"Nothing happens until somebody sells something," said Arthur “Red” Motley in Parade magazine back in 1930 and it is still true today. Selling is the foundation of your business. Nowadays, we hope that our websites will help us sell, but many of them are poorly dressed and, frankly, they talk funny, too.
Here are four simple things you can do to clean up your website and make it a power sales tool.
Know Thy Purpose
This could also be translated to: Have a clear call to action. If you know why you have a website, then you know what you’d like your customer to do. Imagine the series of steps, the clicks, you want the visitor to take. If you don’t know, they won’t either.
I hear this frequently from small-business owners: “Well, I just want them to click the ‘Buy’ button.” Welcome to the party. So does everyone else, but have you given them a reason and a path to follow.
Easy Site Navigation
A simple and elegantly designed site helps the reader understand that path. If you want to know if your navigation is working, then do some usability testing. You can find affordable tools online to track your visitors.
The second thing good navigation does is it tells Google that you have organized your site. You get points for that, by the way, and if you need more on making Google happy then you need to read Shelly Kramer’s post, "How To Design A Website That Google Likes."
Keep Your Content Simple
There’s a statistic floating around that you have only eight seconds to make a first impression on your website's visitors. Fair enough, but do you know what the most important thing is about that eight seconds? Your sole purpose is to get them to have a second impression of you.
So, you have eight seconds to communicate why they should click to the next step on the path. If you look at your website analytics report and you see that visitors hit your home page, stay 10 seconds, and then leave, or bounce, then you know you are missing the “simple content” mark.
Did you know that YouTube is the No. 2 search engine? You may also know that people don’t read much anymore. You can record a message for your customers on your smart phone and upload it to YouTube.
Video creates a stickiness factor you can’t get with almost any other web tool. People prefer to watch and learn. Use your expertise to create a helpful tutorial as a simple screencast or share a tip that helps your readers and customers. You can then embed that video within your site (so they don’t leave and go to YouTube and get distracted by all the other videos there).
Ultimately, you can sell without selling by educating, sharing and providing simple content that solves a customer’s problem. If you provide a clear path, they will click through to keep learning about you and your company.
Read more Web design tips for small business.
TJ McCue runs TechBizTalk, a review, how-to, and tutorial site to help you discover the top new web-based applications and services for your growing company.