Your prospects are Googling you. They really are.  Consumers are logging on, looking you up, and making decisions about your business all the time. So, what are they finding when they look you up? If your business website is one you aren’t proud of, or one you know could be improved, don’t waste any more time. You can start shaping up your business website today with these tips and start getting better business results tomorrow.

#1 – Brand Your Website
Do people instantly know where they are when they land on your website?  How about if they land on your contact page or product page instead of starting at your home page? It might seem painfully obvious, but a lot of websites don’t include distinct branding on all pages. What do I mean by ‘branding’? The most common and simplest way to accomplish this is a company logo, title, and description on the masthead of your website. It should show up on every single page.  Many people who come to your website won’t start at your homepage, so keeping your website branding consistent throughout your whole website is important.

#2 – Make Contact Information Constantly Available
When people visit your website, you want to convince them to do business with you.  You want them to buy your product or sign up for your service, and contacting you is generally a step in that sales process. Most websites have a contact page, and that’s great. But why not take it a step further? Make it really easy for your visitors to get in touch.  Place you email/phone number/address (or whatever combination of contact information you use) on every page of your website. The side bar or header is an excellent place.  In addition, if you mention calling/emailing/getting in touch anywhere in your website copy, include your contact info there as well, or a link to your contact page.

#3 – Keep Your Copy Customer Focused
Consumers are interested in one thing when they visit your website: “What’s in it for me?”. If your website copy is focusing only on your business, your visitors are going to check out. I’m not suggesting you stop talking about your business — only that you should talk about it in a way that puts your prospects first. Here’s an example:

Company Focused: Carpet Cleaners Inc. has been in business for 20 years and has won numerous customer service and community awards.  Our highly trained staff represents our business commitment to a great customer experience and timely service.

Customer Focused: Are you looking for a stress-free carpet cleaning experience? Here at Carpet Cleaners Inc., we understand you’re busy and can’t afford to waste time with uncooperative service providers. That’s why our #1 priority is providing you with excellent customer service – we’ve even won awards for making our customers extremely happy!

#4 – Make Your Copy “Scannable”
Web surfers are an impatient bunch. When they land on your website, they aren’t enthusiastic about trudging through the 2,000 words of perfectly executed copy you worked so hard to put together. In fact, if you have large chunks of solid text, most visitors aren’t even going to try and sift through it. They will probably leave.  It might be harsh, but it’s very true.  So how can you up the chances of your website visitors actually reading your copy? Make it “scannable”. Here are some tips for creating “scannable” copy:

– Break up text with blank space
– Use bullets and lists
– Use bold or italics on important points or keywords
– Use relevant and interesting pictures to help illustrate your message

#5 – Be Brief
We already talked about making your website copy easy to read by incorporating “scannable” elements. But you need to take it a step further if you really want to hold your website visitor’s attention and keep them reading until the end.  You need to be brief, or better yet, concise.  Your website copy should use the least amount of words possible to get your message across effectively.  Does that mean your 1,500-word blog post is too long and therefore ineffective? No, it doesn’t.  If you needed 1,500 words to effectively communicate on that topic, then that is the perfect length.  But most of the time, website copy includes a lot of extra “fluff” that doesn’t serve a strong purpose.  Those are the words you want to get rid of. Trim down your copy and leave only the content that is directly necessary to communicating your message.

#6 – Tell Stories with Your Data
Your business will have a huge amount of data, from the number of customers and clients you’ve worked with, the number of staff you have and the years you’ve been in business, right through to client success stories and case studies.

It’s a great idea to use that data to your advantage, and to tell compelling stories with this information that engage the viewer. A visitor is far more likely to take action if they’re engaged with your company, and data is a fantastic way to do this. Consider adding in-depth case studies to show how your business found a solution to a client’s needs, or examples of your work for customers. You can also show your feedback scores, how many customers you’ve helped or how long you’ve been in business, to help add social proof and make any potential customer more likely to buy from you.

If you’re unsure how to tell stories with data effectively, check out this list of the principles of effective data storytelling.

#7 – Call Your Visitors to Action
Ask yourself this question: are you clearly telling your visitors what you want them to do while on your website? I’m not talking about being bossing or annoying. I’m talking about incorporating strong calls to action. You need to tell your visitors “Hey! I’m glad you’re here, this is what you should do next.”  You created (or had someone create) your website.  You know what your business is all about.  You know what you have to offer.  So, tell your visitors how they can take advantage of it! A simple way to incorporate effective calls to action on your website is to focus on what I call ‘One Page, One Goal’.  Each page on your website should have a specific goal. The goal could be to encourage people to visit another page on your website. Or, maybe the goal could be to get visitors to sign up for your newsletter. Depending on your business, a one-page goal might even be to make a sale right then and there. Take time to decide on a specific goal for each page of your website, and then include a strong call to action.

Your website is the first impression of your business for a lot of people. It makes since to invest in creating an outstanding first impression. Start with the 7 tips outlined in this article, then never stop learning and improving.