research companies based on availability, reviews, warranty, services they provide, and cost.

The reality is, you don't get to talk to a prospective customer until after they have gone through this cycle. Your website should act as a guide as the buyer is going through the initial phases outlined above.

How to Give the Buyer What They're Looking For

Once you know who your buyers are, you know their pain points or the problems they need to solve. Give them great information that allows them to discover their need, research their options, and compare benefits/prices.

Your website is the prime place for this great content. After all, it is our goal to get them to our website from other networks, whether it is from search engines, social networks, or other online marketing methods.

Start With Great Copywriting

The content on your website pages should have wording that identifies the product or service that your buyer is seeking to make a decision. This content lets the buyer know they are in the right place and compels them to start the research phase of the process.

Good website copy should put the buyer at ease, giving them the right information, so they know they're making an educated decision. And this phase is where your authority in your industry is vital.

Prove Your Authority

The best way to prove your authority is by expanding on your main content through articles, stories, and case studies. This type of content is best placed on your blog page. 

A strong content strategy must be in place as it creates an inbound marketing scenario that results in your customers coming to you rather than needing to find each customer by making time-consuming and inefficient cold calls and cold touches.

Testimonials are another tool you can use to prove your authority on search engines, and other networks that people rely on when making a buying decision. Hint: If you are adding these to your website, provide links where they can see the original review. 

Calls to Action

Since you have already set your goals in step 1, you know what you're trying to accomplish on your website. Make sure each page of your website asks the visitor to take the next step in the process. 

Your calls-to-action should have a confirming statement with a button or form so that they can take the next step. We recommend guiding them to a page so we can track how many are taking the next step right before the conversion

The button in our example takes them to the request a quote page and allows us to track how many are taking the next step and where they are coming from.

Snippets of code can be added to phone numbers and other links that are tracked in Google Analytics. Adding this snippet of code gives you additional information about the visitor allowing you to make smart marketing decisions.

Every Page on Your Website is a Landing Page

A landing page is where a visitor lands on your website. Every page of your website is technically a landing page since you're driving traffic from search engines as well as social media posts. Make sure each of your pages has a clear goal for the page and a clear call to action. Assume this is the ONLY page the visitor will see. 

Great Images and Video

The reality of internet browsing is that people do not read; they skim content to see if what they are looking for is on the page. Your page headers and images will guide them through the process as they make this determination.

Video continues to gain strength and is an excellent opportunity not only to tell them something but to show them as well.

Videos and images can help walk the customer from one phase to another as they go through the process of becoming a buyer.

The Social Media Icon Argument

The social icons on your website do not need to compete with your website's call to action. Often, we see social icons at the top of the page right next to a phone number or near the call to action. 

Placing them on the contact page and the footer prevents competition with the goals of other pages on your website. 

Correctly placing your social media icons not only increases their use but prevents them from accidentally diverting the customer away from web pages meant to funnel the customer to the next step in the purchase process.

Summing All This Up

If you are just starting or are considering updating your website, the details above are critical to getting the most out of your website and accomplishing your goals.

Your website is the blood of your business online. To accomplish your goals, you need a plan that drives regular traffic to your website from ads, search engine optimization, email marketing, retargeting, content marketing, social media, etc. Without these, your website will be useless as there won't be enough traffic coming in to get results.

Know expected traffic vs. needed traffic and plan accordingly

Business owners need to realize that the average conversion rate of a website visitor to a customer is 1 to 2%. Companies need to calculate how much traffic is required to generate the sales or leads that are needed each day to reach their goal based on that statistic. 

Once you know your traffic target, you can structure a  marketing campaign based on your goals and evaluate each month to see which efforts are converting.

If you have challenges with your website or would like a website review, we would be happy to talk with you, review your goals, evaluate your site, and offer recommendations. We have a wealth of experience in this area that your company can benefit your company. Get in touch with us, we will help you develop a plan to increase your web traffic and customer conversions.

Hear from a few people we have worked with...

“The quality I most like about Richelle is her enthusiasm. Whatever she does, she does it passionately and energetically. She puts herself into a task and gives it her all. I also admire her creativity. To my way of thinking, creativity is essential to good Website design. After all, who wants to visit "just another Website"? I have enjoyed my association with Richelle and would recommend her to anyone.” ~ Ted Holt

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Since 2007, the Lighthouse Web Design and Marketing team has created custom websites and strategic marketing strategies for small businesses. Each marketing campaign is built around the client's goals and needs and backed by a proven marketing strategy.

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