If it were easy to drive traffic to your website, everyone would be doing it.
And if the customer is always right, why do we keep doing things so wrong on our websites?
Last week, in part one of this blog, I wrote about the first nine of eighteen things every website visitor expects to see and experience on your website.
Today, in part two, I’m covering another nine things that will take your website from good to great.
After all, your website is, in many cases, your first shot at a good first impression.
There are 18 specific things you need to get right to meet minimum customer expectations.
Once you’ve implemented all eighteen tips, you will drive traffic to your website and, most importantly, get more sales.
One of the biggest mistakes I made when I first launched Tall Paul Marketing in 2017 was using cheesy stock images throughout my website.
Smiling, suited businesspeople shaking hands and giving a thumbs up, you know the types.
But they did nothing for my website.
I’d say they most likely hindered my website.
Well, because all of those stock images – no matter how realistic – weren’t of me or my business.
And website visitors could spot that quite quickly.
Contrast that to my website today, and you’ll notice the vast majority of images on each page are of a real human being.
They’re of an awkward looking, 6 foot 6 tall fella with questionable fashion choices.
But at least they’re real.
And as time goes on, more and more people visiting any company website want to see actual pictures of real people in the business.
Indeed, a recent study found that 27% of people say it’s important to use original videos and images of your products or services on your website.
Whether you’re a sole trader or CEO of a large company, arrange for a commercial photoshoot.
Need help choosing a local photographer or videographer?
Check out my blog 8 top-class Northern Ireland freelancers you need to know.
If you can include real customers in some images, too, that would be extra special.
Add videos to your website.
This can include professionally shot promotional videos or even those shot on your iPhone, for example, behind-the-scenes videos.
PS: Regularly update your images and videos; the dodgy 1998 pinstripe suit image of you mightn’t age well in 2021.
Question: If you could only promote your business one way, what way should it be?
Email seems like it belongs to the days where my parents cut off a Small Paul’s important MSN Messenger conversation so that they could use the landline phone.
But the passage of time hasn’t lessened the importance of email.
To illustrate this point, according to recent research, for every £1 you spend on email marketing; you’ll get a return of £42.
That’s a staggeringly high figure and one that obliterates almost every other kind of marketing strategy.
And customers love marketing emails, too – provided they’re done appropriately and with their consent.
Another recent study found that
As I write this, until the last month, I hadn’t sent out a newsletter in over a year.
That’s not because I don’t see the enormous value in it.
It’s more so out of laziness and my focus on blog content.
But, in case you’re wondering, Paul of Duty: Modern Marketing is now live, and you can sign up for it today.
And it’s packed full of marketing, copywriting and content tips.
I pinky promise, it won’t be as long as these blog posts.
But back on topic, email marketing is excellent.
In a recent study, 10% of people said a newsletter sign-up button is a valuable component of a company website.
Modern customers want to interact with brands and be a part of their journey.
When I worked in a local university, I sent out a weekly newsletter to over 3,000 students and another newsletter to over one thousand staff.
The open rates and response rates were insanely high.
They worked better than social media posts, PPC adverts, content marketing and video marketing.
Here’s why email marketing is so good:
As a result, it makes sense that customers expect to see a newsletter sign up button in a relatively prominent position on your website.
If they’re regular customers (fans) of your brand, they’ll be eager to find out more about your company.
Let’s use a random example.
A Northern Ireland tattoo business is thriving, with lots of regular clients and a long waiting list.
I’ve recently got a tattoo with them, and now I’m hooked; I’m already planning my next one.
I visit their website and sign up for their newsletter.
Over the following months, I receive a weekly newsletter packed full of exciting tattoo trends, recently completed tattoos for inspiration and a behind-the-scenes look at my new favourite tattoo studio.
Several months pass, and I’ve got a decent idea of the tattoo I want to get.
A notification pings on my phone, and I check my emails.
To my delight, my favourite tattoo studio has a special offer of 20% off your next tattoo.
I’m delighted. That special offer has made my decision; I’m booking a slot right now.
The takehome message is: Modern customers want to interact with brands and be a part of their journey.
If your email marketing is on point, you’ll build a database of warm leads and a loyal following.
Not too long ago, your homepage was the main page you had to get right.
The idea was that everybody visited the homepage first, so it needed to impress visitors.
And it had to explain what your business does and other valuable information.
But today, your homepage isn’t the most critical page.
That’s because website visitors don’t necessarily type in www.tallpaulmarketing.com into the address bar of their browser.
Let’s take my website, for example.
People visiting my website don’t always land on the homepage.
Instead, they’ve found me on Google or a post I shared on Social Media.
They’ve clicked straight through to a blog article or my services page.
But just because your homepage isn’t considered the most important anymore, that doesn’t mean it should be neglected.
That’s because most people still value a compelling homepage.
Yes, they might click on your website via a blog post or a Google search.
But if they’re keen to find out more, they’ll likely click on your homepage.
And your homepage needs to give the visitor a clear sense of what your company offers.
Ultimately, it’s worth ensuring that your website has a compelling homepage that includes everything you want your customer to know.
