As a business owner, you know your business inside and out. In fact, your products and services, and how they can potentially help people, are things you know so well that you probably don't give them much thought. When it comes to your website, though, it's important to realize that what may seem obvious to you may not be so obvious to someone who visits you online.
People come to your website with some type of life situation. Whether they've just moved, or are about to move, they're getting married, going out to dinner, or a plumbing fixture just broke, they want to know whether your business has the answer to their life situation. They don't just want information about your products and services. They want to know if you're the kind of vendor who's going to be able to do what they need done, when they need it, in the way they need it done. Your story as a vendor needs to match up to their story as a person to get them to call or contact you. And it's not just information they are scrutinizing; people are evaluating other signals about your company in order to determine whether you are the KIND of vendor they want in their life - and those decisions are made in a fraction of a second when they land on your website.
You convey these messages to your website visitors in several different ways that all need to work together. It isn't just one thing; it all of the individual things, both each on its own, and how they all work together, in order to convey the right message. Let's walk through some of these things.
As soon as new site visitors arrive at your website the first thing they need to know, before anything else, is what you do, and you convey this in two primary ways.
Your page title doesn't just say who you are; it tells people what you do. For example, you wouldn't want to just say "Raleigh UCM, LLC". Instead, you go with something like, "Raleigh UCM LLC - Custom Home Builder". Always use plain English rather than any industry technical terms, unless your normal customer is highly technical and knowledgeable in your field and that's who you primarily market to.
Your title is very important to the search engines in determining your search ranking for different terms, so it needs to both have proper SEO quality while also engaging a visitor's interest. This is part art and part science to put them together.
You want an image on your website to quickly capture the essence of what you can do for your customers, or how you can help them. In practice, I see this done several ways, but I recommend some of them over others. Let's walk through them, and I'll explain my thoughts about each.
1. The End Result. This type of images displays the end result that you give your customers, whether it's a beautiful lawn, a gorgeous house, or delicious mouth-watering food. This is my #1 top recommendation for the first picture that a visitor to your website should see.
2. The Emergency. Sometimes people have a real crisis on their hands, such as an exploding faucet. A picture that captures the essence of their disaster can help convey that you're the right one to help. A picture of this sort also needs to be accompanied by language that speaks to your being able to address it and restore peace and order back to their life.
3. The Work. This type of picture conveys someone actually doing the type of work you perform. I think these type of pictures are very useful in parts of your website, but I wouldn't make it the very thing your visitor sees. The last thing you want to do is show them a bunch of pictures that will create angst over their house being turned into a disaster zone, even if it's just temporary while you're doing the job. That's because you aren't selling work; you're selling results. Save pictures of this sort for interior pages where you talk about your work processes, and accompany them by re-assuring language.
Your tagline helps convey what you're about - the mission or character of your company. What makes a good tagline is a little beyond the scope of this article, but it can make a difference in the mind of your website visitor. It also has SEO value.
You want to quickly convey the essence of what you have to offer. This is one of the first things that's going to catch their eye, so it's important real estate on your website. You want it to resonate with them enough to make them want to read more about you.
Just as the point of the main heading is to capture your visitor's interest and prompt them to read a bit further, the same thing is true of the very first sentence - and paragraph - on any of your pages. A bit of mystery or intrigue can work, depending on your website and services, but you need to simultaneously provoke their curiosity while creating resonance between your story and theirs. In other words, you need to sell them on the idea that you can help, and get them to read further.
The biggest trick to engaging content is not talking about all the technical details of your services, equipment, or capabilities. You want to have such information available, but you don't want to stick it in their faces. Rather, you want to talk about results and how what you can do can help with the story of their life. For example, if you're a wedding planner, they don't just want a cake and a dress. They want a smooth, peaceful and well-coordinated wedding experience. This exact same idea applies to any other trade or service.
I outlined above a few considerations for a small business owner on content for their website. Most people decide in less than a second whether or not they want to read any further into your website based on whether the things they see and read are what they're looking for. You have to tie all of the pieces together so that you can capture your visitor's interest enough to get them to call or contact you. I tried to give you some solid principles to go by, but there's a lot more to it than I layed out in this article. If you aren't getting the results you need from your website, it might be time to get help.