Your website should be an effective tool for your business. If the traffic to your website is down and you’re getting very few leads through the website, it clearly is not doing a good job. Its effectiveness is minimal; the website needs an overhaul.
You probably have some ideas about what to correct – change – fix. Maybe a website makeover is in order. Here are some guidelines for deciding what to put on our fix-it list.
Makeover Step #1:
Home Page & First Impressions
Home Page & First Impressions
Evaluate what the site shows visitors on first look. It needs to be easy to find what these visitors came to learn. They need to quickly see what you do, who you are, and that you will solve their problem.
Quickly shout out, “This is ABC Company and we offer coaching for public speakers.” Your logo should stand out and be large enough to brand the page. Often a tag line on your logo will do a good job of making what you do clear, if your name does not. “Erickson Creative” doesn’t tell you what I do, but the tag line, “Improving Business Websites” gives a clear understanding. Does yours?
Other points to look for on this all-important first page: clear navigation , an obvious and easy call-to-action (not “buy now,” but “free guide”), ways to contact you, and pleasing layout, typography and colors.
How did your website come out in this evaluation? Did you have a third party (partner, assistant, brother) check it out? Or, try a more hands-on approach with my FREE downloadable ” 10-step Website Eval .”
If you find problems in this area, you could be loosing your visitors right from the beginning . Many of this page’s features – navigation, layout and colors, contact information – are used throughout the website. If these need redesign, a new template/theme might be the best solution.
OK, we have a new template with better layout and colors, better navigation, and better locations for our call-to-action and contact information. What else?
Makeover Step #2: Navigation as a Map
Navigation is one of the most important elements of a website. It must make the journey through the website simple and painless for any visitor. No frustration, no getting lost. Add drop-down lists for more detail. Add new navigation sidebars on special pages to offer more options for information.
This is a major goal of any website. One way to analyze it is to create an outline with each navigation button label as heads, then any pages under that label under each outline head. This paper method might help you see if everything is in the right place. We don’t want to put the map to Tahiti under the China heading, right?
With a good organizational chart of all the pages in the site, you can get a clear view of how to get to each page. Plan for some expansion. Make sure that there is always a way to get from page 1 to page 20 from any page on the site. Your new template should include this kind of logical navigation.
Makeover Step #3: Call-to-Action – the Better Way
In your current website you are probably encouraging your visitors to call or email for more information . That doesn’t cut it these days and actually tells your visitors they are going to have to make some effort to talk with you. Also, this method does little to solve their problem.
You’re looking at it from YOUR point-of-view, not your customers.’ They don’t know you, so they are probably not going to call or email. Would you call a number from a website you just found?
You need to give visitors some solutions to their problems , maybe several solutions to their problems. Finding this solution, or at least tips about the problem, means they might listen to what your total solution is.
So what does this call-to-action need to be, really? Free Guide, Step-by-Step System, Free Sample, Product Demo, 10 Free Resources …. you get the idea. Or, ask them to sign up for your newsletter or website blog . (What? You don’t have one? Let’s add those to this list.)
If they sign up, they are telling you they want more information and solutions from you. It’s one of the best ways to keep your company in front of them while making the sentiment about your company very positive. Excellent tool.
OK, we have a much better call-to-action, several calls-to-action. What’s next?
Makeover Step #4: About Us & Testimonials = Personality + Trust
This page needs to be as personable as you can make it. Use photos of company activities and staff with info about them. Your goals, strengths, achievements, how you got started, and customer stories make this page readable and interesting. It’s about people connecting with people – you with your customers.
Videos are also very good here: a welcome, a customer story, a company or community event. The better this page does its job, the faster your clients will trust you – and buy!
Says C.C. Chapman and Ann Handley in Content Rules , “Since you know yourself better than anyone, tell your story. Get your brand story straight and give voice to your distinctive point of view….. Know your customers, too, and what keeps them up at night. What are their concerns and objectives? What do they care about? How will your brand help them in their daily lives?”
Remember that website you just found. Did you hit the “About Us” link to find out more about the company? No About Us page or an About Us page giving you lots of information and a good feeling about buying? It makes a difference!
Makeover Step #5: Blog
Today a blog is a necessity for any good business-building site. This is your customers’ source for answers to their questions, for how others are using your product or service, directions and tips for use of a product or service – all on an up-to-date, regular basis.
Your blog offers your company’s stories in real time. It is a source of text full of appropriate brand-inspired keywords and phrases; any new articles affect Google rankings, too. What a winner this new website blog can be.
Use the best set-up for this blog: WordPress . Used by millions, free, and updated regularly, WordPress makes adding an article easy. It adds the date, the author, then places it at the top of all the other blog posts as the newest information. And, it’s searchable, too.
WordPress has plug-ins to make it do any specific uses your company wants to add, too. This is a DIY website, one with complete company access 24/7. See ” WordPress Best for All Websites? ” for more about WordPress.
Chapman and Handley ( Content Rules ) add, “Share or solve; don’t shill. Good content doesn’t try to sell. Rather, it creates value by positioning you as a reliable and valuable source of vendor-agnostic information.” So let’s get out there (on the Internet) and create some great content!
Makeover Step #6: Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a method of using your brand-appropriate keywords and phrases in specific fields of the website. These are the fields that the search engines use to determine your rank in any search.
You may be using SEO already, but tastes change and consumers start using new terms and phrases to search. Do a new search and discovery to determine what keywords your customers are using to reach a site like yours. This refinement of the new website requires some research, but it will give you rewards with improved traffic.
When you have taken these steps…
Your new WordPress website will be able to accommodate growth, evolve with your business, and be easy to maintain. You’ll be able to add new blog articles whenever the next customer problem, great testimonial, or new product comes along.
Clear design, navigation, and hierarchy will help your visitors enjoy their visit. Great problem-solving, down-loadable items used for your new call-to-action will give your customers the help they are seeking. Sounds pretty darn good, doesn’t it?
All-in-all, great reasons for a website redesign. Or is it an overhaul? You now have some tools and some steps to follow to get it done. Go for it!