We sometimes take things for granted. I headed to Orlando today to speak at a conference on social media. At the airport, I stopped to take a picture of our plane that was outside the window. This million pound monstrosity lifts hundreds of people plus thousands of pounds of cargo off of the ground and gets us from point A to point B in a relatively short time (hundreds or sometimes thousands of miles away). However, the average traveler never thinks about how amazing this is. They think about the long TSA lines and the complicated process of travel. Do we do that same thing with our websites? Do we take them for granted?
Why Have A Website?
I have 18 websites, because I want specific messages to reach target audiences. To some, having 18 websites may sound excessive, however, I ask you, “Why do you have a website and what do you want it to do? What do you expect from it?”
So, you need to ask yourself “Why do I need a website?” If you have a website, you probably want to be heard and you want your content to be found. Some of you may say, “I don’t need a website, since I have a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page and/or a Twitter account”. Guess what? You do not own any of those. If FB, LinkedIn or Twitter decides one day to block you, because a picture you posted is deemed to be outside of their “14,000 word Acceptable Use Agreement”, then POOF your content is gone!
You need to have control of your own account to manage what content is a part of your business and brand online.
So then, what is the goal of your website? Do you want to sell more, build your email list, stay top of mind, rank number one on Google (we all want that)? If you are not sure of what exactly you want from your website, then how can you expect your visitors to know?
A Killer Website Is Like An Air Traffic Controller
Most websites just post their content (usually with a Copyright 2006 at the bottom) and expect the user to figure it out from there. All of those websites are floating out there with no direction, and they will crash into each other or the ground sooner or later. You need to be like an air traffic controller to guide people through the experience. Here are some tips:
- Stay Up To Date – Planes cannot fly without having routine maintenance (legally). It is the same with your website…it needs to be kept up to date. I have a calendar alert and an email sent to me every Saturday morning to remind me to update my websites (with 18 of them, it takes some mad skills and planning to keep them all updated). The key is to keep your website current and relevant, so it remains interesting to new visitors.
- You have 5-10 seconds…GO! – Your home page has to create an immediate, emotional connection with your audience. Too often the home page is all about the company, and it ignores the audience’s needs and wants. It should be there to solve a problem or answer a question. Make it THEM focused! Get them to click to the next page to get more information about their questions, or to find out how you can solve their problems or needs.
- Page 2 = Details – This is where you have a second chance to get it right. Too often, this page is littered with features and benefits, but these are not what your audience is looking for. They need to see how you can solve their problem fast, effectively and at a cost they can afford. If, and when, you do that, you have to guide them to take action. BUY NOW is not always the right answer. Sometimes, it will be “Learn More”, “Join Our List,” or “Call or Email Us.”
- Call To Action – What do you want people to do on your page? More importantly, the question is what do they want you to do for them on your page? You can’t assume that the audience will instinctively get it. Often, you have to make it clear by telling them or asking them to act. Then, make sure the call to action is not too invasive. If you are asking them for their fax number and their blood type, then you are going too far. Asking for their name and email is usually enough to get the conversation started.
- Define The End Game – If you are hoping to get email addresses, sales, Facebook likes and/or blood types from your website, landing pages or other Internet properties, make sure each one has a specific purpose. If you don’t know what you want from people who click on your website, how can you assume they will know what they want? If you make it simple and clear, it will be successful for both of you!
If you want to have a Killer Website, then you have to focus on what is important to your customers or potential customers. Keep them in mind with every decision you make and you will get the desired results.
I will leave you with one final thought…there has never been a website that is not ecommerce that has ever made a sale, because people make sales. So, in most instances, your goal should be to generate a phone call, an email, a text or some other type of connection on social media. The method used should be dictated by your customer.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!