There are just so many posts about websites and what a correct website should be like. What types of pages you need, do you need a blog, should I have a landing page, how many contact forms should I have? Blah, blah , blah and the questions go on and on.
Here we are going to cut out the bull…t on websites and show you exactly what your website needs to add serious value to your business. Your website should actually be like a very valuable member of staff and actually be an asset to your business.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo Da Vinci
● Bad design and cheap work costs you a lot of money
● You’re focusing on the wrong area
● Get customers to the next step
● Keep it simple
You’ll pay more for bad website design in the long run.
There’s a myth that websites only need to cost R1000 or R2500. “My friends nephew designs websites and he said he’d do it for free”. I’m sure your friends nephew designs great websites, but if they really were that good, he wouldn’t be charging nothing for them.
Have you ever heard of a great lawyer or accountant being so good they don’t charge anything? They’re both skills that anyone can learn, but just like anything in life you get what you pay for. You wouldn’t say “my friend can do it for R50” to a mechanic and expect the same results.
Times are changing, your website is no longer ‘a little place on the internet that’s yours’. If it’s a genuine addition to your business, then it should be providing measurable impact on your business. Leads, sales and better customer relationships.
Just having a website isn’t enough for your business. You need to produce relevant and up to date content for your customers. Really, that’s all you should be focusing on. Helping your customers and being useful and valuable to them. You ultimately want your website to make your customers KNOW, LIKE and TRUST you.
If your customers KNOW, LIKE and TRUST you then they are more likely to TRY, BUY, REPEAT and REFER you.
You’re having to compete with so much more now. The level of noise on the internet is crazy. What helps you to stand out over your competitors and over other distractions (Facebook, Netflix, Instagram) is providing epic, useful content that people want to read. It’s as simple as that.
And the cherry on top? You need to collect email addresses and leads and market to them effectively. Your website can only do so much. But what it can do is SERIOUSLY top up your sales pipeline with fresh, hungry leads.
What usually goes wrong?
It just doesn’t work.
The easiest problem to fix with a website (and something that everyone will experience at some point), is a website plain not working.
It might load slowly because the hosting is poor, or images aren’t optimized. If you’re not paying enough for your hosting, the website could take a good few seconds to load. And seconds to a user on the internet is like waiting for hours..
Another issue that websites face is ‘broken code’. No blog post in the world could cover everything that could break on a site. But typically, website updates, core code updates and platform changes can break a site, even if everything was working beforehand.
If you don’t pay for a proper, well maintained and updated site, your website WILL break.
Finally, the most common reason sites are slow or break is because they’re insecure. Users (yes that means you) don’t change passwords or because they don’t pay for quality hosting (or update their site), malicious people and code get into your site and ruin it.
It happens all the time and it literally super easy to prevent. But much harder to fix. Your choice.
Focusing on the wrong content
You would not believe the amount of business websites, designed to sell a service to other businesses, that feel it necessary to talk about their Owner or Director’s love of cats.
At a more relatable level, I see SOOOO many businesses write about and publish content that’s completely not aimed at their customer. If you’re an accountant, talk about stuff that helps your customers. Talk about saving money. Talk about how to find other suppliers.
(There’s a huge misconception that if you work in the Locksmith Industry you can only ever talk about the Locksmith Industry and those products. The truth is that you should be talking about your customers and helping them. Talk about what they want to hear, not what you want to say.)
Don’t – as I see so many businesses do, talk about things that would appeal to other people in your industry. I see so many businesses write and create content that would be better suited to be read by their competitors. Write for your customers!
Not enough content
Finally, and this is the most common issue I see, you need to create content and update your site REGULARLY. I often see people publishing and launching a website and months later the blog section is still empty or still has the same blog post from months or even years ago.
We know it sounds hard to create content every week, but it isn’t. If you’re struggling to think of things to say or talk about, we can help you. If you genuinely don’t think you have anything to say, then what the hell are you selling?
Talk about what your customers want to hear. I promise that you’ve got more content than you realize on your business and products. Let us help you find it and get it to work for your business, and generate new leads and customers.
So how do you NAIL a website?
Regular updated content
First, you need to commit to producing one new piece of content every week. It’s as simple as that. If you have a plan, it’s really not as daunting as you think.
The easiest way to get started is to think of 5 broad topics that your customers want to hear about and that you want to talk about.
If you’re a Locksmith, what are the 5 basic topics that come up between you and the customer. For example, My lock doesn’t open and close as easily as it did. What is causing this problem? – When Should I call a Locksmith? – My keys were stolen – should I change all my locks? – What is lock picking/bumping? – How to choose the right Locksmith.
What are most common questions that you get about those topics? What do customers email you and ask you in store? What are you constantly having to tell people when you first meet them?
You could do each question as a post or have a commonly asked questions post.
Think about topics that customers SHOULD know. Things that they discover as they use you more and get to know your products. Talk about the results that they can get or success stories you’ve had.
Make sure you’re talking about YOUR business and what makes you different. Who are the people in your business and what’s their take on the broad subjects?
Give next steps
Once someone has read your post, we want them to sign up. We want them to give you their email address and contact info so you can market to them. That’s where you offer another useful, highly valuable piece of content in exchange for an email address (lead magnet).
Ask them “if you liked this piece about “How to care for my Locks“, then you’ll love our guide to “Maintaining and Securing your locks”. Focus on the benefit to giving their email address and showing them what they can do after they sign up.
Think about what the next logical step would be for someone reading that blog post. For example if I’m reading a post about “changing my locks regularly” the next logical step would be a guide on the “5 best types of locks in 2019“.
Keep your next step related to the original content. Make it a next step or an added bonus. What would someone TRULY want to see next if they were reading your content?
Keep it super simple.
- White space is good. Don’t over complicate your website design. Make it easy for people to use and read content by keeping white space and making it uncluttered.
- Keep it to a few colours per page. Common misconception is that good design is a lot of good colour. It isn’t, it’s few colours used well. Don’t go nuts, less is more.
- Nice images are nice. Take 15 minutes to find high quality stock images (they can even be free) Resources like unsplash.com or pexels.com and help people visualize the story you’re telling.
- Break the text up. Separate out points and keep it minimal. Prioritize what points you want to get access.
- Focus on one CTA (Call To Action) message per page/post. On that note, keep the action that you want someone to take easy and singular. Just sign up or just call. Don’t over complicate it.
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I love the idea of asking “if you liked that, you’ll love this” for next steps. You should use it on sign up forms and landing pages all the time. A lot of customers ask us “well why should we pay more if so-and-so down the road can do it for R500?” We understand what you’re saying but what our customers have found is that they don’t have to pay for expensive fixes to their site if they invest properly. You need to input a certain amount before you get anything out of anything. You have to invest to receive.
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