I think of a website as a digital employee for an organization. It’s probably the hardest working employee in your company. It works 24/7 to introduce your brand to new people and continue building relationships with them. Its primary role is to clearly deliver the right information, at the right time, to your prospective customers and clients.
Given the heavy load that it carries, why is it that many companies pay their website so little attention? I often find myself visiting a website to find that the information I need is well hidden in a place that doesn’t make sense. Or, it’s like a digital brochure that makes me feel like I’m dealing with a pushy salesperson. Sometimes the homepage is filled with too much content and it’s like being on a first date with someone who tells you their entire life story in the first hour. In each of these cases, I end up moving on to find what I need.
As with the people you hire, you want your website to represent you well, authentically engage your audience and help you build long-lasting relationships with the people you serve.
Here are three things you can do to make your website “Employee Of The Year”.
Think about the people you serve.
Schedule some time with your team to discuss your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? What are their needs and challenges? How can you help them? How will they find you? Sometimes it helps to create personas and give them a name. This keeps them top of mind as you create content and design the website experience.
Create the right content for the right time.
After you identify know who you want to meet and attract, it’s time to think about how to best engage them. Think of it as starting a new relationship. What information do they need from you as they are beginning to search for an answer or solution? You’ll want that content front and center on the homepage and it needs to be clear, concise and compelling. But that’s just the start because there are many other companies who can also help them. In order for you to stand out, they will need to easily find information that establishes your expertise and credibility. This can be answered through blog posts, case studies or customer reviews. At this point they may be ready to take the next step. You’ll want to be sure they can easily contact you or know where to find you.
Design an intuitive experience.
Once you have your content structure, you’ll want to think about the design of your website. First and foremost, you want it to be easy to read and navigate on a mobile phone, desktop or tablet. Go for a clean design with visuals that enhance your copy and bring it to life. Give careful thought to the titles you use in your navigation. Go back to your personas. What information are they expecting to find? Your titles should reflect this content and appear in order of importance from left to right. Anticipate their next steps in the decision process as you determine your subpages and their location. If your website is well organized and easy to navigate, your visitors feel as though you understand them and are more likely to reach out to you.
In the end, you want to make sure that your “digital employee” has everything it needs to be successful. Taking the time to create a website with an engaging visitor experience is a great first step to building relationships with your clients and customers.