Visitors to your website know less about your company and its products and services than you do, and it’s up to you to guide them through your website and – ultimately – to the checkout page or enquiry form. You know where you need to go to purchase a particular product or find a certain piece of information, but do your customers? It’s time to think like a customer and view your website from a different perspective.
Let’s start with a quick test. What is the name of your company? Where is your main office? Now let’s think how your prospective customers might answer these questions. Ask them the “who, what, when, where and why” questions and chances are they’ll just stare blankly into space.
The user journey
A prospective client looking to purchase the kind of products and services that you provide will probably start with a search on Google. They might search for your product or service along with an approximate location, such as “garden centre Tunbridge Wells” or “office furniture Kent”. If you have a Michael Bell One SEO contract, then your website is likely to be on the first page of search results, with a big blue link that’s waiting to be clicked.
If your website has been optimised for search engines and the page that appears in the search results has an enticing and engaging title and meta description, there is every chance that the individual will click on the link and arrive at your website. At this point the user still probably doesn’t know anything about your business, but at least you now have the chance to provide a solution to their problem. They might land on your home page, but Google is more likely to send them to a more relevant page on your website instead. Yes that’s correct; they’ll completely bypass your home page with all of those beautiful graphics and slick UI elements that your web designer laboured over.
The ideal landing page
Even if a user misses your home page, all is not lost, far from it and they’ve still arrived at your site. This will be your first opportunity to make a good impression. You now need to reassure your potential customer that they’re on the right page and on the right website. They needn’t bother with all those other sites listed on Google because yours is the company they should do business with.
Remember the test that I gave you earlier about the name of your company and its location. Both of these questions need to be answered on every page. Don’t hide your company name, contact details or your location. That way your potential customer won’t waste their time trying to decipher your navigation structure. You know that they should click on “contact us” but their limited amount of time and their decreasing level of patience means that they might not get that far. If they’re then faced with the hurdle of completing an enquiry form then they’re even less likely to reach their goal and contact you.
Let’s get personal
You can add a bit of personality to your site by including quirky facts about staff such as a league table to show who makes the best tea. But you should only do that once you’ve got the basics right with your contact details and some background about your company (remember to tell a story). If you sprinkle a few facts about staff in your profile pages, I’d recommend that you make them interesting. It’s the difference between “news” and “newsworthy”. You may be providing new information but is it worth telling people about?
Be the customer
So how can you view your website from a potential customer’s perspective? One way is to find someone who’s not seen your site before and would be willing to provide feedback. They should belong to your target audience (i.e. people who would buy your products or services) because they’ll be able to tell you things like whether the language is too technical. But otherwise any friend, relative or neighbour will suffice although for a professional review you’ll need usability experts like us at Michael Bell One.
If you are doing this already you are thinking like a customer.
About Michael Bell One
To talk to us about your web design, SEO or Branding project, contact Jake Judd or David Park on 01273 478822 or simply send us an email instead.