Stay with this. Although what I will propose may sound radical, it doesn’t need much work now; you can add to it later (and for search engine purposes, should be built up over time); and will immediately improve your business website
At the heart is the question, “What is your business website for?”
I like to speak in terms of purpose, outcomes and actions.
In other words, what purpose should the website have in order that, by doing certain things (actions), the outcomes you want happen?
Most business owners seem to want the purpose of their website to be to get clients (or, more precisely, to convince a given visitor to become a client). In one case, putting a menu option, “Become a client”, which linked to a “Contact us” page, sort of gave that away! If that were the purpose, it would be hard to say what the outcomes were, other than to have people become clients. And, there’s the rub. That purpose is an outcome. An entirely valid outcome: it’s just not a useful purpose, in my book.
If the owner of that site were to say that, actually, that isn’t my intended purpose for the website, I would have to reply, don’t forget the maxim, “the meaning of a message is what the recipient makes of it”. If it looks as if that’s the purpose of the site then, for me, it is. And likewise for most other visitors.
So I don’t think that that is a useful purpose for your website to have. Firstly, it’s almost unachievable. You would need an extraordinarily good copywriter and some excellent website design and navigation to be confident that people stay with the site long enough to get a convincing exposition leading to a solid understanding. And a convincing exposition leading to a solid understanding of what?
When I discuss marketing collateral with clients, I am forever telling them to cut things out. They, understandably, want to put everything in (in case they miss the one prospect who might be engaged by a particular phrase), and I am forever crossing it out. So it is generally. On the whole, business websites are improved just by removing extraneous content that confuses the message.
But you have to know what the message is, before you know what is extraneous to it.
And you can’t know what the message is unless you know the purpose about which the message wants to speak.
I think the purpose of a business website should be to convince visitors that you know what you are talking about.
No more than that.
If someone runs a business which needs the services of your business, they will only contact you if they
a believe you might be able to help them
b are inclined to trust you with possibly embarrassing information.
They just won’t contact you unless these two criteria are met, however fit for its purpose the website is.
It is essential to know what to include and what to leave out in order to achieve (a), and how to present it to achieve (b).
I believe that visitors to the website will pick the phone up if, and only if, they are reasonably convinced that your business might be able to help them solve some problems they have and that you are trustworthy.
Visitors who may contact you will be convinced by:
These have to be about how your business solved a client problem. But they have to be told from the client’s perspective, not yours. There’s a lot on this website about how to do this well: here and here. In particular, include some component of explaining why/how what you did worked. On the other hand, stories could be allusive, or elusive: here’s my story about why business owners shouldn’t neglect their training needs.
Remember that people make decisions when they are in their feelings. If they aren’t in their feelings, they probably won’t pick up the phone and, if they do, their enthusiasm for the conversation is likely to be half-hearted. With a website the best way to get visitors into their feelings is to tell stories. And, ideally, to use video, or at least audio, to do it.
2 A description, detailed enough that it makes sense, of what you do with clients (and possibly differentiates it from most competitors).
3 A rationale for why this process rather than any other process.
4 Lots of content (which can be built up over time) which speaks to your expertise in this area and the expertise of those whom you endorse. This will include partners but also noted writers on relevant topics.
(This is something that I need to beef up on this site. Note, I don’t need to ask the original writers for permission to use their text: I just provide a link, but also explain why I think my visitors should read the article.)
Visitors will not be inclined to contact you unless:
1 you talk in their terms, not your terms.
2 you get rid of material which, however fascinating and well written, is not relevant to the purpose of the website. At best it will distract and, at worst, it will confuse.
> Purpose and outcomes
> What is the purpose of your business?
> Why tell a story?
> Structure your story well
> Work stories
> How to improve your business website—2
> How to improve your business website—3
by Jeremy Marchant . © 2015 Jeremy Marchant Limited . updated 11 may 2015 . image: Free images