You may be thinking of having a website built, already have one up and running, or thinking about an overhaul. Whatever stage you’re at, you could be missing some key elements from your website, or missing an important point. Some are obvious, some are usually forgotten, some are more important than others. So what are the key things you need on your website to turn it from a static ‘online business card’ to a resource that actually drives your business?

Sign up Form

Even if you’re not ready to create a newsletter, it’s still worth building your ‘list’. If people are interested enough in your offering to subscribe, why deprive them? Without a sign up form, you are missing opportunities every time a prospect goes to your website and leaves because you don’t have what they want YET. This is particularly important if you have a product or service that people are unlikely to need immediately, but may need in the future. How can you ensure that when they need you, you’re the one they think of?

Newsletter – well once you have a list, it’s worth sending them something.
This could be anything from updates when and if you have one, to a regular
newsletter or updates from your blog every month, two weeks, week or more.
The content you include in your newsletter depends on your product or service, but be careful not to talk about industry news or things your peers would be interested in. Consider what your target market cares about and what their problems and questions are (related to your service) and build your content around those things. Provide value for free and they are more likely to trust you, think of you when they have that problem that you solve for them, and the sales process will be MUCH easier.

A Blog

You may not be sure how a blog would work for you, it may seem time-consuming and unlikely to produce results – but it could be your single most powerful tool for making your website successful. Why? Because by posting regularly in a blog about problems that your target market encounters you are:

• Demonstrating expertise and building their trust of you
• Producing original content for a newsletter
• Producing original content for social media, that fans and followers could share and link back to
• Building up placement of keywords on your site that you would like to be
ranked well for in search engines.
• Giving visitors a reason to return to your website to check for updates,
unlike static websites that are unlikely to have anything new from month
to month.

Calls to action connected to a clear goal

What do you want from your website? What would you define as success? If you don’t have a clear path leading to that goal and telling visitors what you want them to do, they’re a lot less likely to do it, aren’t they? So be explicit; what should visitors do when they get to the end of each page? What else may they be interested in? Use every opportunity you can to direct visitors to where you want them to go. If it’s mutually beneficial, they’ll thank you for pointing it out.

A homepage that is all about your prospect

The most common mistake that I see on websites is a home page that is all about the company, their big achievements, or a list of features about the product or service. You may be thinking ‘well what else could I write about’, and the truth is, it’s all about HOW you present the information. When someone goes to your website they are looking for something: an answer to a question, a solution to a problem. Grab them as quickly as possible by assuring them that they have found what they are looking for. Speak to them directly; ask them a question which you’re sure they will agree with. You have a matter of moments to hook each visitor before they go back to Google and select the next site on the list. So leave them in no doubt that their search is over, and don’t waste precious space talking about anything your visitors may not care about. Instead of product ‘features’ discuss ‘benefits’: You may think it’s obvious what the benefit
of 40 years’ experience may provide, but saying ‘40 years in the business, means you can trust that I’m experienced enough to handle your problem’ puts it in their minds in terms that matter to them.

Collect and Share ‘Social Proof’

You can yell from the rooftops about how wonderful your service is, but you
would, wouldn’t you? The power of one testimonial from a satisfied customer
can make all the difference. People trust other people’s opinions, so getting social media likes, providing testimonials from satisfied customers, and sharing the amount of subscribers you have to your newsletter will often dismiss any doubts a prospect had. All those people can’t be wrong, can they? How do you get that social proof in the first place though? Provide visitors and customers with an opportunity share their experience– links to your social media pages, share buttons, a feedback form on your website and proactively ask customers for feedback and recommendations. If you are just starting out and have no social proof yet, consider giving away your product or service at a reduced rate in exchange for feedback. The exercise could be a useful market research

If you’re wondering how to implement any of these things in your website or would like more details, you might be interested in the Momentum Newsletter. Free weekly, hints and tips for small businesses who want to build a successful online presence.