For businesses, social media is not just about having lots of ‘friends’ and followers. It’s about using the platforms to promote your business and encouraging people to visit your website so they can find out more and get in touch with you.
Once visitors get to your website do they find what they’re looking for? In other words, does the content of your website have the information they expect to find? Not just the right information, but also information in the right format. Is it also:
- Easy to understand?
- Easy to read?
- Well laid out?
Websites Can Fall Off the Rails
Most websites start out well, and can tick off everything in that list, but many sites fall off the rails somewhere along the line. They might still have a good looking banner and some nice pictures, but in every other respect they have lost their way. They’ve either never been updated, or have been updated so much they’ve become unwieldy, rambling and impossible to find the really important stuff. I’d like to use some analogies to illustrate what I mean.
First think about any glossy magazine you’ve ever bought. It’s nicely laid out, has lots of pretty photos good headings. That’s the style. Now if, despite the beautiful layout, the articles are full of fluff, will you buy that magazine again? Will you even bother to read the rest of the copy you already have? Probably not, because it doesn’t have substance.
Next think about the most badly laid out newsletter you’ve ever received. Pages full of dense text, not enough headings or paragraph breaks. You’re put off reading it just by the look of it.
Do either of these sound like your website?
Quick! Grab Your Readers’ Attention
On a website you have between 10 and 20 seconds to grab someone’s attention. What’s more, people reading online don’t actually read, they scan the pages. People only have time to read a quarter of the text on the pages that they visit.
So if your website is like a glossy magazine that looks good but doesn’t offer much value or it’s full of text, text, text, what’s to keep visitors reading?
Is it time to take a step back and look at your website? Ask yourself a few questions:
- What is the purpose of my website?
- Does it match my other promotional material in quality and content?
- Has it ever been updated, and if not, is the information still relevant?
- Has it become a dumping ground for information I think my customers need to know
- Do my customers really need to know all of that?
- Could I make the content more concise so people can find the key information more quickly?
Give Them What They’re Looking For
Remember that old term that arose in the 90s – information overload. We all know it hasn’t gone away -and it applies to websites too. People want information, they want to be able to find it quickly and they won’t muck around if they can’t find it.
Whatever the purpose of your website is, the measure if its success is if people actually do what your website intends for them to do. If you use Google Analytics, or get regular analytics reports from another source, start looking at these to see what they they tell you. How long to people spend on your website? What pages do they usually land on? Do they go to other pages or do they ‘bounce’ (leave the page they arrived on quickly and without going any further).
In summary, your website should:
- Have engaging content that is relevant to to your target market?
- Have text that is easy to skim read.
- Be easy for people to find the right information – that’s what you’ve led them to believe they’ll find
- Be easy for people to quickly find your phone number and contact details
It also needs to look appealing too, but at the end of the day people searching for information are usually in a hurry and need to find what you’re offering and what makes you stand out from your competitors. Give them style without substance and you’re not giving them what they need. Give them substance and you’ll have a much better chance of converting visitors into customers.
We’ve talked about Social Media and Search Engine rankings before. Increasingly they are important, but they are just the beginning of the story. The story continues on your website.
Leo Burnett, a creative advertising executive said this about advertising:
“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”
You are advertising your business on your website. Shouldn’t you follow his advice?