How to Improve Your Local Business Website

Improve Your Local Business Website

5 Ways to Improve Your Local Business Website

When customers don’t stay on your website for long, it’s hardly surprising you fail to connect with them and build the trust needed for them to get out their credit cards and buy from you. The great news for you is there are tons of quick and easy – usually free ways – to make your website more appealing to your customers.

Here’s 5 you can apply today.

1. Site Search

When you have more than 20 pages, it’s a good idea to add a search facility. If you have a site search, make sure it’s prominent. Usability guidelines tend to prefer the upper-right corner of the page. Keep the button label simple and clear – “Search” still works best for most sites. Don’t unleash your powers of lateral thinking and swap in a word like “Retrieve”. Keep it simple.

To Do: Just using your search, try to find 3 pages of content. Is that process “quick, easy and straight-forward?” Or is it “hit and miss?”

2. Ensure Your Web pages Can Be Skim-read Easily

Few people read word for word online; the vast majority skim-read to get a sense of the page before they read any of it in detail. Make it easy for visitors to skim-read your content. Always use headings and bullets to break up text. Think about it. If a heading is not relevant for your visitor, they can easily skim down to the next heading, making it straightforward for them to get directly to the information they need.

Always keep your text in manageable chunks, not an unbroken wall of words like insurance small print, so it’s easier for customers to look up what they want right away and with confidence – which is critical if they are making a buying decision.

To Do: Give your website a quick review and make sure all your text is broken up into clear, manageable sections.

3. Keep Your Styles & Colors Consistent

Make sure people know they’re still on your site by being consistent – confuse them and you’ll lose them. Keep the look and feel of your website sections consistent and avoid any radical changes. Visitors can get confused and think they have left your site accidentally.

Layout, headings, and styles should be consistent site-wide, and colors should usually have the same meaning.

For example, don’t use red for headers on one page, red for hyperlinks on another, and red as standard text somewhere else.

To Do: Ensure all your web pages appear to be part of the main site and that they are consistent with each other. Are there any “nasty surprises” depending on the part of the site you’re in?

Start-A-WordPress-Blog4. Use Emphasis (bold, etc.) Sparingly 🙂

It’s a fact of human psychology: try to draw attention to everything and you’ll effectively draw attention to nothing. We’ve all seen that site, the one with a red, blinking, underlined “NEW!” next to everything. Don’t be that guy or gal.

Remember, if your site’s graphic design is counter-intuitive and doesn’t help visitors get something done quickly, it’s going to make your site much slower and difficult to work with.

Slow, awkward sites never, ever, ever, delight your customer or create a good rapport online.

Visitors will be back at the search engine in seconds if they find your website “complicated” or “busy”.

To Do: Ensure your website is only highlighting critical factors you absolutely need your visitors to gaze at or click on in order to meet your online business goals. Menus, buy buttons, opt-in boxes and so on.

5. Keep Your Ads & Pop-ups Unobtrusive

Ads are a fact of life, but integrate them nicely into your site. Don’t try to force ads and pop-ups down peoples’ throats; you’ll end up creating frustration for your visitors. Also, do people a favor and make your ads clear. If you blur the line between ads and content too much, your content may suffer, since many people have developed “banner blindness” when it comes to surfing, and might overlook some important content by mistake.

To Do: Doublecheck if your popup window is significantly increasing your opt-in rate. If it isn’t, you could be annoying present and future customers unnecessarily.

Final Word

Always make sure you view your website through the eyes of the customer and not through your eyes, the website owner.

Make sure there are no red-flags on your site that are going to frustrate, confuse or bore customers. Keep everything nice and simple to make sure your visitors enjoy spending time (and money) on your site

Full Article at Site Pro: http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2010/nov/15prt.html

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10 Tips For Creating a Brilliant Landing Page

Building a great landing page should be on top of your priority list if you want your website visitors transformed into customers.

landing-page

While a great looking website can grab the attention of your visitors, a strong landing page will keep them involved and get them to buy your products/services.

Wikipedia defines a landing page as:

The page that appears when a potential customer clicks on an advertisement or a search-engine result link. The page will usually display content that is a logical extension of the advertisement or link, and that is optimized to feature specific keywords or phrases for indexing by search engines.

