This is a guest post by the lovely yet quirky Jess, aka Jessilicious with her take on the importance of an eye-pleasing, action-inducing website.
She offers tips to help you spruce up your little slice of cyber real estate and put it to work for you, instead of allowing it to work against you. Make her feel welcome by dropping your comments in the comment area below this post.
Your website can be a great tool to help you build your business and your brand. It is essentially your storefront on the Internet, and it’s open 24/7 whether you’re there or not!
But you want your website to really work for you and attract your ideal customers to you. You don’t want it to just sit there collecting cyber-dust and doing absolutely nothing to grow your business.
You need a website that is truly irresistible to your Right People. That draws them in and makes them want to know more, to hang around and learn from you. And to ultimately want to give you money.
Here are 5 steps that you can take to make your website irresistible this year, to really put it to work for you.
1. Identify Your Audience
Before your website can be irresistible to anyone, you need to know who you want it to be irresistible to. You need to identify who your audience is and what they are coming to your website for.
First, look at who they are.
- Are they busy moms?
- Cattle farmers?
- Small business owners?
Describe them in terms of age, occupation, family, lifestyle, interests, and so on. Figure out who they are and what they are all about.
Next, look at what they are coming to your website for.
- Do they have a specific problem or frustration they are looking for a solution for?
- Do they have a question they are asking and looking for an answer to?
- What is bringing them to your website?
- And what is the solution that they will find on your website?
Now write that all out in one summary – who they are and what they are looking for. Keep this top of mind as you move on to the other steps.
2. Choose One Most Important Action
With that visitor you just described in mind, decide what ONE action you want them to take when they first visit your website.
- Do you want them to sign up for your free offer?
- Do you want them to book an appointment for a complimentary consultation?
- Do you want them to purchase one of your products?
- Do you want them to leave you a comment?
Pick the one most important action that you want them to take. Now focus your website on that.
If you want them to sign up for your free offer, make that sign up box prominent, easy to spot and easy to fill out. Make it pretty. Format the text nice. Use pretty graphics. And make sure your Submit button says something other than “Submit”, “Subscribe” or “Sign Up”. Craft a catchy headline and describe your offer in a way that is appealing to your audience. Tell them exactly how this offer will help to solve their problem.
If you want them to book an appointment for a free consultation, make that offer prominent and easy to act on. Have them fill out an easy form to send to you. Or if you have them send an email or call you, tell them exactly what to say so that they aren’t wondering. Tell them exactly what the consultation will cover and what they can expect. Make it as safe and easy as possible for them to take action.
If you want them to buy a product, again make it prominent and appealing. Make it one of the first things they see on that page – either the product itself or something pointing them to the product.
If you want them to leave you a comment, then ask them to and make the comment form easy to find and to use.
Whatever your most important action is, make it clear, obvious, appealing and easy for them to take action.
3. De-Clutter Your Website – Especially that Sidebar!
You’ve got your one important action, now remove everything that distracts from that action. Clean up your sidebar and remove all of the unnecessary widgets from it.
- Do you really need all those badges for the blogging clubs you’re in?
- Could you put those on a separate page on your site instead?
- What else can you clean up from the sidebar or the rest of your site?
Look at it from your visitor’s point of view and notice what elements distract them from taking that action you most want them to take. If it’s a distraction, then it’s diluting the effectiveness of your website and taking people away from the one thing you most want them to do.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have stuff in your sidebar or on your webpage. Just be very conscious of what you’re putting there and how it affects the goal of your site. If it doesn’t help to achieve that goal, then get rid of it.
4. Prepare Juicy Content
Now that you have your one most important action identified and your website set up to support that, it’s time to focus on preparing juicy content for your website. You want people to keep coming back to your site, even after they’ve taken that first initial action. You want them to have a chance to get to know you, to build a relationship.
And for those people who have not yet taken your one most important action, you want to continue to draw them in, to provide something that they want more of, so that eventually they will be ready to take action.
- How can you provide content that helps your audience with that problem or frustration that they are coming to you for a solution to?
- Are there some quick tips that you can write a blog post about?
- Can you share some case studies or testimonials from others that you have helped?
- Can you write a quick how-to to help them take the first step toward the solution?
If you offer products or services through your website, make sure that the content you write to describe those is juicy and tells people exactly what that product or service will do for them.
Wherever you are putting content on your website – whether it is your blog, product pages, about page or anywhere else – make sure that you are keeping in mind who your audience is and what they are coming to you for. Build your content around helping them to find that solution or answer they need. Write it in such a way that it draws them in for more. Give them a taste of what it’s like to work with you so that they will want more!
5. Beautify Your Website
The next step is to make your website look great. This can be as simple as just changing your WordPress theme to something a little more unique, something that is more your style and more appealing to your audience. Or you might want to have a complete website makeover done and hire an expert to help you with that.
The key is to do something. Don’t just put it off and wait because you don’t think you can afford it or aren’t sure how to do it. Do what you can with what you’ve got. There are tons of free WordPress themes that are easy to install, and you can surely find one that suits your style. Make it even more irresistible by having someone customize the header for you to make the theme unique to you and your business.
And if your website is already looking pretty great, then just do a quick review to make sure that everything is working properly and looking just right. Do a few tweaks here and there as needed. Don’t just assume that it’s all good. Consciously do that review to check in.
Just taking these 5 steps will make your website far more irresistible in 2011, and you will be amazed at the difference you will see. Your website will be actually working for you, instead of just taking up space and causing you worry and you will love being able to attract more of your Right People.
There you have it folks… so how’s your website stack up against Jess’s recommendations? Do you have some room for improvement? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and if you found this post useful, please be sure to share it with your friends.