In today’s digital economy, your business website must do more than just look good. As your brand’s virtual sales rep, Internet storefront, and online distribution hub, your website must convert on a number of levels, enticing would-be prospects, nurturing new leads, and servicing existing customers.
For those nodding their heads in agreement, here is a 10-point checklist to help ensure your website is built for c-o-n-v-e-r-s-i-o-n.
Compelling: First and foremost, your website should encapsulate the best of your brand, merging crisp visuals with concise, well-written copy that promotes your unique value proposition. Your site must do more than give out information about your products and services – it must successfully make the case why people should consider, or continue, working with you.
Original: Be transparent, and be yourself. Share testimonials, case studies, and/or samples of your work. If you’re a start-up, emphasize your vision and values. Humanize your brand with an About Us page that tells your brand story, ideally with pictures and videos. Show your face: familiarity builds trust and fosters brand affinity.
Navigable: Your navigation system is one of the most important elements of your company’s website. A clear navigation tells your user where they are on your site at any given time. Give hierarchy to navigation to tell people what the site contains and where they should go next. If the route through the website isn’t clear, it’s more likely your user will feel confused and leave.
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Versatile: Make sure your website messaging and content reflects the multi-dimensional nature of your brand. Don’t shy away from audio and visual content. Try new things, and put in some honest effort. Think of your website as your online storefront; put as much thought into the online experience as you would the in-store or in-office experience. As the cornerstone of your brand’s Internet presence, your website should be as vibrant and versatile as you are (if you aren’t very vibrant and versatile, try putting your best digital foot forward).
Educational: Many people are coming to your site for information; they’re trying to resolve a want or a need, or gain a better understanding of what it is you do or what you have to offer. Don’t disappoint. A business blog is a great educational tool: think of each blog as an open letter to your target audience. Other types of educational content, such as eBooks, infographics, and how-to videos, can provide insight that informs as well as entertains.
Reliable: Stability and reliability breed trust. This begins with consistent web-based messaging and formatting. Do what you say, and say what you do. Make sure your website is reliable for search engines as it is for people. Index your site with the major search engines, and delete redundant copy and duplicate pages. Make sure your brand message, content, look, and feel are consistent over all media.
Simple: People are coming to your site for a reason. Help, don’t hinder them. Offer a clear site structure and layout. Create an exceptional user experience for your target audience. If relevant, provide a clear path to the sale. Remember, you may only get one chance at this.
Integrated: Keying off this last point, you want to synch your website with other elements of your digital presence, especially social media platforms. Embed social share buttons in relevant site pages and other web-based content assets. As consumers integrate the Internet, social, and mobile into their daily lives, you need to do the same
Optimized: As more consumers turn to mobile, you must make sure your brand is optimized for devices of all shapes and sizes. A responsive web design (RWD) may be the most efficient way to provide visitors the best user experience possible regardless of how they reach your site.
Nurturing: Like most businesses, you are probably selling some type of product or service. If so, your website should also function as your top online sales rep. Arm your best content with attractive CTAs that link to actionable landing pages. Guide prospects down the sales funnel with sophisticated email lead-nurturing campaigns. Manage your efforts with marketing automation software; analyze your performance with web analytics.
There was a time when all a company needed was a sexy, visually-stunning brochure website; that time has long since passed. As we continue to fully integrate technology into every aspect of our lives, the lines separating online and offline are blurring. In this hybrid business environment, your company website must be built for conversion on all levels, turning visitors into leads, leads into customers, and customers into brand loyalists.