Once they find out that I know quite a bit about online communications I often get asked by small business owners to have a quick look at their website. Their primary concern seems to be that they don’t get anyone contacting them through the site. In most cases they have designed the website themselves, or had a family member/friend/work colleague/college student, build the site for them. And in nearly all of the websites I have looked at I notice BIG mistakes within the first two seconds.
The thing is…Designing and building an effective website is not a simple task. There’s a lot more to it than finding images on Google and writing about how good your product or service is. There are things like usability rules, using images that communicate the correct message, having written content that convinces, connects and converts, making sure that the content is optimised for search engine listings, and several other things that need to be correct if you want your website to do the business. There is however, one main thing that many of the websites I see fail to have, and that is a Call to Action.
The Call to Action
Without a call to action you probably won’t get the emails or phone calls that you were hoping your website would bring. The call to action is basically telling the site visitor what they should do. Without it you are leaving the audience wondering what do I need to-do next? We, humans, like to be informed how to do things. Imagine walking into a train station and there being no signs to tell you where to go to buy your tickets. You want things to be easy, you want to see the sign to the ticket office and when you get there you want to be told what to do in order to purchase a ticket. Simple as that. We like things to be simple, and that is why you MUST have a Call to Action on your website. The call to action can be many things, ‘Email for more details,’ Sign up Now for our latest offers,’ ‘ Call to make an appointment,’ ‘Buy Now,’ Whatever you want your website visitor to do, it needs to be there in-front of them, and needs to be easily understood. No Call to Action = No Calls!
The other thing I notice about many sites is the self proclaiming rubbish that fills up the content. The ‘ We are the number one supplier of…’ Or, ‘Welcome to our website,’ We are a steel manufacturing company based in…’ These self proclaiming passages of text are normally on the home page of the site, and often the first thing your audience will read. The fact is, it’s not normally the information your audience wants. What they want is the answer to there problem, and they want it NOW! Telling them how amazing your business is, or welcoming them to your website is a waste of their time, and a waste of yours. Get the information the visitor wants across as soon as possible, don’t put them off by adding information that they don’t need to know, of by making it hard for them to find what they want. Remember, it’s all about them, you, me…You know what I mean. Put your visitors needs first, if they want more information they will stay and read it.
Number One on Google Search
Every website owner wants to be in the number one place on Google search. You might think that it isn’t possible for your average website to make it to the top of Googles page, you would be wrong, as anyone with a little knowledge can get to be on top spot for a particular search.
The way that Google search works is that they (Google) rank websites on what they feel your site content is about. The more specific you about your subject are the better your site will rank.
Well, it’s a little more complex than that, but that is basically how it works. Google want their searches to be relevant to the keywords that the user has typed into the search box. The more relevant the search results, the better Google are doing their job. Your website is scanned by Google for relevant content and then is ranked against other sites. Google ranking is based on:
- Relevance of site content
- Credibility of the site
- The age of the site
- If the domain name is relevant to the content
- The domain name extension(.co.uk, .com, ,au, .cn)
- Relevant Headlines
- Duplicate content
There are many other factors that affect the ranking of site, many of them can be used to get your website ahead of the competition. It’s a complex problem that keeps web developers on their toes, and is something that you need to know about if you want to have a successful website. Success depending on what you want your website to do for you.
So, the tips for designing your own website are…
Write your content with your audience in mind. What are they visiting the website for? You need to decide this and then get the relevant information in front of them in SUPER QUICK TIME.
ALWAYS have a Call to ACTION. Your visitor wants to be told what they do next..email, phone, call, sign-up…Whatever it is tell them!
Do some research into Search engine Optimisation (SEO) If your website can’t be found then no one will visit it
I hope this has given you something to think about. Website design and development can be more complex than many people think. There’s more going on under the visible part of the site than you probably imagine. This is why you are better giving the task to someone who knows what can be done, it really isn’t as expensive as you think. A start up business website designed and developed by myself works out at just £250, plus a £10.50 fee for hosting registering the domain( Very limited offer.)
If you would like to know more about web design and online communications, then visit my personal blog at adeward.co.uk
Many thanks for reading