Whether you are redesigning your website, or trying your hardest to keep it updated and relevant to your audience, your work will always come down to content and design.
You might have some design elements to shift around a bit. Maybe you want to do a little A/B testing to see how people respond when your big content offer has new imagery or color. Design tweaks can go a long way in enhancing the effectiveness of your site.
Your content, however, is the true powerhouse of your site. It keeps going after your office has closed its doors for the day, always educating your audience about your business and the solutions you can provide them.
Despite its importance, content can sometimes be overlooked, or worse, it can be one long, wordy declaration to how amazing your company is.
Not long ago, our very own Quinn Tanner wrote a bold blog on why you shouldn’t blog about yourself. Now, I would like to show you why you should never focus your company’s website on your company alone.
Because, in the end, it’s all about your audience.
Your Website Isn’t Your Biography
A website isn’t a brochure, and it should definitely not be centered all on your company and nothing else. Or at least it shouldn’t if you want it to be successful. And your website is definitely not a book in that you never want to leave out the most important information for last. Give your audience the good stuff right away, and don’t make them dig for it.
This is 1000% true for your homepage, above all other pages.
It takes only .05 seconds for a visitor to form an opinion about your site – and your company. Knowing that, why wouldn’t you optimize your website – especially your homepage – to get straight to the point?
Don’t waste time overwhelming your audience with facts and history lessons. Tell them why they bothered to come to your site. Tell them you have a solution to their problem – you have an offer worth their time.
Smashing Magazine has a fantastic article that talks about this and other ways that your web content is failing. Their suggestion is setting word limits. For instance, if you are trying to promote your latest product, rather than writing a list of the product’s features, just pick one or two key features, write a few words on the benefits, and then create a more elaborate explanation of the experience.
Because, in all of this, the feature is just a fact about the product, the benefit just shows why this fact makes the product great, but the experience is why your audience needs it right now to solve their own problem.
If you were planning on writing your company’s memoir on the site, think again. It pays to consider your audience personas and their needs.
Your Website Is How You Attract Leads
Give your audience what they are looking for – what they need. Help them to find the solutions to their problems.
You know who your audience is, so you should know what they want. Always create website content with your personas in mind. This will greatly affect the copy you create, as well as the overall layout and hierarchy of your site.
Maybe you need categories on your site to fit your personas, letting them know exactly where they can find the info they seek. Perhaps you need to cut that paragraph about cloud-computing in half. Your visitors will probably be skimming your site for pertinent information, so get right to the point.
KISSMetrics has some great tips on what makes for great content, but I love what they write on creating content that provides answers: “When people use a search engine, what they ultimately want is an answer, and it’s the search engine’s job to deliver that answer.”
Likewise, once they’ve Googled you and have found a link to your site, they are wondering how you could answer their question. And if you don’t give them what they want, they will simply go elsewhere for answers.
Once you begin to center your content around your audience, you are no longer just stealing the spotlight for yourself but are shining it back at visitors and how you can help them.
So, When Can I Talk About My Company?
Okay, yes, there are times when it’s okay to talk about yourself. But it’s all about moderation.
Yes, you should celebrate that award your company just earned. Here’s to our own clients who have been selected as Readers Choice winners for the Capital Gazette! And yes, people do want to read great testimonials and case studies. It’s not a bad thing to show your credibility and accreditation, just be careful that you don’t make it all about you.
Testimonials are good in that they show off your company, while also showcasing your clients. “About Us” or “Our Team” pages show the great people behind the brick walls of the company. And for those visitors who like digging around for company history, it’s nice to have a blurb about how your business came to be.
Just be mindful of not overwhelming visitors with info they might not have come looking for. Your business’ mission statement might not be best for the homepage, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be on your site. All in all, make your audience your focus. Just as with good SEO, put your personas at the forefront of your content creation and all good things will follow.
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