Your website is often the first impression a prospective buyer will garner of your business. And seeing as studies have reported that “you have less than 10 seconds to impress and engage a new visitor to your website”, it’s of extreme importance that your website is fully optimized.
It needs to be clean. It needs to be strategically concise in some areas, but lengthy and descriptive in others. It needs to be accessible. It needs to present a clear understanding of who you are, what you do, and why you’re the best for the job.
Basically, it needs to act as an extension of your business’s personality. Remember that this is essentially the first thing your next client (or buyer depending on what industry you serve) will see.
If I’m running a marketing agency and I can’t properly communicate my message, there’s a high likelihood that visitor will take their business elsewhere. How could they trust me to communicate their message when I can’t even communicate my own?
In broader terms, if you’re on a first date, are you not going to take the time to prepare yourself and put the best version of you out there? Of course you are! Because when your date sees you for the first time, you want to provide them with a clean, well-kept image before you even open your mouth.
Effectively communicating your services on a website goes beyond copy, which we’ll get to momentarily. Just like how you can communicate without saying a word, simply based on your appearance, mannerisms, and demeanor, you can do the same on a website through its design, layout, accessibility and quality.
Take pride in your website! After all, this is a representation of who you are. Ensure the photographs are colorful, original, and eye-catching. If you’re going for more of a sleeker, modern design, then be consistent. If you’re relying on neutral colors from the beginning, stay the course the entire website.
Accessibility, for both desktop and mobile, is perhaps the most notable and necessary website feature, in terms of the digital era we live in now. There is no better way to instantly lose website visitors than if your website is confusing, devoid of direction, and lacking key info.
Let’s step into the real world for a second again. Place yourself at the front of a large department store with a need to find a specific item. You enter and look up for the placards hanging from the ceiling to indicate which aisle has which items. They’re not there. Immediately your shopping experience is negative.
So you go through each and every aisle. You’d ask for help, but there are no employees in sight to reach out to. After awhile, you finally find your item. Now it’s checkout time. Oh, what’s that? You can’t even find the registers. Forget this. It’s too frustrating, so you just find somewhere else that’s easier to navigate.
Now apply the same principles to a website. You want something from a marketing agency—let’s say lead generation help—and you enter the website hoping to find if they can help. Instead, you can’t find anything. There’s information in there about lead generation, but you just can’t find it.
Maybe you can find someone to help? While it would be nice to have a ‘Live Chat’ or ‘Contact Us’ option, those, too, are nowhere in sight. After awhile, you get frustrated and leave to find a marketing agency that can actually cater to your needs.
Had your website been organized, helpful, easily navigable, and accessible, you wouldn’t have lost that potential client. This is the first step people are taking in this sort of territory and having them meet an inaccessible, confusing website is the worst possible scenario.
Make everything as clear as possible. In laymen’s terms, idiot-proof it. Ensure everything is right where it needs to be found and can easily be accessed. Place your contact information right at the top of your page so it’s the first thing they see. Have a search box available. Implement a live chat that pops up at the bottom of the screen. Give visitors a clear call-to-action button.
However you design it, just keep it simple and ensure it’s organized. The same goes for mobile, where “over 38% of web traffic now comes from”. That percentage may not seem like much, but it would be foolish to alienate four out of every ten visitors to your page because you’re not mobile optimized.
Once you have your layout setup and organized, you can begin the fun, and my favorite, part: Writing the copy.
Revisit what I said in the first paragraph: “You have less than 10 seconds to impress and engage a new visitor to your website.”
That quote applies to copy as much as it does your layout. You need to address what your business specializes in and it needs to be done in a dynamic way that’s going to get attention. Of course, this goes back to your layout. Copy can be stimulating, but layouts are the first thing people are going to notice.
Take for example our very own One Twelfth website. We capture the attention of our visitors immediately. The copy we place is concise, but it’s on a slideshow featuring several dynamic, interesting images that shifts every few seconds to the next one.
It’s quick. It’s efficient. It’s simple. You don’t want a wall of words as the first thing your visitors see. Making a creative, striking layout with branding and a basic readout of what your business serves does pass the test. However, you always want to offer your reader something that’s really going to capture their attention like, for instance, a slideshow.
Your website’s copy needs to consist of everything you can do in the most efficient way possible. But before even writing that copy, first create an outline and a flow that will effectively demonstrate your company’s services. Nail down all the pages you’ll be creating and what each will consist of, as well as which you think are the most important to your reader.
In the same way a retail business will showcase its best sellers at the top of its page, an agency can put its top services at the highest pedestal.
You want to separate yourself from the pack and there’s no better way to do this than through your copy. This is the opportunity to inject personality into your brand. That means avoiding common buzzwords you’d expect every other brand in your industry would use. It doesn’t mean to avoid them altogether, just not to harp on them continually.
Instead, have fun with it! Unless your brand is already well established and known, you have to find a way to stand out to convince clients to hire you. Here’s an explanation on how it works:
“People trust brands they know. If the voice of your website copy is bland, boring or cold you’re missing out on that magic connection. Use your personality to build that connection and draw people into what you’re talking about.”
That first point really rings true. It’s far more likely if you provide potential clients with transparency, as opposed to relying on the crutch of sterile information and cliché buzzwords, that you’re going to build a mini-relationship right then and there.
Plus, it gets them a little more intrigued. Again, you’re doing everything you can to stand out while still maintaining professionalism. You need to be informative and professional, but also instilling that unique personality only you can provide.
Pull back the curtain a little bit for visitors to see just who they’re dealing with. Exhibit how cohesive of a team you are by displaying pictures of your team taking part in after work activities; showcase any charitable work you’ve done; show life inside the office.
Transparency has become huge in today’s social media age. People now more than ever want to see who they could be potentially working with, simply because they know you can provide that.
Once it’s all said and done, give it time to see how well it performs. Use tools like heat maps to see where people are clicking and where they’re scrolling. That way you can make adjustments to your page to optimize it. You’d be surprised just how simple adding a CTA button can increase conversions. We’ve made numerous observations at our agency, when checking on a client’s website, where visitors click around on a certain space thinking it’ll redirect them to another page, only to leave disappointed.
And if you need any help doing this, I know of a certain marketing agency that specializes in website copy and design. Maybe you’ve heard of them.