Your website is your storefront. In many cases it provides a prospect’s first impression of your company. You know what they say about first impressions; you can only make one and it better count. The good news is that keeping in mind a few fundamentals and making a few simple tweaks to your website can take it from bland to brilliant to booming 27/7 marketing machine. You can create a website that attracts visitors, converts clients, and helps you build a prosperous and exciting business.
1. Invitation To Friend/Follow On Social Media
Social media is more than a trend or a tactic that you can use to build an audience. It’s as essential for most industries as a website itself. And merely having a social media “presence” isn’t enough; you have to let people know you’re active on social media by inviting them to interact.
There are many ways to accomplish this; one of the simplest is to extend an invitation – “Follow me on Facebook,” for example, and include a link to your page.
2. Professional Quality Logo/Header
The world of Internet marketing is vast and competitive. While you can create your own blog header, you should probably leave it to the professionals unless you happen to be a design whiz. Make an investment in your brand and your business by creating a strong and relevant header and logo to represent your business.
3. Easy To Navigate
Make sure your visitors can find their way around your website quickly and easily. If you’re uncertain about how to accomplish this, then study websites that you visit often. Notice how they guide you through the site. Do they provide relevant and easy to recognize navigation tabs? Does the flow of the site seem logical? Is there a search function so you can head directly to the page or information you’re looking for?
4. Interaction / Comments
Does your website invite visitors to comment on your articles and blog posts? One of the best ways to not only measure engagement, but to also create it, is to take a look at the level of interaction on your site. With WordPress you can turn comments on and off and you can allow comments for a specific period of time.
Some business owners choose to not allow comments, but if you don’t then you may be selling your visitors short. Engage them in conversation and invite interaction and comments. You’ll not only learn a lot about your audience, you’ll help build a loyal community of customers.
Another option is to include Facebook comments. That way the conversation on your blog is continued on Facebook, where more people are likely to see and interact.
5. Social Bookmarking
Social bookmarking not only adds value to your visitors and prospects, it also helps boost your traffic and brand awareness. By adding a social bookmarking function to your site, your visitors can bookmark using the bookmarking service of their choice. There are several top quality WordPress plugins that make social bookmarking easy. You can add buttons for the primary sites like Reddit and Pinterest. When someone bookmarks your site it’s added to their account, where other users can browse and share. Be sure you’re featuring the bookmarking sites that appeal most to your audience.
6. Fresh and Catchy Content
The single most important thing you can do to transform from bland to brilliant is to create the best content possible. Fresh content means that your content is recent and it’s topical.
You’re not creating content about something that happened five years ago or even five months ago. You’re creating content about what’s going on right now. And catchy content varies depending on your niche and your audience.
The most important thing to remember when contemplating what makes something catchy is what voice and style you want to communicate to your readers. Are you serious? Funny? Controversial? What makes your content interesting, different, and valuable to your reader?
7. Archives With Clearly Distinguishable Keywords
This function is particularly important if you have a blog or other WordPress based website. Make finding information easy for your visitors by creating archives. Archives are essentially directories for old content.
No one wants to search through page after page of old content just to find something they’re looking for. They want to be able to find what they need with a few clicks of their mouse. Use keywords that accurately describe the subject of the content to organize your archives.
8. Search Field
It doesn’t matter what the foundation is for your website – Joomla or WordPress or anything in between – it is important to make it fully usable by anyone who visits. One of the simple tools you can use to make this happen is a simple search field. It was briefly mentioned in Item #3 above, where navigation was discussed. There are different search tools you can use.
For example, Custom Search Plugin is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create custom searches. Maybe you want people to be able to search for quotes or tips on your site. You can use this tool to add functionality to your website and to help separate your business site from your competition.
9. Inquiry Form
What do you want people to do when they’re at your site and they have a question? You might already have a FAQ page (hopefully you do), but what if the answer to a visitor’s question isn’t on that page? Ideally, you want your visitor to be able to reach out and ask their question. This keeps them engaged and connected to your business.
To make this happen, it has to be easy for them to contact you. One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is to have a contact form or an inquiry form on your site. They enter their email address, subject line, and ask their question. You or your customer service assistant receives the message and can promptly respond.
10. FAQ Page
FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions. Including an FAQ page on your website helps make it more user friendly. Create a list of the most common questions you receive and turn it into a separate page on your site. Make sure that like all your other valuable pages, this FAQ page is easy to find and read. As you receive more questions, you can add to the page.
Also, consider occasionally linking to other important internal pages. This can accomplish two things. It can help keep your visitor on your website longer. And it can help boost the rankings for the page you’re linking to.
When you’re creating your FAQ content remember to make it valuable and easy to understand, and don’t forget to include your unique voice in the content. If you’re witty when you create blog posts then be witty when you create your FAQ page. Consistency helps strengthen your brand.
Pam Perry is the founder of Digital Business Acceleration and the publisher of Speakers magazine.
She is a pioneer in ministry marketing and online publicity (PR 2.0). She has been featured in over 200 radio, TV and print publications and her clients have garnered the same. Recently named National Association of Business Women (NAWBO) Top 10 Michigan Business Women for the “Words of Wisdom” award. She loves mentoring aspiring publicists.