Yes, I need a website!
In a word, yes. Good website design can make the difference between having a website with information on it that people stay and consume, and a website that makes people click the “back” button in less than 5 seconds. It does no good to have a website with information about your business and the products and services that you offer if the user experience is so bad that the website visitor never sticks around long enough to look at the information.
Engaging content that answers your prospect’s questions is essential. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. What are the most common questions that they ask about your business? You already know what people are asking for, so be sure to include this information on your website. When people call your business, what are the questions that they are asking you? Make note of these, and include the answers to those in your website too, and make them easy to find.
If you run a retail store, for example, you may get many phone calls asking about your location, or your store hours. This is likely because these things are not on your website. If this information is on your website, but you’re still getting these calls, it means that the information is on your website in a place where website visitors can’t find it. Make sure to put this information — or links to the pages where the information is located — on a prominent spot on your website. I recommend putting this information in a sidebar on the right side of the home page; people are used to looking there for the information that they need.
Good website content entertains, engages and informs your website visitors. In order to create content that best serves them — and serves your goal of making the phone ring with interested prospects — you must put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. For example, if you are a family law attorney, you know that people will have questions about spousal support, alimony, and child custody matters. So create a “Frequently Asked Questions” page on your website, and discuss those questions and your answers to them. You could have a main page with links to subpages about each topic. Each subpage could have a number of questions about the topic, with the answers.
People love to listen to stories, and learn more about how your business solved a particular problem for a client or customer. So a case study shows how others are benefiting from your product or service, and also proves to the prospective client that you have helped others just like them. This is like a soft testimonial about your product or service, and proof that what you offer works; that people like what you offer; and that you could get a similar result for your prospective client.
White papers are a great way to convey your expertise and authority to a prospective customer or client. You are taking on the role of a trusted advisor, and giving them information that will help them solve their problem. When you give away useful information for free, it builds trust and rapport with your prospective client, and also implicates the law of reciprocity: Now that you have done something nice for them in the form of free information, they feel that they “owe” you a favor, and are more likely to hire you or recommend you to others because of this. When you give away useful information, it helps a prospective client feel that you are an expert in your field, and that you are genuinely concerned about her well-being, so much so that you are giving away free information. This can only accrue to your advantage.
Good website design ensures that when people come to your site, they know right away what information you have to offer them, and that they can find the information quickly and easily. Website users have very short attention spans; if you don’t offer them something that engages them within the first few seconds, you’ll lose them. For some more information, here’s a short video about some other web design considerations.