The Internet has become very competitive. It used to be that merely having a presence on the Web was acceptable for small businesses – to beat the notion of a visitor saying “I’m not calling them, they don’t even have a website!” Now, there are several companies that do what yours does – and they are all on the web. So what are web site visitors looking for now?
This is a guest post by Dori Gilbert.
They are looking for a story, a brand promise that resonates with them and compels them to call one over the eight others they are seeing in their Google search results. What is your story, and where on the home page is it told?
Visitors who don’t know you will spend only seconds on your home page to learn about you. The key element of your story is knowing your ideal visitor’s story. What is it that they really want? For those of you who haven’t heard of this old marketing adage, I’ll repeat it here. A man is working on home improvement projects, and he needs a ¼” hole to finish. So he goes to the home improvement store. Is he wanting a drill? No. He is wanting a ¼” hole.
When you know what is driving your visitors to purchase beyond your products or services, for example a genuine caring for them or a personal involvement in the community, your brand promise will be stronger and you can then apply the story to these key home page elements:
1. Logo and Slogan
A thoughtful, meaningful, and simple logo reflects your story. Professionals who do this well are brand marketers or graphic artists. As soon as you can afford it, use professionally prepared graphics to represent you. It goes a long way. Keep it simple in colors and complexity, as that will help later in printing, imprinting, and embroidery costs. Add a relevant, authentic slogan so you’ll be remembered.
Be creative and don’t be locked into traditional navigation like:
I advocate sticking to industry convention, AND being creative with your navigation. In the few seconds that a visitor is taking to understand you, it might be more helpful to use navigation that incorporates the need your products fill, like “1/4-inch Holes.”
3. Prime Real Estate
When the home page is being displayed in the browser, the area that can be seen without scrolling down is called “above the fold.” It is critical that images, photos or video, and headlines above the fold are telling your story quickly and easily. Big, fancy banners may look nice but may not be the most effective. If a visitor has to scroll down to learn what you do, it may cause them to leave your site.
4. Name Your Solutions
Together or individually, your products and services can combine to create solutions or packages to solve your ideal visitor’s main problems. You can give the visitor quick insight that you understand their need by using an appropriate name in an image, video, headline, or even a guarantee. Now, you probably won’t be offering a “1/4-inch hole generator,” but you get the idea.
5. Call to Action
Now that you’ve captured the attention of your ideal visitor, give them one or a few easy and compelling decisions to follow up on. Some ideas are:
It’s not likely everyone who visits will now rush to call you. Be careful you don’t mistake this new home page for the ending to your story. The story on your website – and especially your home page – is just the beginning and the hub of your other online efforts. When you start with the story of your ideal visitor, you’ve laid a good foundation to a strong presence on the Internet and as you use the story, you will learn more about what your audience is looking for and how to become even more effective on the Web.
Thanks to umjanedoan on Flickr for the photo.