The Wayworks guide for business websites that work
So you’re about to start your new web project, or maybe you have a website but it’s just not working for your business.
Either way, you need to make sure that you’re not completely wasting your time and your business’s money on the whole online marketing thing.
Your website can be the most effective tool you have to sell your products, market your services, generate leads and grow your business. But smacking up a list of your products or services just won’t cut it.
There is a huge amount at play in successful website. It takes a lot of different things working in tandem to keep visitors coming and customers buying. But it’s very doable.
With that in mind, we’ve created a set of guidelines that you can use to transform your website into a money-making, lead-churning machine!
Any business can benefit from these guidelines. It doesn’t matter if you have a brochure website or an e-commerce business, you can apply them to your website and use them to improve your sales.
Define your goals and customer journey
First things first, before colour schemes or fonts, you need to get crystal clear on the goals of your site.
What business objective is it trying to support? Is it supposed to bring you in leads or sell a physical product? Without knowing this how are you going to measure it’s success?
Next, you need to get into your customer’s head to plan out your site. After all, it’s for them, not for you.
Write out all your customers key questions, and use pages, layouts, copy, imagery and other media to answer these questions.
What are they really looking for?
What would drive them to look for what you have to offer?
What questions do they need answered?
Map out your visitors ideal journey – What action do you want them to take on each page?
Build a structure around making this happen. Start at the home page, what’s the main thing they’re after?
Don’t give your users any nasty surprises, make sure what they expect to happen happens, and when they take an action on your site, it can be trusted.
Your visitors will be ready to take action at different stages, so make sure you give them every opportunity to take the desired action without overdoing it.
Not all of your visitors are created equal – they won’t all arrive at the same place and they won’t all stay for the same length of time, so account for this.
Get the important information across first, and lead them through your site using Calls To Action.
Craft a clear message
Start with your objectives, what is it your are trying to achieve on each page?
What questions are you answering? Write them down so you’re 100% clear. What is it you want them to do?
Now talk to your customers about themselves and their Pain Points. What questions are you answering? What will convince them to do what you want?
Your website is not a big ‘We do this, we do that’ list.
Instead of talking about the features of your products, talk about the benefits they provide and how your user will feel before and after using your product/service. Speak directly to your target market, and as always test different headlines and Calls To Action.
Tell your story. People care about people, not about businesses. You buy from who you know. Let them get to know you, your story is big part of that.
Keep in mind the structure of your content, the important stuff first and let the details come later.
People want to know if they’re in the right place, and they want to know quickly or they’ll keep looking. Tell them the important stuff straight away, and in a short scannable sentence.
You can drip feed them the more detailed stuff once they know they’ve found a solution. The serious potential customers will continue reading.
In summary, you should:
Start with your objectives
Talk to your customers, not about you
Benefits over features
Appeal to pain-points
Tell your story
Drip feed info
Get the right look and feel
Today, customers search online before they make a purchase, meaning most people you deal with will have seen you online first. What’s their first impression of you?
It might be important for you to have a ‘professional looking’ website but that by itself is just not enough.
A good website design blends art with function, the right look and feel with a clear path to follow. Design has a function, and your website design has a couple of very important functions.
It needs to guide your visitors to the next step, the next action. It needs to be a natural and intuitive process.
It needs to support your message – Telling your you’re safe, while you’re looking at a bear, might make wary about taking my word for it.
And it needs to reflect you, and what you’re about.
Basically, your website needs to look good while still leading visitors to take the actions you would like them to take. In more practical terms, using contrasting colours for buttons so they stand out, making sure your layout doesn’t confuse, and helps facilitate their flow through your site.
Make sure your design is consistent across platforms and devices, sticking to the same colour schemes and fonts.
A potential customer will visit your site more than once before buying, probably on a number of different devices. You want to make sure they are getting a similar experience on all fronts.
Fonts your font gives your text character, so make sure you choose one accordingly. You can use different fonts to dictate hierarchy, one for the headings and another for paragraphs.
Color invokes emotion so your colour scheme is crucial.
Complimentary colour schemes are appealing to the eye. They are a good way to convey an emotion. But, contrasting colours can be a great way to draw attention to an action and highlight differentiation for your visitors.
Pick a colour scheme in-keeping with your message but still supports your goals.
Imagery is important in good website design. Don’t overdo it on the stock imagery. ‘Ever seen Cat Fish, the MTV show?
A photo of your team in action will do far more than some nameless strangers that appear all over the net.
Video converts, and that’s a fact. It can be pricey but there’s no arguing the stats. A visitor is X% more likely to convert if they’ve seen a product video first.
Testing is great if you’ve the means and the time. You should Split Test variations of your messaging and design and let your visitors tell you how to convert more customers.
Show proof that you can be trusted
Not everyone online has a sterling reputation. You need to show people that you can be trusted.
There’s two types of trust you need to build here. Trust in your brand, and trust in your site.
What’s the difference?
Trusting your brand means knowing that you’ll deliver what you say. Gain your visitors trust by including some of the following on your website.
Your brand logo
Logos from brands you’ve worked with
Show your real life location via an integrated map, write down your address and phone number on your website and so on.
These might be simple things to do, but they inspire trust and customers will be more likely to cooperate with you this way.
