“If you build it, he will come.” So goes the memorable line from the movie Field of Dreams. Often, this is also what people think when they build a website – “If I build it, customers will come!”
Whether you are a small business, a nonprofit, a consultant, or a creative writer, you might think that having a website will automatically make you visible to potential customers or readers. But is being visible enough to convert website visitors to actual sales?
If your website is the most important part of your online marketing efforts — and yet you find yourself wondering why you don’t get enough traffic or why you just can’t seem to get your website visitors to buy your products, books, or services — it helps to think your way through what you really want your website to do for your potential customers.
Here are five “Whys” you should ask yourself, to determine if your website is meeting the needs of your potential customer, and if it’s making the case for them to buy your product or use your service.
WHY would people come to your website?
Think about what your ideal client or customer is looking for and what terms they may be entering into search engines. Are those terms mentioned on your website, so that you show up in the search results? Do you explain exactly what your business or nonprofit does so that someone in need of such services can see that you are the place to go for it?
If someone is looking for information about your business, or an address to come to your store, is it easy to find? If you are an author, what do you offer potential readers to attract them to your website in the first place?
If someone is on your website, WHY would they stick around and view other pages?
Let’s say you’re doing everything right in response to the first Why. Potential customers are finding your website. What is there that will keep them on your site and to encourage them to view other pages? Do you have a blog, or press releases, or studies that will offer useful information and establish your authority in your industry? Does your website have an engaging “about us” page that helps a visitor establish an emotional connection with you? Do you include testimonials so visitors can read about your customers’ experiences?
If you are an author, do you offer excerpts from books you are selling, or reviews of your publications? You need more than just a listing of products or services to keep people on your website, or to keep them coming back.
If they stick around to view the other pages, WHY would they enjoy them?
As mentioned above, having content is a great way to keep visitors on your website. But the question becomes whether the content is something they would find useful or informative, or even entertaining. Is it content for content’s sake, or is it something your visitors would enjoy and appreciate?
Is there a way to incorporate quizzes or games into your site so that you can provide info about your products without sounding too much like a lecturer? Are there statistics you can work into an eye-catching infographic? Website visitors don’t want to look at big blocks of text. Be sure to choose images or graphics to break up the text and make it easier for your website’s visitors to read.
If they enjoy your website, WHY would these pages inspire them to try your product/service?
Having engaging content is great, but you also need to make the case for why your potential customer needs your product or service. What are the consequences to the visitor if they don’t buy your product or use your service? What are the benefits to them if they do decide to become customers or clients? Have you established a bond of trust where they see you as credible and authoritative so that they would feel comfortable spending their money with you?
A great idea is to offer testimonials, as mentioned above, as well as credentials – such as seals and certifications for your profession. Writers can offer reviews and blurbs from their books and mention awards their books may have won.
If a website visitor is inspired to try your product or service, WHY don’t they?
Here’s a tricky question. There are many potential answers, including cost and time commitment. While you may not be able to control a potential customer’s budget or time constraints, you need to check your website for things you can control. Does your website offer a clear and simple way for potential customers to contact you to purchase your services? Do you have “Buy now” buttons so people can buy your products directly from your website? If you’re an author, but you don’t sell your books directly to your readers, do you offer links to your publisher’s purchasing pages for your books, or to online book sellers?
If your website relies on contact forms, you need to perform a regular check to confirm the form works. Are there alternate ways for potential customers to contact you? Say you only list a phone number, but the customer is unable to make phone calls during the hours your business is open. How else can someone contact you?
If you’re a restaurant or bricks-and-mortar shop, do you provide your address and a map of your location, along with your opening hours, so that customers know when and where to find you? You can bet that any website visitor who wants to buy something from your store simply WON’T if you do not state clearly when you are open and where you are located – no matter how much that visitor enjoys your website.
Honestly assess your website according to these five Whys, and you will greatly improve your ability to convert website visitors into customers. If you need a set of fresh eyes to review your website text and how it addresses these five Whys, I’m happy to help you, as I have helped other businesses with their websites. Leave a comment on this post or click here to contact me.
Bernadette Geyer provides writing, copy editing, and translation services for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and writers. She also leads online workshops on a variety of topics for small businesses and writers. Geyer likes being a small fish in a big pond, and enjoys helping others move to bigger ponds themselves. Subscribe to her monthly news from the big pond if you’re interested in professional growth.
Geyer’s No Time Guide series of online guides for small businesses offers simple, jargon-free guides to small business owners and nonprofits who want to grow, but don’t have a lot of time.