Your site is your online face. No secret there. But are you doing all you can to showcase your company’s awesomeness, or does your site design and content take away from your real value?
Write Quality Content
When it comes to website content, it isn’t just what you say, but how you say it. Is your site too wordy or too vague, or even both? It’s very possible to use a lot of words to say very little. Make sure your content is the right mix.
Real quick – here’s some other valuable content takeaways:
Give your visitors a good scope of what you do, without boring them with too many details: Think of your home page as your elevator pitch. Short. Sweet. To the point. AND RELEVANT!
Use long-tail keywords naturally: Search engines and people can smell a keyword-stuffed page a mile away and it’s a total turnoff. Use them wisely. Not too much.
Be transparent: Unless you are Nike or American Express, state clearly what you do on your front page. Be sure to spell it out. It helps qualify your potential clients, helps the search engines rank you, and helps your readers feel satisfied that where they are is where they need to be. There’s nothing worse than wasting massive amounts of time on a site searching for the company’s specialty.
Break up your paragraphs into bite-sized sections: This makes your page easier to read both on desktop and mobile platforms, and will retain your reader’s attention longer.
Break up the rhythm of your sentences: Have some really short ones – like this. Then add in some other longer ones – but not too long. Research shows that longer sentences just get scanned or skipped over completely.
Skip the cerebral vocabulary: You don’t need to prove your intelligence. If you can walk, don’t saunter. If you can think, don’t ponder.
Use the words you’d use chatting over coffee, unless your subject matter calls for something different. People can sense phony writing, and it makes you come off as unapproachable. No one wants to buy from the guy who’s unapproachable, so don’t be that guy.
Maintain the left margin, if you can: As western left-to-right readers, we will always look for that left starting point. If you’ve got a lot of content, keep your readers in a comfy headspace, by keeping the margin for them.
Prioritize Website Graphics
Have you ever visited a page with an overload of annoying pop-ups? Or how about those irritating ads that follow you as you scroll down the page, flashing and talking at you like a sleazy Vegas billboard? Yeah, me too. So painful.
If you’ve got a ton of pop-ups, a bunch of flash and color, or lots of ads bouncing around, unless you are selling blinking, bouncing things, you are detracting from your natural personality as a company, and worse, could be scaring off potential clients.
- Keep movement to a minimum, and make it count: So, if you have a bouncy ad, don’t put on more bouncy things. If you have a site with a parallax scroll, don’t add in more slidey things. With our present volume of media overload, on sites these days, less is often more.
- Showcase your unique features on your web pages: About one or two nice cameo features per page is enough for tired web-trolling eyes. So a slideshow gallery is great. But just one. A blinking ad is fine. Just not ten. A pop-up is good. If it doesn’t keep popping up over and over in your visitors’ faces.
Build Credibility with Graphics
The first thing I do before I buy anything from anyone is look for a human photo, and good graphics. I am not alone in this:
- Your portrait adds credibility: You are a real person at a real company, and you can use that warmth and humanness to your advantage. If you post a genuine photo of yourself, your clients will trust you more. According to BrightLocal’s research in their study on images that inspire trust, 52% of respondents indicated that a photo of the business owner was the biggest trust factor, over generic images, or none at all.
- Keep it real: Some experts advise against crowd photos because the eye has nowhere to go. I am in favor of group photos though, provided that photo is of real people in your company, and not some random stock photo of sugary-smiley people that are clearly not your When I research a company, I like to see who I might be dealing with. Do they look nice? Can I build a rapport with them? Chances are, your visitors are doing the same thing.
- Use relevant stock photos: Don’t just post a pic to post a pic. Make it count. Make it relevant. Your readers are going to check out your visuals first, and if they detract from your message, they add zero value.
- Give credit: If you use stock photos, or a local photographer, make sure to pay credit where it’s due – that’s just good business, and good karma.
- Add a caption: According to Kissmetrics, in their blog post on conversions with respect to graphics, focusing on Dan Ogilvy’s commissioned research, captions underneath the images get noticed and read, an average of 300% more than the actual content.
There’s some stuff to chew on. So go forth and develop your online reputation – and when in doubt, be genuine. That will win over your ideal market every time. If you need a little help fine-tuning your website content, reach out – I am here to help!
Feel free to leave comments and tell me what you found effective for your site! I would love to hear!