15 November 2013, by A. Cedilla
In our global virtual reality, your website is your presence on the net. You may have your picture in your “About” page, but the overall impression of you will be what the overall impression of your website leaves.
In connection with your chosen market, what they see will be who you are in their heads. Making your site look professional is only the first step to cementing images and impressions in the public eye of professionalism and trustworthiness.
Visitors, followers, members, customers are the lifeblood of any online business, and so it’s only SOP to watch the numbers connected to them: sign-up rates, opt-out rates, etc. If you notice that your readership’s dropping off, or your sign-up rates aren’t improving, it’s up to you to identify why it’s happening, and to think up things you can do to get more people to join your team.
Of course, you’ll need a professional website. A navigable, welcoming website.
Just like brick and mortar stores, there are places where you can spend hours just browsing, and then there are those that have you doing a fast in-and-out. And just like physical stores, you want more people to visit, to buy your stuff, to come back often and to look around. You want your business to keep going, you need to get interest, keep interest, and keep selling.
Don’t push. Lets face it, spam is like porn — you know it when you see it. And anything that even hints of spam — the pushy hard sell, the uh-maazing bonuses– can push people into taking one look and leaving a site. If you want a site that sells, it doesn’t have to scream that purpose out immediately. People don’t like being pushed.
Think of it this way. You have bookmarked favorite sites that appealed to you, right? They appealed to your need for information, and are probably smoothly designed for function and speedy loading, and they give you what you want without much fuss or asking for information. They’re easy to navigate, provide tons of fascinating information, and they function reliably.
Contrast this with busy websites that pull out all the stops to advertising, but leave you feeling overwhelmed with pop-ups, tricky drop-downs, and complicated navigation. Picking a favorite website takes more than clicking on the shiny — you have a favorite because you keep coming back to it.
Now flip it around, and this time you own the website. It’s not enough to provide bright colors or pretty moving ads. Your website is your platform for communication, promotion and enterprise on the internet. You have to step up your game to keep relevant to your market’s interests, and you can certainly do so by following the tips below.
Make it easy to browse. A pretty website also needs to be a well-planned one. Design it to be easy to navigate, easy on the eyes and not cluttered with things that would interrupt the browsing experience with awkward pop-ups, massive ads and pushy copy.
Share quality content. Do you have anything important you want to share with your market? People visit for new things, they stay if it’s worth their while, and good content is an excellent hook to keep them coming back.
Providing fresh, high-quality content and engaging in conversation with the members of your market, responding to feedback and helping them with their issues…there are numerous ways to create content and keep market interest current. When you’ve found the best ways to engage and keep your market audience, use them to keep your relationship healthy and reciprocal.
Give them the option to get in touch. Ever wondered who was the person behind the site? Maybe you just want to drop a note of appreciation, or discuss a point from a recent article, or even ask for some pointers?
Contact information should be easy to find on your site, usually in the ‘About’ form or the ‘Contact Us’ page — people wanting to get in touch with you is a good thing, it means they have something to say and share about you and your work, so providing this information is the starting ground for good relationships and a good user experience.
Make it easy to find things on your site. While great content is a must, finding specific content can be a drag without a good on-site, in-site search function. Speed is part of a good user experience, and speedy results from an internal search function helps out a lot in making sure visitors have a reason to keep browsing. Test your content tags and keywords extensively to make sure that visitors get all the help they’re looking for.
Social media is here to stay, so learn to use it wisely. The world isn’t getting any bigger, and technology has made it that much easier to connect people — even if you prefer to be on the quiet side of the spectrum.
Social media isn’t only for you, it’s for your customers so they can meet and talk to each other as well, sharing experience and helpful tips if needed. There are many ways to communicate with each other now, and enterprises have to adjust to be able to meet and connect with customers on their own terms, so listing your social media contacts on your site is a helpful way of showing your willingness to be available.
Testimonials are still a great way to garner confidence in your service. They’re proof that visitors have bought from you and have been wowwed by your product, and that they aren’t shy about saying so.
People can relate to such “word-of-mouth” reviews and often these reviews can be enough to tip them over from indecision to commitment. Testimonials say that people trust you for the quality of the things that your provide.
A blog is a great way to establish and strengthen communication between you and your readers — it provide a place to ask and answer questions and get feedback. Putting faces and personalities to the people behind your enterprise makes it easier for people to relate — which is better for promotion, market research and feedback, and share.
Try to look at your site from the other side of the table. You may think you know where everything is, but check it out.
- Time your processes. How many clicks to get from the main page to find a product? How many clicks and fields from selection to checkout?
- If you want to send an email to yourself via the website, where do you do so, and how fast can you find it? Test it; does it work? Do you have a system thanking them for their input and any assurance of a reply?
- Is the content easy to read? Are the colors you use an assault on the eyes, or cool enough to soothe peepers probably already strained from hours online?
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