What does it mean to freshen your small business website, and what are your in-budget options for accomplishing this task? Whether it needs just a little updating, or quite a bit of work, there are some simple tasks you can do now which will provide a more satisfying experience for your website visitors.
The following recently caught my eye:
“Stagnant websites simply can’t keep up in the continually evolving online world. Those that update often and experiment bravely with an eye to gorgeous, yet functional design are sure to grab visitors’ attention.”
Lets look at three simple steps you can take to make sure your website does not fall in with the “stagnant” crowd.
Tip 1: Update your “About Us” identity
It’s not uncommon to change staff, email address, even your phone number, and these changes should be reflected on your “About Us” page.
Jeff Haden of Inc.com writes,
“Which page of your website gets the most visitors? If you’re like most businesses, your About Us page is at or near the top of the list.
That’s great–unless you treat your About Us page as an afterthought.
After your site gets potential customers interested in your products or services, they naturally head to your About Us page — often within three to four clicks — to make sure your company is the right choice to provide those products and services. That’s why your About Us page is often your website’s make or break page.
Tip 2: Replace outdated, poor quality media
Many websites use stock photography, or original pictures taken years ago, and visitors will recognize over-used or out-dated media. If your website follows this pattern, then it may be time to replace those tired images with something fresh.
Unlike print media, where high resolution images are a requirement, website graphics are much more forgiving, and your simple digital camera or cell phone camera can be used for new images for your website. Set the camera on its high-quality setting (ie, settings which allow higher values for “pixel width” or “pixels/inch”). You’ll end up with larger image files, but this will allow your web developer to crop and resize the image as needed for your web page. If you have access to a professional photographer, help him get a good feel for your brand, then have him shoot photos of your office, staff, and/or products.
If a large part of your business is with first-time customers, make sure you have a high quality, eye-catching picture of your business from street view, and couple this with an interactive map on your website so people can find you, and will recognize your business when they get there.
If you are currently using video on your website, make certain it looks and sounds good. Increasing use of video on websites has helped raise user’s expectations, and old low-resolution or small size videos will detract rather than help. The same applies to the sound quality; if your visitor needs to strain to hear or understand the audio, then it needs to be removed or updated.
Tip 3: Add strong calls to action
If visitors are coming to your website but not becoming your customers, perhaps you need to add or update your “Calls to Action”. According to a brief entry on Wikipedia.com, a call to action is:
A call to action, or CTA, is a banner, button, or some type of graphic or text on a website meant to prompt a user to click it and continue down a conversion funnel.
Your challenge in maintaining a successful website is to: encourage visitors to come to your site, keep them on your site, and convince them to become a customer. There are several elements of natural human behavior which can be working against you meeting this challenge, and CTAs can help overcome these forces.
Here are a few suggestions on how you would incorporate calls to action in your marketing programs:
- Getting visitors to your site: include a QR code in all of your marketing materials. If you are a user of social media, include a link back to your website in your posts or tweets. The QR code and the social media links represent CTAs which make it much easier for user to take the step (the “action”) of navigating to your website.
- Keeping visitors on your website: use a CTA to coach visitors to explore your site more deeply so that they take the time needed to understand you, your business, and your products. This is especially true of “impulse visitors”, who may have found their way to your site accidentally, and now need to be convinced to stay around. Add a large eye-catching button labeled “See the pictures of our grand opening”.
- Convincing visitors to become customers: now that the visitor knows who you are, make it super simple for her to place the order. Rather than a plain text link suggesting the visitor “order now”, try adding a CTA image which outlines your 3-step ordering process and includes a prominent “Lets Get Started >>” button. On websites for mobile devices, a “Call Us Now” button which dials the phone is far more effective than just listing your phone number in plain text.
If you are interested in learning more about simple maintenance updates which can make your website more successful: