With the internet having changed in a big way since it first caught fire over twenty years ago, it’s good to remember that making that all-important first impression online is no longer as easy as it once was to make your mark. What with the vast majority of people now actively using the internet fluently, this also means that there’s a huge amount of competition no matter what your field. However, providing you offer a quality and unique service, there are in fact a few common traits in successful homepages and professional web sites that generate both repeat visitors and even return custom!
The homepage is the key to the operation – getting this right is very much like getting across well in a job interview or at an important meeting for the first time – this is your projection to the world, to prospective visitors and even clients. Therefore, it’s a worthwhile cause to adopt a number of techniques that successful websites use to encourage and entice visitation and repeat business again and again.
The headline is crucial. Consider a newspaper headline or a movie tagline: they’re short, they’re snappy, and they sell a product within seconds. Your homepage headline needs to do the same. Dilute your service to a minimal number of words and focus on a straightforward and uncluttered description of what you offer in your sub-heading – this is where you can go into a little bit more detail, but don’t feel tempted to go overboard! Captivating attention is all you need at this stage.
Just as important to new and returning visitors is how easy on the eye and how user-friendly your homepage’s experience is. You need to keep your site navigation and page links clear and available at all times, preferably near the top of your main page or easily accessible further down. After all, people are less likely to revisit if your page is complicated or unclear – and remember that most people don’t like to ask for directions!
Ensure that you choose your images wisely – something relevant to your page and services, and unlikely to give a negative or impersonal feel. It’s important not to rely on stock photography too much for a homepage, and may be worth keeping matters minimal if you’re looking for an informal touch.
Calls to Action are essential for success in selling your services online – these are short but effective passages which invite your visitors to become customers which should be laid out two or three times throughout your webpage text. You don’t want to appear too sales-focused otherwise you may risk scaring some custom away – meaning that your content should remain focused on encouraging sales, while appealing to visitors in a manner which propels them to continue reading.
It’s also essential to make sure that you identify yourself in line with your competitors – what makes your service or website different to others out there? What are the main benefits of your service? Laying out clear benefits, unique or otherwise, will encourage visitors to become customers.
Many visitors and customers will also want to know your track record – have you provided a quality service to people in the past? What would your previous clients say about your service – were they satisfied? If so, why have they returned for more? Case studies and testimonials are a fantastic way of providing proof of your word and your quality of service, and you can even bolster this with links to social media if available – meaning that you can link to direct feedback and ‘likes’ left via Facebook, retweets via Twitter and so on, allowing people to see that you’ve cultivated a loyal following.
It’s essential to remember that your website content, particularly your homepage, should have an emphasis on informing and providing as much support as possible to potential customer before they feel comfortable to buy! Many people won’t necessarily want to jump straight into a sale before knowing all about you, the service you offer and why you are set apart from your competition – meaning that offering additional guides, supporting information, portfolios of work or even a special offer or two may bolster your campaign even further.
Building a website isn’t black and white if you’re looking to succeed against regular and talented competition – but there are tools and tricks of the trade which many successful website builders will recommend on each and every occasion. The above is just for starters – for a comprehensive and informal approach to building and tailoring a website that works for you and gets you seen by the people that need you the most, why not contact SEO Co-Pilot today – we’ll be happy to discuss your unique needs and wants at your convenience.