If you’ve been cruising the information superhighway of late, then you’ve most likely come across some websites (other than the usual social distractions) that you immediately engage with, or instantly bounce right away from. So, what makes a website sticky? What is it that turns window-shoppers into browsers, and browsers into engaged and curious people who may become a part of your extended community?
Websites are your agent. Authors of ‘Trust Agents’, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith stated that, “The web is like your Hollywood agent: it speaks for you when you’re not around to comment”.
How is your website currently speaking for your service or product?
I had to sack my agent. My website wasn’t sticky, it wasn’t representing who I was or what I was about. It didn’t support my brand. It wasn’t me.
You see, when I first started freelancing to festivals and collaborating on small business gigs, like many people starting out with gusto and enthusiasm I quickly applied for my ABN, registered my business name, and away I went. Being a brand new business, I had no budget. So, with the help of someone that was more tech-inclined than myself, I pulled together a very two-dimensional website as a go-to for info on Flying Fox Marketing.
As my business steadily grew, and as I was taking my clients through website overhauls, crafting brands and advising them on how to best build relationships with prospective customers, it became glaringly obvious that I wasn’t walking my talk. I was the landscape gardener with a mound of dirt and weeds in the front yard, the unfit personal trainer, and the carpenter with no tools. I was finding myself saying to clients “but, don’t look at my site as an example of this”.
Essentially, my website was damaging my brand. It was time for my rebrand and website overhaul. Lordy, was it fun! Hands down, a rebrand is my most favorite project to work on. Like all solo-flying businesses, I had spent some time building my own community of like-minded experts who I could partner with for my own work, and for the work of my clients. So without further ado, my ahhh-mazing graphic designer and web designer (also known as web-dude) and I got to work on re-establishing my brand and online agent.
The branding process is incredibly important, and establishing who you are and what you stand for, who you are conversing with and which platforms to do so on (has been discussed here) and is a powerful process and important step when establishing your brand. Ensuring that your website then communicates this to your online visitors to encourage them to stay for a cup of tea, is paramount.
Personally, I love a website that is clean, easy to navigate, makes sense, tells me what the brand stands for, allows me to stalk their products and service, has some pretty pictures, allows me to read praise about the offering, and adds value by giving me information.
Are you in the market for a new agent?
If so, here are my top ten tips for establishing the most effective web presence for your business:
1. Ensure your content communicates WHAT you do (your product or service), WHO you are, WHY you do what you do, and HOW you can service other people’s needs.
2. Have images that explain the above… As we know, A Picture Tells a Thousand Words!
3. Don’t send prospects on a treasure hunt – ensure your site is easy to navigate.
4. Keep it sticky! Remove social media icons from the top of the page and relocate them elsewhere – these seemingly insignificant little buttons are your one-way ticket to a high-bounce rate! You don’t want to send people AWAY from your page to those social distraction meccas.
5. Include second party praise – I want to read about your product or service from someone else’s perspective. Include those testimonials of trust.
6. Make sure the content is skimmable. People are time poor, and have super-short attention spans.
7. Want your site to rank higher in the eyes of Lord Google? Include keywords and searchable phrases in your content so that Google ranks you as a ‘trustworthy’ site. Yoast.com has sage advice on SEO.
8. Free stuff – that is actually helpful! Hell yes, I sign up to databases that give me free recipes, free templates and resources that can help me / my family / my business!
9. Kudos – Why is your product or your service superior? What experience do you have? Tell me a little bit about you.
10. The overarching element that floats my boat is that your site is friendly and warm (makes me want to settle in for an online meander with a cuppa) and boasts consistency and good grammar.
Remember that your website should primarily be your representation that helps to build trust, a rapport and a relationship that the real human on the other side of the computer screen can actually feel.
We go into great detail of how to structure your website and what your website goals are in the Master Your Marketing workshop, coming up soon on October 2. Check it out.