This article is a guest post by Pattie Simone. Pattie is a speaker, writer and mentor, and owns Write-Communications.com , a communications consultancy.
There are lots of reasons websites tank. Typical non-performance issues include poor layout, disastrous design, ho-hum content, missing meta data and inbound links, confusing navigation, buried info (too many clicks required to find what the browser is looking for), Las Vegas theatrics (think way too much Flash), etc.
The good news? There are LOTS of entrepreneurs who have winning websites churning serious sales, and you can too! The starting point is to understand that your website must be all about 2 things: getting found by more prospects and converting more of those inbound leads into customers. These five easy fixes will help transform your website metrics (and grow your sales)...
Great websites are intuitive. They reflect serious back-end homework and have been strategically developed to engage specific target audiences. If you want your website to work as it should, anticipate what your prospects and customers are looking for at the get-go.
Forget fancy jargon and get to the point quickly, using compelling, professionally-written, keyword-enriched text. Remember your competitors are literally a click away, so strong keyword-rich headlines and terrific content will help to convert browsers into buyers. This applies to everything the casual visitor sees when landing on your URL's, as well as the back-end stuff they don't. Your meta data, which is read and ranked by the Search Engine spiders (titles, descriptions, keywords and alt tags) should be crystal clear and unique to each page.
Ask for Business
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many websites get a "zero" on this one! No matter how obvious you think you might be, your site will fail Marketing 101 if you don't have multiple "asks" or calls to action. Words like" call now", "get more info today", or "contact us for a free quote" are all still very effective interaction motivators.
Give Something Away
Successful marketers couple many of the "asks" with a promise to deliver a valuable freebie (an e-book, white paper, podcast, etc.) Winning websites also make it easier to convert visitors into solid leads, using multiple, short data collection forms on different pages (not just on your Contact Us page) as well as hyperlinked email boxes with specific client-focused Subject lines. Again the concept here is to make it easier for your prospects to get what they want, when they want it. By testing and assessing the results of a variety of different methods, mediums, and offers, you'll define what produces the best results.
Forget about being coy. Make your site a cash cow with the strategic use of glowing testimonials - not only on a specific "Success Stories" page, but liberally sprinkled around your entire site. Make sure each testimonial highlights specific services/products you want to sell more of, along with engaging copy that details the core benefits that your delighted client got as a result of doing business with you. Showcase different industries and diverse outcomes. Get creative and post pictures of your smiling clients, and use podcasts or videos as much as you can. People respond better to a combination of visuals, audio and tape.
By adopting these simple fixes, you are on your way to making your website the winning sales engine it should be.