There are 3 things I think are a great thing to do for many small business websites. Some research on these things will be released by us in the coming months but for now here are three amazing strategies for making every small business website an effective one.
1. The Headline – Stop Them Skimming And Start Them Reading
If possible please try to avoid annoying and monotonous titles. You will never see a newspaper article with a boring title. Journalists take it pretty seriously; they know how important the heading is. Never think of having a heading that is boring.
Usually website owners seem to think a heading of ‘Welcome to [business name goes here]’ is sufficient. We tend to really encourage small business owners to have a title that engages visitors right from the beginning. Ask a question or state what makes you unique, or say something surprising or interesting.
You’ll need to be a little ingenious while also thinking about the time period for which this title could last and be beneficial. See our main site for an example https://www.webcircle.com.au/. Our heading (at the time of writing) is “Web Circle is a progressive agency with a relentless drive to discover and implement what works on the web. But what does work?” It informs people what we do, it will give a hint to our point of difference and it asks a query to engage the viewer and draw them towards the main content in the website – all in just 2 sentences – stop them skimming and start them reading and that way they may stay in your site for a long time to actually learn what you do and figure out that you might be an apt choice for whatever they are looking out for.
2. The greeting message –
There are many ways for doing this. You might not have a lengthy welcome message – for instance in our case we have a heading that includes the fundamentals of the welcome message and then we have the about us section further down. You may consider it’s suitable to have a more in depth welcome message. If you do, don’t forget to tell people the essentials of what you do, maybe where you are situated but do not stop there. There are 2 other things you have to incorporate:
1) What is it that makes you different
2) A call to action
Firstly what makes you different – your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), competitive advantage or various other consultant buzzwords. It is essential to say what you do – i.e. you sell widgets but it’s as vital perhaps a lot more important to talk about how you are different in ways that will engage potential viewers. Most people who look around for widget selling companies will land on your site as a result. The people would know completely well that you sell Widgets. But what is it about your business that will keep them on your website for a long time and think ‘yeah these guys sound really good’. This could be done in different ways, you will perhaps know from your clients or from the factors you started out your business in the first place exactly what you do really well and why your business achieved success. This is just what you need in here. Simply stating how you are different, ideally, in a way that will draw in the people you are trying to target is the key. Some ways could be to discuss your the past, your people, personal memories, everything that you think can add credibility in the eyes of your customers, any accomplishments, testimonials and anything that adds to your point of difference and builds the reliability of your business.
We (https://www.webcircle.com.au/) make use of the words ‘what actually works on the web’. We talk about “building websites that work” simply because we are specialists in knowing what actually works. We do not just build websites.
Secondly, a call to action is imperative. What do you want them to do? You have to be very clear as to where you want the visitor to go to. It might be to contact you, to download something, to buy something. It can be anything But Make It Clear. The last thing you want is an attracted visitor hoping to a different site because they have given up trying to work out how they can take the next step. I’ve done it plenty of times, there is only so much patience a person can have so make it easy.
Personalisation is extreamly essential for small business. When you are thinking on the lines of what makes your business different a lot of small businesses will find that it is you that make the business unique. It’s the personal relationship they have with their clients. It is their story, their history, their unique blend of skills. That’s why we advocate personalising as much as possible for most small business sites.
This is very effective mostly for the types of businesses that have a lot of in-person contact with their clients. People generally respond a lot better to a personal welcome message with images of real people. People love stories – they love success stories and small businesses love working with other small businesses.
We recently made few changes to our homepage, I uploaded my photo on the homepage and changed the ‘about us’ section to ‘The web circle story’. I also wrote half of the story on the homepage, I looked at the stats few weeks later and lots more people had visited the page and they were spending almost 3 times as long as the page – implying they were actually reading it not just clicking on it and skimming it and passing it off as another ‘about us’ page.
And that’s for my boring web design business! Assume if my story was indeed interesting! This is an simple method for separating yourself from other competitors because the majority people don’t make it – in fact a group of small businesses consciously make an effort to formulate themselves appear better than they truly are whatever the reason might be.
Bringing it completely together
We newly designed a site for Act2 Solutions who sell Actuarial Certificates. Check this post for various news on the site. It contains an engaging title that states just what they do (and how they are different – they are reasonable), a welcome message that focuses on how they are different, personalisation by using pictures of Andy along with a call to action telling prospects to download the forms.
Do feel free to post any comments or else examples of sites you come up with and your experiences with any of these ideas.