Updated: Aug 23, 2022
No Website. No Business.
Now, I’m starting this blog under the assumption that you have a business website. Or you’re making one. Or you’re planning to create one soon.
Because making a website for business is a non-negotiable now. If you want to “set up shop,” you create a website. Period.
After all, a business website is your storefront. It’s your calling card. Your virtual face, voice, handshake, and home.
But I get the vibe from some of you that this is…intimidating.
You might think you can't start until you're in a position to hire someone. Nope.
I mean, sure you can hire the pros later - for all the website bells and whistles. But it's no excuse for waiting.
You can make a solid, useful, oh-so-cool starter site on your own. Today.
In this blog, I want to talk to you about creating a business website - one that does its job and does it well.
We’ll talk about:
But first, let’s talk about the three main challenges of a business website.
Three Main Hurdles
When you’re making a website for your business, there are three hurdles right off the bat.
First, you need to get qualified clients to the website.
Then you need them to stay on the website.
Then you need them to take the next step (contact you, join an email list, etc.)
These are 3 different issues. Yes, they overlap. But they're not exactly the same thing.
Getting people to your site can be about marketing, messaging, or SEO. (We’ll unpack that later, don’t worry.)
But once they’re there, you gotta keep them there, fulfill their expectations. Then you want to make them take some action to continue the conversation.
There’s no magic bullet for all this. It’s more like a network of best practices.
But while you’re designing your groovy site there, remember this:
Always design a business website for your client’s needs. Not your preferences.
Put that on a post-it note. Chant it to yourself every 30 minutes when you’re making it.
Because it’s really tempting to express yourself in a business website. But weirdly, your site isn’t about you. It’s about your client. So, present your work in a way that makes sense to them.
Choose a design they’ll immediately understand. Create an experience that’s tailored to their search.
If you want a business website with sunsets and pebbles resting in ponds, fine. But you better run a yoga studio or teach meditation. If you’re a freelance accountant, um, no.
Clear Is Better Than Cool
Remember a business website needs to be understood - above everything else. That means on laptop and mobile.
Over half of U.S purchases take place on cellphones, so make sure it reads easily in the smaller format.
That means clean, easy-to-read letters and lots of blank space to rest the eyes. Don’t write in a funky, illegible font - no matter how cool it looks.
Don’t write paragraphs of more than 2-3 sentences. They just look like a wall of text on mobile. Break it up. Help them out.
Use bullet points.
Use numbered lists.
It attracts the eye.
It makes it easier to pick out relevant info.
I mean…isn’t this easier?
The basic message of this section is - make it easy, make it clear.
A lot of people skim before they dig into the deeper message. If your design makes skimming hard, your ideal client could bounce fast.
SEO And The Message
Nowadays when you build a website for business, the letters S-E-O come up everywhere.
I don’t want to get all wonky, so here’s the short explanation from Backlinko:
“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of getting targeted traffic to a website from a search engine’s organic rankings.”
In other words, you can put strong content, strategic keywords, and other valuable triggers on a business website to get Google to prioritize your page when they rank results.
The higher you rank, the more people come to your site.
You can hire an SEO consultant or copywriter for help. But if you’re not ready for that, here are some good rules to start with:
Blog regularly. Adding new content to a business website 2-4 times a month will signal to Google that there’s fresh content. This keeps the engine sort of looking your way. And you start to get flagged as a substantial site with lots of content.
Pump up the word count. If you have a lot of pages with a low word count, search engines can tag you as “thin content.” This can drag you down the results.
Message over SEO. Speak to your ideal client. Don’t put the SEO tricks above your message. It won’t pay. If people visit your site, but no one cares about what they find there - what’s the point?
That last one is worth saying again. Put your users first. If you don’t believe me, ask Neil Patel - Digital Marketer and SEO Guru.
“When you put users first, you’ll actually write helpful content that search engines reward because search engines follow users. It’s not the other way round. At the same time, you’ll be enhancing the user experience and building trust with your audience.”
Creating a business website that over-performs on information, goodwill, and solutions will put you ahead of the pack - in the long run.
Make Your Site An Emotional Trip
One of the big dangers I see when entrepreneurs build a business website, is they get bogged down with offers and features. Try to remember there are a lot of offers out there.
When it comes to shopping, it’s less about the offer and more about the emotional journey.
“[W]hen evaluating brands,” says Psychology Today, “consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts).”
It’s our pain, our need…our hunger that drives the search.
So before you build a business website that’s all about “here’s what we sell, look how good it is” stop and think about the emotion your offer feeds. Describe it with evocative language.
Don’t speak to their brain. Speak to their heart. Paint the picture of their problem. Then… fill that gap. Make it an experience of longing and then, ahhhhhh, relief.
The trajectory of a business website should be to walk the journey of their hunger with them. Then take them by the hand and lead them to the solution.
It’s like saying “Here’s the experience of your need. Now. Here’s the experience of my help.”
Once they feel that, they don’t need to be convinced. They’ve taken the trip with you already.
A Business Website Encourages Objections
A business website that doesn’t address objections is not going to convert visitors into clients. Every offer, every service, every product can be grumbled about in some way.
Yes, even yours.
It could be the price. It could be the fear of getting locked into a contract or going with a new, untested provider. It could just be the fear of looking stupid.
Objections are the elephant in the room on a website. Don’t fight it. Just own it.
If you try to hide the risk or paint over the objections on a business website, you’ll come across as a con artist. All trust is going to go out the window.
So just say it. Then tell them why they don’t have to worry.
Let them know if there’s a money-back guarantee. Or a free trial. If the cost is high, help them to understand why they’ll make their money back.
Whatever you can truthfully say to calm their fears needs to be said - explicitly, openly, confidently.
Use testimonials of past clients. Nothing speaks like a third party who’s glad they hired you.
“They help your potential customers to build trust in you, especially if you are new," John Zhuang of the web design firm Winning Interactive told Entrepreneur Magazine. "[And they] help shoppers to confirm whether the product [or] services meet their needs."
If you can get a picture or video of your satisfied client, that’s a valuable bonus!
It means so much to see the face of real people on a business website. It makes the rave seem more real and the service’s potential more exciting.
There’s no secret to making a business website that crushes it. If you create a page that keeps the client’s needs in mind that’s pretty much the main bit of the puzzle.
Remember you are an expert when it comes to commercial websites. Maybe not in web design or SEO or copywriting. But in experience.
You're someone's customer too, after all. You’re an expert in what a business website needs to do.
You know when you feel bullied or manipulated online. And you know when some site really speaks to your heart.
So just treat your clients the way you want to be treated. The rest will follow.
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