Regardless of what kind of business you have, a website is an absolute necessity in today's business climate. Whether your website successfully contributes to achieving your business goals, however, is a completely different matter. Taking time out to ascertain whether your website is really working for you is an exercise well worth undertaking.
What purpose does your website serve?
What are your business goals? Your business vision? How does your website help you to achieve these things? Do you use it primarily to sell things? To educate your audience in terms of how you can help them? To create a sense of community and belonging that people flock to as a source of knowledge or inspiration? Is your site a learning and support resource, providing information about a service or product that you supply? It could be a combination of all of the above. Regardless of what form your website takes, it needs to align with your business vision and goals. If you’re unable to articulate how it does that, it may be worth taking another look at your site design and/or function.
Speak to the right people
Who are your ideal clients or customers? What interests them? Why are they coming to your website? It’s important for you to have a vision of your ideal client and to know what motivates them and the types of things they struggle with. It’s only when you know your clients really well that you’re able to speak to them directly through your copy, reassuring them that you know what you’re talking about and your product or service is going to meet their needs. If you haven’t already defined who your ideal people are, spend some time researching personas or giving some thought to those clients you already love working with and figure out why you’re such a good fit. Keep them in mind when writing your website copy or blog posts and you’re halfway there.
Include the information your ideal people need to read/hear
In general people need to know that you know your stuff. They need to know that the product or service they’re purchasing is going to meet their needs and that if it doesn’t, that they’re not going to have an issue getting a refund or advice on how to fix their problem. How does your website reassure people that you’re genuine and not out to rip them off? By displaying prices? By publishing your refund policy in a prominent place so that people understand the terms under which they purchase from you? Do your products/services live up to the promises you make of them?
It’s all about engendering trust, particularly if the products/services you supply are virtual.
To blog or not to blog?
There’s a huge section of the online business community who believe that every business should have a blogging component to their website. This is a personal call and depends on the nature of your business. Does your product/service lend itself to being written about? If not, then you can let people know your behind-the-scenes processes. Blog posts can highlight your knowledge about particular services you provide.
However you approach your blog, it needs to meet the needs of your ideal client and speak in a voice that’s in keeping with their values. There’s no point catering to those who are just clicking on your site out of curiosity. You should ensure every blog post on your site addresses the needs of your ideal clients in some way. If you’re unsure about relevant topics, research other people in your niche and see the type of stuff they address to help generate your own ideas. Please remember that plagiarism is never, ever cool.
The other advantage of keeping a blog is that it provides dynamic content so that visitors know the site is fresh and attended to on a regular basis. There’s nothing worse than to visit a website as a consumer and not know if it’s something that’s been sitting on the net gathering dust for years and years, belonging to a business that died a long time ago.
If you make sales via your site, how do you let your clients/customers know that their information is secure? Do:
- you use encryption technology?
- your ideal clients need to know how long you keep their information for? A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself what your expectations would be if you were the customer and be guided by those.
In summary, there’s a lot that goes in to making sure your website is the best it can be and because of this, it's important to review it regularly. This could be at the time that you set your goals for the coming year, and again whenever you’re planning adding things to it, such as launching new products or services.
Overall there are two main goals you should aim for:
- making sure your site supports your business goals and vision as smoothly and seamlessly as possible.
- ensuring that it speaks to your ideal customer/client in their language and clearly spells out the benefits of utilising your goods and/or services.
When you adhere to these two principles, you'll both inform and meet your visitor’s needs on an ongoing basis. As business owners, don’t we all want a site that works for us 24/7? Put the effort in and discover the rewards that are there for the taking!
If you need assistance maintaining your website or blog, we we'd be delighted to assist. We are specialists in updating, writing, posting and formatting both web copy and individual blog posts. Please see the Silver Service category on our Rates page for details.