Website trends are constantly evolving (and if you’re not yet convinced your business needs a website, read my argument here). Businesses often update the design and imaging of their website, but content may be neglected. However, content is arguably the most important part of your site, if you want to persuade potential buyers to take action.
In this blog, I discuss the essential elements nearly every business should have in its website (though content will vary depending on your business, of course). The type of business you have will depend on what products or services you promote (and how), so I’m just going to focus on more generic website elements that most businesses should consider.
Call to Action
An often forgotten but extremely important aspect of any website is the call to action. What do you want people to do when they visit your site? Sign up for your newsletter? Contact you to make an appointment or learn more? Download a piece of content?
Often a website will have multiple calls to action depending on which page you are on, but it’s important that these are prominently placed, so the visitor is directed where to go next. For example, on your blog page, have a form suggesting that readers subscribe to your blog. On your home page or product page, consider a callout section for visitors to take the next step, whether that is to download your e-book or contact you for a demo.
How to nail it:
- Make sure your calls to action are prominent. Consider using colored callout boxes, larger text, or other stylized options to make them stand out.
- Always include the benefit for the customer, making it irresistible for them to take action. Instead of saying “Contact us to learn more,” consider “Learn more about how Product X will make every day easier. Contact us today.”
- With every call to action, include a button for the user to click to easily take action. It could be a “Sign Up” button that subscribes them to your newsletter, or a “Download” button that downloads your e-book, or a “Contact Us” button that directs them to your contact page or opens a new email.
Customers like to know about the company they are doing business with. Whether you’re a one-man shop or a large corporation with a 50-year history, your About page is your opportunity to tell your story.
Share your company mission or vision statement, your history, and what makes you different from others in your industry. This is an opportunity to connect to your customers on a more personal level, while also selling your company as a whole.
How to nail it:
- Even though this section is about you and your company, make sure you focus on what matters to your customers. (For instance, instead of saying how great your company is, talk about how you speak to customer’s needs or how the business was formed to speak to a specific consumer problem.)
- Explain why customers should choose you over competitors in your industry. Again, make sure you stick to areas that matter to your customer base.
One of the most valuable parts of your website is a testimonials section. Potential customers want to hear how great your business is, but they want to hear it from your customers, not you.
Testimonials can be presented in a number of ways on your website, whether as one page of customer quotes, links to longer case studies, testimonials sprinkled throughout your site, or many others.
How to nail it:
- When you ask customers for testimonials, there’s nothing wrong with giving a little direction. Ask them to be specific about how they benefitted from your product or service; this will create the most valuable testimonial for you.
- Be sure to include the author of each testimonial, whether that is a name, business name, logo, photo, or other identifying information. Anonymous testimonials are not perceived as strongly.
- Feel free to edit your testimonials for length. Some people prefer to post testimonials exactly as they are written – and that is fine – but feel free to edit them down for length to include on your site. As long as you’re still using the customer’s words, and not changing the meaning, this is acceptable.
A growing website trend of today is the beautiful, clean, sparse design. This is visually appealing and helps direct customers exactly where they need to be, since there is not much content on the site. However, important elements can sometimes be forgotten or hidden.
Don’t forget that your goal in having a website is for potential customers to contact you, so you want your contact information to be prominent! This includes your phone number and email address at a bare minimum, but also should include a mailing address and map if you have a physical location, as well as social media links if applicable.
How to nail it:
- I always suggest putting contact information in at least two places: the footer and a dedicated Contact page. This makes it easy for visitors to navigate and find how to contact you quickly.
- One convenient way to have people contact you is through a form on your Contact page. This allows people to fill out their information and what they are interested in, and that will get emailed to you automatically. If you go this route, be sure to also include your phone number and email address as well, because some people prefer reaching out directly.