Far too often, companies insist on websites that are either way too cluttered and colorful, or way too simple. They find a web designer and ask them to make the logo nice and big and add sticky navigation, hoping the site will stick in the minds of their visitors. Additionally, they often use a big H1 headline that doesn't really get across what they actually have to say.
Get a clear understanding of your buyer personas
While you don't need to go too deep into this topic, especially if you belong to a small startup. Still, knowing who you want to reach with your message is among the key information they need to successfully convert a visitor into a lead.
Without this information, they're just shooting in the dark. Once they have a good understanding of their personas they are much closer to their optimal conversion potential.
Do the Website Blink Test
Make sure your website passes the "blink" test and your customers immediately understand who you are, what services you offer, within the first 3 seconds. When a prospect visits your website, they are less interested in your company logo, often not even your name. They are more likely to visit their site for a selfish reason: they hope to find someone who can help them solve their problems, nothing else! And that is also good!
Your visitors are allowed to be selfish. After all, you are spending their hard-earned money on their products and services. Think about it: When you go to a restaurant, do you always choose exactly what's on the menu? How do you think the chef feels when he has to change the way he prepares a dish because a customer decided the offering wasn't good enough? What does all this mean?
It means that you are not designing a website to sell to yourself. You are, in a sense, "business blind" here. The biggest mistake any business can make is to design a website that suits their needs and pride, not the needs of their visitors/people. Be clear in your headlines, tagline messaging and overall intent of your website. Think of your website as your best salesperson working around the clock. If this guy were to meet someone at a trade show, what would be the first thing you want him to say to grab the attention of potential customers?
Allow your visitors to identify themselves.
Now that your visitors have a pretty good idea of who you are and what you do, they are more likely to self-identify and make a decision to either continue their inbound journey or leave your site. Don't worry, this is actually a good thing; the last thing you need is a million visitors crawling through your website and realizing it was a complete waste of time because it had no value.
Remember that your visitors are arriving at your website mainly for research purposes, so the better for them to find what they are looking for. This is the best way to leave a lasting impression.
Make sure your message is correct and uses the right header tags
Although it depends on your target audience, your visitors are most likely not going to your website to see what a great job your company did in designing and finishing your website. They are there to solve pain points; I can't stress that enough. Using the right tone and words on your website can be the difference between poor SEO and a steady stream of MQLs/SQLs.
Think of all the times you've found something on Google, whether for personal or professional reasons, but you didn't have the time or patience to look around.
Using proper meta tags and header tags will not only help Google index your site properly, but it will also help your potential visitors sift through the myriad of options presented to them. However, this is not enough; it takes knowing your personas intimately to create content and design a website that keeps visitors on your site.
If your personas are CEOs, they are looking for the bottom line. They'll ask questions like "What's my Return on Investment (ROI)?" while if your personas are marketing or sales managers who want to streamline their processes better and look better in front of their bosses, they may need a different tone.
Make sure your website is easy to understand
Yes, we all have a lot to say and brag about when we sell our products or services. Why do we do it? It's simple: because it's the best thing since sliced bread. Sometimes it really is - but trying to shove all that down your visitors' throats at once isn't the way to go.
Don't create your site so cluttered that it's practically a "fast talker with coffee breath," with all the content and design in hero or above the fold.
Your website should be streamlined. Again, when your best salesperson approaches a prospect for the first time, they need to have some sort of strategy: What does this person need to know first to really get them interested? What do they need to know next so you can have a two-way conversation and make sure you're not the only one having the conversation?
A well thought out, clean and optimized website will enable this two-way conversation. This makes this prospect feel like they can focus on one thing at a time and go at their own pace. A streamlined website will also spark curiosity, which in turn will raise more questions and make them want to take a deeper look. This will allow you to present them with conversion options such as eBooks, discounts, learning videos, a quick form to ask questions, etc.
Following the tips above will allow you to create a website that your personas will want to come back to because of the value it provides and the lasting impression it leaves. When done right, you can find a happy medium between the website you "think" you need and the website your visitors actually need/expect.
Swallow your pride and talk about the things your visitors/people are actually looking for or interested in, and don't be afraid to showcase your prices and how your business works. While your competitors' strategies may involve hiding this information, yours should be to build trust and a lasting relationship.