Many elements go into creating a great business website. Any list of the most important of these is bound to leave a few worthy contenders off, but I’ll take my chances with this list of website elements I think are worth paying attention to first. (And I’d love to hear what you think should be on the list but isn’t, and what you’d remove to make room.)
1. Informative Content
Prospects aren’t browsing your website because they have nothing better to do or because they’re in a procrastinating mood — that’s what Facebook is for. They are on your website, or looking for a website like yours, because they have a problem to solve.
So, one element I’m not likely to remove — or even move down the list — is informative content. No matter what else your website has going for it, you’re not going to attract an audience or keep their attention if you don’t have content that helps them solve the problems they are facing. It’s just that simple.
2. A Prospect-centric Perspective
One way you can make your website content more attractive to your prospects is to present it from their perspective. That means writing from their perspective, rather than yours, discussing the problem from their perspective, and even organizing your site from their perspective.
(If “About Us” is the first thing on your website’s main menu, you’ve got some rethinking to do.)
3. SEO Awareness
The right tone and perspective will help keep prospects interested, but you’ve got to get them to the site first. Building a site that is SEO-aware is critical. Whether or not a full-blown SEO campaign is a good fit for your services, target audience and competitive market is another question worth in-depth analysis.
Either way, you want to make your site as easy to find as it can be.
4. Frequent Updates
Once you’re comfortable with the SEO requirements for the content most attractive to your audience, keep the content taps open. Update the site on a frequent and regular basis. Not only is this helpful for SEO, it’s also the fuel for powering many other aspects of your marketing — email marketing, social media, even more traditional marketing channels like direct mail.
You have to have something of value to share. Your website should be the central gathering point for this content.
Don’t overlook evergreen content, though. Its value is, of course, in its timelessness. But you can add more value by updating it, adding similar content from a slightly different perspective or tailoring it more specifically to a particular audience segment.
5. Calls to Action
Getting prospects to your site doesn’t magically turn them into customers, even if your content has them quietly nodding their heads in agreement. You have to provide a way for them to take the next step.
From newsletter signups to worksheet downloads to appointment booking tools, your site must have calls to action that encourage, yes, action! Get them to take the next step; invest a little bit more in the relationship until picking up the phone or setting an appointment seems like a natural next step, rather than an intrusion from a salesperson.