So, what should your homepage include?
The take-home message: Make sure your website has a compelling homepage that provides everything you want your customer to know.
Bill Gates once mused, “Content is king”.
And it’s true.
We’re drowning in content.
We open our phones and are attacked on Facebook newsfeeds with pictures and videos.
And we visit news websites and drown in a sea of content.
We open our emails and find dozens of emails trying to sell us this or encouraging us to do that.
It’s against that backdrop that creating high-quality content can help you stand out from all the noise.
You see, people don’t like being sold to.
But they value being educated, informed and entertained. So if that includes a little advertising, they’re happy with the trade-off.
Think about what your ideal customers want to read about.
For example, if yours is a maternity clothing business, you could create a series of blogs for new mothers.
Or, if yours is a hardware store, create blog or video tutorial content that teaches your customers how to do their own home DIY work.
Ultimately, if you understand your customer base, you can create quality content every week that is guaranteed to build a relationship between your company and customers.
PS: Creating high-quality, shareable, and engaging content can dramatically improve your Google search ranking. Websites that have a blog are shown to have 434% more indexed pages.
Each page on your website should use the same consistent tone and content.
For example, if you use a conversational tone and local slang on one page, all other pages should follow the same path.
When a customer visits your website, they should know within seconds who you are, what you do and most importantly, what they need to do next.
Think about it like this: when a customer visits your website, do you make it easy for them to understand your business and how it can benefit them?
And consistency means that visitors to your website should receive the same experience regardless of how they access your website.
In the modern era, we’re using smartphones, laptops, tablet devices, desktops and even smartwatches to access the internet, so make sure your website is consistent across all devices.
Another thing to think about in terms of consistency is how you communicate across every platform.
For example, if you’re hilarious on your social media platforms but write like a PhD candidate on your website, customers will notice the apparent disconnect quickly.
Consistency in tone and content will drive traffic to your website.
Your website should be safe and secure.
And you should value the privacy of your customer’s data.
Customers are more in control of – and aware of – their personal data than ever before.
GDPR legislation has made it an absolute necessity that every website ensures the safety and privacy of customers.
If you haven’t got one already, prioritise getting an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate.
SSL is an encrypted system that protects data privacy as the data is exchanged between a customer and your company website.
Here’s an excellent guide for beginners on SSL certificates.
PS: It’ll also improve your Google rankings too and drive traffic to your website.
Ensure there are clear Calls To Action on your website.
According to a recent study, 76% of consumers said the most important factor in a website’s design is “the website makes it easy for me to find what I want.“
Keep things simple.
If you want a customer to buy something or email you, include a visible button with the desired CTA, such as Buy Now, Learn More, and Sign Up.
You should include clear calls to action throughout your website.
Most people opt for a bright red or blue CTA button that is highly visible.
Three decades ago, most companies competed only with people in their own towns, villages and cities.
Nowadays, though, you’re competing against people in your country, in Europe and some cases, worldwide.
And it’s against that backdrop that you need to ensure your offers are compelling, visible and enough to make a website visitor become a customer.
Customers value personalised, timely offers and don’t want to spend too long finding them.
Think about running seasonal offers on your website, for example, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, St Patrick’s Day, July Holidays etc.
And think about a special sign up offer of a 10% discount on your first order or refer a friend to get 20% off your next order.
Did you know that 60% of consumers say that their go-to for simple enquiries is a digital self-serve tool, like a FAQ page on a website?
The website FAQ page is the second page they go to after the Home or Services pages for many people.
An FAQ section serves many essential functions.
Firstly, it lets your customers know in an easily digestible format clear guidance on your company’s processes.
For example, a parcel delivery company might include questions and answers on postal charges, customs declarations, tracking packages, etc.
You could also answer popular customer questions about how your company does things.
Secondly, a great FAQ section will save both you and your customer time.
If you get the same questions over email, Facebook or other social media platforms, keep a record of them and then add them to your FAQ section as you go along.
Finally, a comprehensive FAQ page is also great for SEO so expect a ranking boost on Google.
How we communicate with customers has been transformed in the last decade.
No longer is it acceptable to have a shop-front-style website that is never updated.
Customers expect every website they visit to make it simple to get the information they want as fast as possible.
As I’ve mentioned before, your website is never ‘complete’.
So as technology improves and trends emerge, it’s vital to ensure your website gets all the basics right.
Sure, there are hundreds of things we’d all like to add to our website.
However, simply by getting the 18 basics right that are included in this blog post and last week’s blog post, you’ll put yourself at a considerable advantage over your competitors.
After you’ve ensured all eighteen tips are implemented, you will drive traffic to your website.
Take off your company hat and start thinking like a customer.
Test your website and see if everything is easy to access, clear on how to purchase, fast-loading and personalised.
It’ll never be perfect, but then again, it doesn’t have to be.
Customers don’t want perfect; they want simple.
PS: If you like my content and find it helpful, you’ll LOVE my new weekly newsletter, Paul of Duty: Modern Marketing. It’ll be delivered right to your inbox every Friday afternoon.