Article written by Megan Totka, Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com
It’s not hard to find a good-looking site.
Just look around. The plethora of talent out there in terms of web design is absolutely astounding. The wealth of knowledge we have, thanks to today’s lightning fast-web, makes for great content that we’re dying to digest. Both big and small, there are many sites we see that look to be on point on the surface, and it’s hard not to want such a site.
Yet looks can be deceiving when it comes to the modern website. Today’s businesses must both look and play the part when it comes to our sites and audiences.
Even with the best designers and content writers at your disposal, it’s easy to drive your site and its potential success into the ground without a decent sense of direction. As users are spending less and less time actually visiting sites, it’s clear that many businesses are missing something when it comes to retaining their traffic once it has arrived. So, what is it that their sites are lacking?
Their websites are off-target and they don’t have a plan to fix it.
What do we mean by that? What makes a successful website that will attract traffic, retain visitors and welcome them to buy what we’re selling? Ultimately, users are looking for:
- A site that understands its audience and exactly what they want
- A site that looks and feels in touch with that audience
- A site that establishes trust and effectively invites users into their funnel
Does your business’ site fit the bill? Is your small business site on target?
Catering to an Audience
With so many moving pieces when it comes to our sites, it’s easy to overlook the concept of audience.
Depending on our industries, our audiences come in many shapes and sizes. While some of us may be going after a relatively niche market, others might be shooting for a much larger demographic. Regardless of who you’re looking to draw to your site, it’s crucial that you understand the intricacies of your audience, what they’re looking for and what they expect from a site in their industry.
For example, let’s say you have a business that targets stay-at-home parents. The scope of a site catering to stay-at-home moms may be much different in terms of imagery, design, and content versus a site directed toward stay-at-home dads. While some stay-at-home parent content would work interchangeably between audiences, it’s important to further focus on specific sects within that audience (moms/dads, parents with sons/daughters, parents with one child/multiple children, single parents, etc.). There’s a lot to consider when it comes to targeting our content; however, it’s most important to note how crafting such content makes our businesses look good for Google. The more focused our content is, the more likely our visitors will stick around.
To give another example of sectioning off an audience, let’s say your business targets buyers looking for a product (we’ll go with dessert) in a specific area (let’s say New York). Yet, a business that sells ice cream in New York would market itself much differently in terms of imagery and content than that of a bakery in the same city. While both businesses may be selling desserts, their sites and marketing strategies are not interchangeable.
Likewise, the keyword strategies of such businesses would be different. While yes, we want everyone who’s interested in dessert in New York to come to our site, it’s much more prudent to focus on long-tail keywords to get people into our funnel. Consider that “New York French bakery” and “New York frozen yogurt” are much less competitive in terms of keywords versus “bakery” or “ice cream” and will ultimately provide more targeted traffic.
In addition to written content, businesses should put emphasis on their visuals as well. Something as simple as your color scheme has an impact on what sort of tone you set for your visitors. Always include imagery that fits with the scope of your business and, if possible, include your own images of your product or business to give your site a personal feel.
Who Do You Trust?
To bring everything together, an effective website establishes trust. This trust is formed through knowledgeable, unique content, a smart site design and architecture, and a bit of personal touch. What exactly do we mean?
- Users are interested in unique, original content that tells them something new about your industry and product
- Users want a site that looks clean and professional (not sketchy or incomplete) and they should be able to navigate that site with ease
- Users want to identify with the imagery and tone of the sites they visit in order to feel like they’re in the right place
- Users don’t want to face businesses that seem cold or fake; they want to see your business’ personality shine throughout your site
Is your website hitting all of the buttons above?
The Bottom Line
Engaging your audience in terms of content and design are absolutely crucial when it comes to establishing trust and ensuring you’re giving them what they want. Based on what you know now, ask yourself: is your site on target for its traffic?
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.