Trusting your website is about having confidence that your website will work the way it should and that it’s safe and secure for them to use.
This reflects back on your brand one way or the other. Show them that you run a tight ship and make sure your website is up to industry standards.
Build your email list with a newsletter signup
Add a newsletter sign-up to your website. You can use any number of email platforms like MailChimp for this.
Email is key to successful marketing. One of your primary goals for your website should be to capture your visitors email address. Why?
1. Because emails cost you nothing to send and
2. if someone signs up to your email list, they have told you they are interested in what you have to offer.
So, with your email list you can target your marketing on people you know are potential customers. For free.
So, put a signup form your website.
Why would anyone join?
Because your going to give them something valuable for free if they do. A special offer code, a free e-book, an over-the-phone consultation. Something that your potential customers would value.
Setup tracking and test everything
Make sure all of your links are working, all of your Calls To Action lead to the right place.
Check that your contact forms send, that your Email Autoresponder is firing.
Install your analytics tags and tracking pixels, or any other marketing tools you require.
Verify that your tags/pixels are firing.
Make sure all your pages are search engine friendly and targeted to their keywords.
Make sure your website design looks good on all devices and all browsers.
Start bringing in visitors and following up
Now unfortunately, visitors won’t just pile into your great new website as soon as it’s gone live (we wish!).
If you’re looking for decent traffic, you need to drive it. Don’t be daunted though, it’s very doable.
Two great sources for website traffic are search engines (i.e. Google) and social media (don’t groan!).
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) involves optimising your website (SEO) to help Google send people to your website.
The ins and outs of SEO can be pretty heavy but there’s a few quick things you can do, even as a novice.
If your website is on WordPress set up and configure the Yoast Plugin. It will give Google extra information and help your web pages perform better in searches.
Submit your website to Google [Link] and other search engines as soon as it’s live. This will get it listed straight away.
Submit your website to online directories. Links back to your website from other well-established sites will boost your visibility and help visitors find it.
Lastly, (for now) you should create a few blog posts. Look at Long-Tailed Keywords to write content about, i.e. very specific questions or queries very closely-related to what your website is about.
Social Media Marketing is a great place to start driving traffic. There’s than a billion users are on Facebook alone and LinkedIn can be a great source of professional visitors.
Create social media accounts on the platforms you think your potential customers use.
What social media platforms do they use? Ask them. Send out emails to your current customers. Tell them you’re looking to branch out your marketing and they’ll give you back their honest response.
Keep in mind, people aren’t …. pushy. Use it naturally to interact with people. Provide them with updates or insights that they’ll find relevant and they’ll visit your website in due course.
Pay Per Click campaigns are a great way to drive traffic to your website. Create an ad that will appeal to your audience and guarantee visitors to your business website.
Facebook is the cheapest and has fantastic targeting options but LinkedIn and Google can also bring in quality website traffic, just at a higher budget.
Send emails to your email list at regular intervals (just, you know, not every day!). Don’t bother spamming because you’ll lose a lot of potential customers that way.
Send useful information, industry updates, highlight opportunities or product specials. Discount codes are always a winner if you sell online, and even if you don’t who doesn’t love a discount?!
Keep them coming back, and the emails are free!
Now it’s time to start ramping it up and building on the platform you’ve created
Why keep creating content? Because content sells. How? Because your content is where your Calls To Action are.
Imagine you’re at home on your couch watching TV and an ad comes on. You didn’t sit there just to watch the ad but you watch it anyway. You might even buy what it’s selling.
Your content is the TV show, it’s the reason they’re their. But, it gives you the opportunity to offer them something.
Stay Engaged With Your Audience, use segmentation and retargeting
Use content to keep your audience engaged. Try and keep it fresh or refurbish old content and make it current.
Use your pixels to retarget your audience with PPC campaigns on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Keep using and growing your email list to bring more and more potential customers back to your offerings. You might even find you can provide new offerings to keep up with their demand!
Become THE Authority
You want to be seen as the go to authority in your niche, tell people what you know, show you are the expert
Stay Relevant For Search
Keeping your static brochure website current and up to date is damn near impossible without continually creating content to keep yourself relevant, for your users and search engines.
Track, analyze, measure, test and improve
Analytics is a game-changer. Now you know why your visitors are finding you, what they’re looking for and what they had for breakfast.
Ok, maybe not always what they had for breakfast but the point is you know a lot more about your customers than you may have had access to before.
Your website analytics turn you from a business owner to a marketing powerhouse. Use it figure out what’s working and what’s not. Double down on what’s working and get rid of the what isn’t. Simple.
And, with the launch of Google Search Console, it’s easier than ever.
OK, so it’s time to get started. Whether you have a brochure website or an e-commerce business or if it’s your first crack at the whip, these guidelines will help you supercharge your website and add 0s to your bottom line.
We said there’s a huge amount at play in a successful business website. Clearly, we weren’t kidding! But it’s doable. Start at the top and work your way through or send this link to your marketing guru and tell them to get to work!
To help you along, we’ve made this downloadable checklist. Onwards and upwards!
If you have any questions or queries (or complaints!) about the content in this article, don’t sit there mulling it over. Pop it in the comments section and we’ll get back to you as soon as.
If you have any ideas for content you’d like to see created, include it in the comments as well and we’ll see what we can do!
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