Wikipedia’s definition sums it up nicely but there is certainly more to a great landing page then relevant and keyword rich content. Here’s 10 things that you should be looking at when optimizing a landing page:

– Relevant Content

A landing page’s content should be directly related to organic search results, PPC campaign, anchor text in inbound links and any other targeted inbound advertising, online and offline. If people don’t get what they expect, they will be more likely to leave.

– Multiple Landing Pages

A landing page shouldn’t necessarily be your homepage. In many instances a homepage is a good landing page. However, for more targeted traffic and better results, you want a landing page to be focused on specific offer and specific call for action. To accomplish this, a given website should have multiple landing pages. Create some deep link landing pages that will focus on specific offer and your conversion rate will be higher.

– Focus on Functionality

More and more visitors seem to judge the professionalism and credibility of a site by its design. To satisfy this, many website owners concentrate on the design aspect instead of focusing on its functionality. A well-designed landing page is essentially worthless if the prospect can’t accomplish anything. While I wouldn’t suggest skimping on the design, it shouldn’t be your priority. Focus on the exact steps you want your visitor to take and design a page with that in mind.

– Call To Action

You got visitors to your landing page, now direct them to take action. Make it clear and highly noticeable without overwhelming your audience. Whether it’s a sign-up form or a “buy now” button, make it the focus of your page.

– Send a Clear Message

Keep your landing page clean and clutter free so your visitors stay focused on your message. Emphasize the biggest reasons that they should carry out the applicable call to action with larger text, contrasting colors, images. Make it easier for them to scan the content by using lists and getting right to the point.

– Offer Incentive

Bribing your visitors with freebies and samples is a proven method of enticing them to sign up. Offer more than your competition but don’t sell yourself short either. Provide a list of reasons why your offer is better and what exactly the visitor can expect. Provide references and testimonials.

– Make Visitors Stay

Avoid sending your visitors to another page unless it is absolutely necessary. That includes any internal navigation as well as external banners. If you remove all distractions and limit navigation options, you stand a better chance of keeping your visitors around.

– Simple is Better

Make it easy for your visitors to complete the action you want them to. Less confusion and decision making for your visitor means better conversions rate for your landing page. Don’t offer multiple choices and throw in optional extras. Focus on the offer the page was created for.

– Power of Freebies

Everyone likes free offers. They are hard to resist and can be a powerful conversion tool. Whether a call to action is free or something free is received as a result of carrying out a call to action, it certainly doesn’t hurt. If your competition charges for something and you offer it for free, you’ll win the customer. Remember, just because you make a free offer doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be quality.

– Testing

In a recent post “How to Turn Website Visitors into Buyers“, I’ve stressed how important testing is in finding out what your visitors like. Testing various text, call to action forms, layouts will give you true idea what produces the best results as far as conversion.

Using a tool like Google’s Website Optimizer you can easily monitor the conversion rate, bounce rate, and tons of other useful metrics found in most modern day web analytics apps. Using these metrics you can easily figure out which version will be your optimal page, one that maximizes the results.

Creating a successful and effective landing page takes a lot of work but should be the focus for anyone involved with a website. Whether you are a website owner, web designer, web developer or a web marketing specialist you must be aware of the components that comprise a solid landing page. After all this can mean website’s success or failure.

Repeat & Referral Business: Your Recession Marketing Lifeline

If this recession is prompting you to look for a lifeline, don’t lean too heavily on marketing tactics that require you to turn complete strangers into customers.

article-marketing-lifelineConsumers don’t engage in as much impulse buying or social shopping during a recession, and they are more likely to hesitate before a purchase decision because they tend to more cautiously examine the risks and rewards. That’s not good news if you’re trying to acquire new customers because people view the purchase of products and services from unfamiliar businesses as a larger risk than purchasing products from businesses they trust.

When you’re sending periodic emails to your own in-house list of customers, make sure your messages help to overcome purchase hesitation by demonstrating that you have a relationship of trust, and explaining why the benefits of an immediate purchase outweigh the benefits of holding on to the money. It’s a good idea to ask for a referral somewhere in your offers while you’re at it. Professional-looking emails also set you apart from your competition and make you look healthy and prosperous to your customers. Don’t let up just because your customers seem distracted.

If you don’t have an in-house email list yet – or if you’re just a little short on familiar faces – focus a healthy portion of your marketing strategy on building your email list. That way, you’ll gain a low-cost way to educate your audience so your business is familiar enough to overcome purchase hesitation no matter what’s going on in the economy.

Customers, they would continue to open their wallets

Steve Jobs’ Best Quotes Ever:

A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.

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