It used to be that setting up a business was as simple as finding a location and putting an ad in that book with yellow pages.
Those days are gone as more and more people every year start using the Internet as their number one information resource. One report from the Pew Research Center states that some sixty percent of Americans use online resources first when looking for information.
So how much presence does your business have online?
If the answer is “Not much,” or “Not enough,” you need a search engine friendly informational website. Informational websites are for people who are not looking for online sales (that’s an eCommerce website), but who want to advertise their services and attract online savvy customers. You want to find people interested in what you have to offer, but you’re not necessarily interested in getting online feedback from clients and writing an ongoing stream of articles about your business. (If you want to do those things, you want a Blogging website.)
Capturing Their Attention
The poor goldfish has become the metaphor to describe your average online citizen. It’s hard to get their attention (unless you’re feeding them) and once they’re looking at you, it’s hard to keep them there. Studies show that people browsing online act pretty much the same way, which means that websites need to adapt.
We’ve found that giving a website “stickiness,” or attracting customers and encouraging them to explore your site, requires a few standard features:
- An attractive website that’s pleasing to the eye.
- Visual enhancements for your home page.
- Quality content that directs readers to other parts of your site and which is keyed to words commonly used to search for your services.
- Call to actions that encourage direct contact with you via your website.
Hey! Over Here! Look at Me!
The need for an attractive website is a given, but we’re certain you can think of websites you have used that are just plain ugly. We don’t do ugly. Ever. But a beautiful website has to do more than just look pretty, and that’s where visual enhancements come into play.
One of our most successful techniques for attracting attention is the slider. Check out our home page to see ours in action.
In addition to the ordinary pictures which should be present throughout your website, image sliders are large, rotating banners that allow you to get way more information into a given amount of space than you can with a static picture. These banners include captions and lend themselves to stickiness because people generally want to see “what comes next.” The end result is that they get a quick preview of all of your major services with pictorial connections to the content.
Just Give Me the Facts…
Once you have their attention, you want to reward them with the information they’re looking for. Here’s where quality content is the key to online success. Without a significant amount of text on your web pages, it’s hard to attract the attention of search engines. What’s more, if you’re not using the same vocabulary people use to find a business or website like yours, your pages will get passed over in favor of your competition. We can research your competitors and related online businesses to determine just how people find a site like yours, what it needs to keep their attention, and what information is missing online so that you can start providing it.
Converting the Traffic
The final step is getting your audience to connect directly with you. This is accomplished with call to actions. Call to actions tell your visitors, “Hey, click me!” (They are actually a lot more subtle than that, but you get the idea.) They are located in your sliders or other areas of your home page and on pages in your website. These call to action buttons funnel visitors to a request or contact form, which is then sent to you as a customer lead.
The number of leads clients get from a properly designed informational website can be quite impressive and usually represent a significant upgrade in their business volume.
What do your customers want? Information! When do they want it? Now! When we design your website, you’ll find them, keep their attention and give them exactly what they’re after.