Your website: potentially the most powerful business tool you will arm yourself with. In today’s climate, your customers are everlastingly making their way to the Googles to see who or what will populate their search results. Upon discovering your little corner of the world wide web, your website becomes the piece of marketing collateral that will give your potential customers their first impression of you.
How does your website stand up to this challenge?
Even after paying a premium to have web developers update websites, adding in beautiful imagery, interactive parallax + responsive design elements and an on point call to action, more often than not I see entrepreneurs making the same fundamental mistakes with their websites time and time again.
Entrepreneurs tend to overlook the importance of connection.
It is a tough thing to do through a computer, I will be the first to admit. But in business, we purchase from people, businesses and brands that we feel connected to. The ability to form a connection with your potential customer needs to be among the single most important aspects of your website. Are you writing words on your web pages that resonate with him or her? Are you using images that would attract your potential customer? What about font styles and logo colours? What about the content of your blog posts? Does it speak directly to your potential customer? Or was it just a pretty theme choice? Are you writing your web pages as if you’re standing on a hilltop yelling out for whoever might be listening? (tip: don’t do that) or, are you writing as if you’re having an intimate chat over coffee with your well defined, ideal customer (tip: do this!).
Below I will outline 5 common mistakes, related to formulating a connection to your visitors, that I see people making on their websites.
1. The boring + salesy “About Me” page
This is not really a place to describe your product or service, AGAIN. This is instead, an opportunity for you to invite your potential customer into your world and formulate a deeper connection with you and/or your brand. One that is similar to the connection that you might make if you were meeting a person for the first time. Your ‘About Me’ section needs to be one that is inviting and engaging. A place where you can create a meaningful connection beyond the product and service that you have on offer. Pull people in, think about what you can say to make them want to be in your circle.
2. The emotionless, personality-less copy
Does your website inspire emotion? Does it make your visitor feel something? Or is it a very matter of fact display of what it is you’re selling: “This is my business, here are my products/services.” Your potential customers will be doing a lot of scrolling on any given day. How will you leave a lasting impression on them? How will you enable them to remember you after they’ve clicked the little ‘x’ on the top right of your page? Your brand needs to inspire emotion: make them laugh, make them love, make them feel warm and fuzzy, happy or grateful, make them see something zestful or unique. You want them to care enough about you to become your customer, right? How will you do that? How will you make them care? If you’re a wedding photographer, perhaps you’ll tell a love story? If you’re a massage therapist perhaps it’s a story of courage and physical recovery, if you’re a business coach, perhaps it’s your own inspiring story of where you were and how far you’ve come.
3. The fear of repelling visitors
You can not be all things to every site visitor. In fact, I hate to break it to you, but if you are, you’re doing a bad job. Attracting and repelling is a very powerful marketing effect in its own right because the more people you repel, the more room you have for attraction, and those you are attracting will become your raving fans! It is more important to spend time speaking directly to the people who are the right fit for your business than trying to communicate why you are the right fit for people that are just not going to get it. Please do your business a favour and don’t try to please those people, they are not going to like what you’re saying, your language, your images, your tone of voice or content subjects. This is A-OK. Actually, it is encouraged.
4. The same ol’ same ol’ content
You + your business are not static, nor should your website be, instead, our businesses are always evolving. We forget that as our businesses grow and change and evolve, so do our ideal clients and so do YOU! Your website, just like your business should be a growing, breathing business entity that is always changing, evolving and growing just as you, and your business does. Be sure to take the time to do “once-overs” on your portfolio every few months.
5. Not seeing for yourself
In business, we spend a lot of time in “assumption land.” That is the place where we assume we know what customers will like and how they will behave. Amiright? I mean, it’s kinda scary when you sit down and think about how as entrepreneurs our livelihood is based on a series of our own big fat assumptions. Obviously, we do our best to dig deep and hope that they are correct, and when they are not, we need to be darn good at course correcting. And guess what, designing a website is no different. We sit behind our computers, writing copy, choosing layouts, calls to action and images that we ASSUME will resonate with our ideal clients and will send them straight to the “BUY NOW” button. But how can we KNOW that our assumptions are correct? Well, many of us are lucky to have lovely backend analytics tools to help us uncover these truths. But, let’s take it to a simplified and more holistic level. I want you to conduct a “live navigation” study of your website, that is, I want you to watch someone navigate your website while you sit behind them and observe. Go ahead and pull up the homepage of your site and watch how your subject clicks through your website. Have them talk you through their navigation choices, and use your observations + their testimonies to fix some easy website mistakes you may be making.
Your website is a tool that allows you to speak directly to your ideal clients. This is so important. As you go through the web development process (or perhaps the web modification process), you need to always make sure that every decision you make when it comes to your design, your branding, your copy or the direction of your site in general, that you’re asking yourself, “does this speak to my ideal client?” and by speak I mean, intimately, the way you would over that cup of coffee.
Download my free guide to designing your dream website, [that people will actually read] and/or sign up for our weekend workshop where we will help you build and launch a new website in two days flat!