Unfortunately, many small business websites are doomed to failure even before the first line of code is written. Successful websites are not about clever code or the expertise of “Techies”. Instead, it is about writing good content to meet the requirements of your website visitors.
However, before you can write good content, you, first of all, have to identify (not literally) what type of people are visiting your website. By this we mean; what type of informational requirements they will have. The good news is; it is not rocket science and is something you can easily do yourself with a little guidance and a few thought ideas.
Basically, as the article title suggests, nearly every website on the Internet has at least 5 types of website visitor. No doubt, by the time you have finished reading this article, you will have identified even more. To help explain, we have put these into context;
A person is starting a new business and is searching for an Accountant, able to offer a good level of support to Start-up businesses. Compare these two websites: the first website merely states, as part of their overall service offering, they are able to offer advice to Start-up businesses; the second website has a page that, specifically, addresses the help offered to Start-up Businesses and raises a few topics the visitor hadn’t considered. Who do you think the visitor is more likely to contact?
For many people, it isn’t good enough for a supplier just to offer a particular service. They also want to know how much experience the supplier has. You can tell them you have 30 years experience. They may think; so what! What does it mean to me. In this scenario, including testimonials or project overviews would be a good start. Think about a new supplier arriving in your industry and the pitfalls they have still to experience. Make your website visitor aware of this. Depth of expertise may also mean depth of resource. In which case, if you have enviable resources compared to your competitors, then introduce your website visitors to some of your key staff members.
If you are keen on creating new business partnerships, then make it easy for those businesses looking to create mutually beneficial relationships with you, by including details on the type of partnerships you are looking for and how they can contact you about it. Why not view our own Business Partnership page.
If you offer services or products that are sensitive to price, such as our own Web Design industry, make sure that the issue of budget is quickly addressed in your website, For example, in our own Homepage, we clearly state which of our services are suitable for those working with a small budget. If you are more expensive than some of your competitors, then make sure to explain the added benefits/value you bring to the table. Play on age-old emotions by reminding visitors; they only get what they pay for etc.
Vice versa with type 8, above. There will be those visitors where budget is not the issue and where quality is more important. These types of visitor can have a big impact on the look-and-feel of your website, since, first impressions are very important to them and the design of your website is a good indicator of what, perhaps, the quality of your service/ product is like. The quality of your navigation, written content and overall ease of use of your Website, are also contributing factors in trying to win over these types of website visitor.
This is a common issue for those in the service industry. For example, a business owner is fed up with their Accountant and is on the Internet looking for a new one. They have come across your website but, unfortunately, you are in the next county. One of the issues with their old Accountant ,was that, customer service was poor and, surely, the further away the new Accountant is located, the harder it will be for them to offer a better service. In this scenario, it is important to identify this potential issue as quickly as possible. Highlighting it in the Homepage would be a good start, then link it to a page and describe how you support your clients, paying close attention to why location is not an issue in your ability to offer great customer support.
Support in the service industry, especially, is very important and can be a major factor in recruiting new clients and keeping existing ones. Don’t make the mistake of just making a statement about your support levels. Translate to the visitor what you mean by great support i.e. calls are responded to within 2 hours, staff have been on suitable training courses, good range of communication methods etc. In reality, many will look at the overall look-and-feel of your website to determine if your support claims are backed up.
Strangely enough, most website content is written without any thought given to the emotional state of the website visitor. For example;
A business owner arrives home late after a meeting with their Accountant. The meeting did not go well. There were heated exchanges. Business is difficult at the moment and they are a relatively new Start-up. Their Accountant doesn’t seem to be helping much and the business owner has lost confidence in them.
The business owner finally manages to get the kids off the computer and not surprisingly, is very stressed at this stage. The business owner decides to Google for a new Accountant and visits the first website, returned in the Google search .
Fortunately, the first website they visit, has a reassuring message on the homepage. It asks them if they are thinking of changing Accountant and a promise that it is not as difficult or stressful as they imagine. There is a link to a page that, specifically, deals with changing Accountant and it clearly defines what is involved and how the new Accountant is able to help. They even have a link from this page to their Business Start-up page, describing how they help Start-up businesses.
Understanding that it is real people with real emotions visiting your website, will allow you to write much better content. Content that demonstrates you know what the visitor is going through, will create empathy with the visitor and greatly increase the chances of them making contact with you. When you write content, imagine you are face-to-face with the person the content is aimed at.
As mentioned in the other types, above, many of your website visitors may be in the process of changing supplier. You know better than most, what the reasons are most likely to be. In which case, wouldn’t it be prudent to raise this topic in the Homepage and link it to a page that deals with changing supplier. Include content to help remove the negative thoughts that will be circulating the visitors mind i.e. is it better the devil you know, is it worth the hassle, will support be any better, you are more expensive, is location an issue, how do I know if you can back up your claims etc etc.