As a business owner, you probably know that you need a website to promote your business. These days, not just any website will do. In fact, a confusing website that is difficult to navigate can actually hurt your business more than if you don’t have a website at all!
As a small business owner, life can be hectic. You have so many things to do and there just aren’t enough hours in the day. You’ve probably heard about business branding and online reputation management, but perhaps you haven’t had the time to sit down and learn the details. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to quickly and easily improve your website.
Identify Your Target Audience
Make sure your target audience is clearly defined. Are you targeting small business owners? Stay at home moms? Doctors? Dentists? The people in each of these groups will have different hopes, fears, problems, and goals. If you want your website to be an effective marketing tool, you have to speak directly to your target audience.
Evaluate your current web content. Have you identified your target audience? Are you empathizing with them about their problems? Are you providing solutions? These are key questions to ask when creating compelling web content.
What Defines Your Brand?
Perhaps you haven’t taken the time to clearly define your brand. It may sound like an esoteric term, but defining your brand is actually quite simple.
Your brand is essentially your promise to your clients. It consists of your core values, mission statement, and what makes your business unique. What do you stand for? What will you deliver to your customers? Why choose your business instead of a competitor? Make sure you fully understand your brand before trying to convey it to your audience.
A simple trick you can use to get started with branding is to choose three adjectives that describe your brand. For example – Professional, Creative, and Reliable or Innovative, Cooperative, and Enthusiastic.
Now look at your web content. Are you clearly communicating your personal brand?
Clearly Communicate Your Message
Great, so you’ve identified your audience and you know what you want to say to them. Now you just have to figure out how to say it.
Keep your message brief, but complete. Break up your content using relevant headings and subheadings. Use bullet points to emphasize important pieces of information. The text on your website should be large and easy to read. Make sure your content is free of spelling, grammar, and syntax errors.
Evaluate your site navigation. This is important because visitors will quickly abandon a website that is confusing or difficult to navigate. Make sure you have a navigation bar across the top with clear titles for each section. You may also want to include side navigation bars on some pages.
Content should be organized and have a professional layout. Utilize internal linking to direct visitors to relevant pages. For example, if you mention your services page, link directly to it in the text.
When applicable, include a relevant call to action on the page. Ask visitors to fill out a form, buy a product, or contact you directly. Make sure your contact information is readily available on every page.
You can use your website to directly engage with your customers. I recommend starting a blog and posting updates at least weekly. You can make blog posts interactive by asking questions and inviting readers to comment. Reply to comments to keep the conversation going.
A blog is also a great way to promote your content. Be sure to include social media sharing buttons at the end of every post so visitors can share interesting content with their friends.
You can use e-newsletters to stay in touch with current, former, and prospective clients. I recommend sending out a newsletter at least once a month. Include valuable content in your newsletters that will attract new business.
Creating a professional looking website can be a daunting task. Perhaps you’re not the best writer. Maybe you know nothing about web design and don’t have the time to learn. That’s okay! There are plenty of professional services that can help you create compelling web content.
Many services are actually quite affordable. Regardless, your website is the foundation of your online marketing plan, so it’s a worthwhile investment.