Top 5 Must-Haves for Your Website
Did you know that we each have 7 seconds to make a positive or negative first impression when someone meets us in person? Have you ever thought about how many seconds we have to make a first impression with our WEBSITE?
We have 0.05 seconds for a viewer to form an opinion about our website and less than 15 seconds to capture their attention before they click away. That is not much time!
And to make it worse, those 15 seconds are being used to determine our credibility and quality based on our website design. A study found that 94% of negative website feedback was design related. This makes it even more important to improve the overall appeal of our websites and put things in place that attract our viewers and give us the credibility that we deserve.
On my newsletter from the month of March until last week, we went through a series of my Top 5 Must Haves for Your Website and due to the feedback I received, I decided to turn it into a blogpost that can reach more of my audience and can be referred back to over and over!
These 5 Must Haves came from the website audits that I do on a regular basis via my Brand Mentorship Sessions. I am constantly seeing these 5 things come up in the audits.
So I am excited to share these 5 must haves with you, so that we can each improve the appeal and function of our website, and convert more interested customers who need what you offer!
The 5 Must Haves for Your Website:
Creating a Flow
Call to Action
Your About Page / Bio
The Legal Aspects
Your navigation is the map of your website. It’s how your viewer gets to know your site and it’s your opportunity to show your viewer what they need to pay attention to.
Too often I see navigation fall by the wayside, because it’s so automatic that when we DIY our own sites, it’s an after thought, because everyone expects navigation. We get so excited to add the frills and fun aspects of a site, like images, video, typography, etc that we overlook a HUGE opportunity within our navigation. So here are my tips for your navigation.
The most important thing is for your navigation to be visible, easy to read and in a place where your viewer expects it (top of your site, either centered or left/right aligned). Your navigation is not the place to get creative!
Your prime real estate is the top right hand corner of your navigation. This is where your call to action should go, whether that’s your contact page, shop or blog. This is the page you want people to end and stay awhile.
Don’t get too creative when you name your navigation pages. I see this all the time. People name their “services” page something fancy and frilly, but your navigation needs to be crystal clear, not creative. We are trained to look for specific keywords when it comes to website navigation and I would suggest sticking with them so that you don’t create confusion and a click away.
Creating a Flow
Creating a flow is one of those priceless skills that designers have and know how to use when it comes to their client’s websites. This is one of those aspects of the must haves that I would suggest working with a designer, but I’m going to go ahead and give you my tips for creating a flow on your website.
When we talk about “flow”, we are talking about where you want your viewer to begin and what pages you want them to move through to ultimately get the best experience and end up on your inquiry page with all the information they need to make a purchase. This is all about creating buttons and links to answer your viewer’s next question.
Map out a starting and ending point. What this looks like is going through your website and mapping out a starting and ending point that makes sense for your process from where your viewer might enter - and there are MANY places that your viewer can enter with the help of SEO and social media. For example: someone may enter your site through a blogpost graphic they saw on pinterest. Once they are done reading your post, how can you then move that person (or keep them engaged enough to move) to the rest of your site so that they end up on your contact page?
Call to actions. Each page needs to include a call to action - or several - either to move onto the next step or to get in touch with you. This is as simple as thinking to yourself “what is the next realistic step in my flow to get them to convert?”
What question does your viewer have? When you’re thinking through your starting and ending point and the flow you want your viewer to move through on your site, think to yourself: “What question could my viewer have on this page? And where can I send them next that would help answer it?” (OR better yet, “what can I do on this page that answers their question and then where can I move them that supports the answer?”)
Call to Action
As it is with any business or service, your customer needs to know what you want them to do with the information you give them.
Business Matters Magazine states:" “When it comes to online marketing, CTAs (call to actions) are ways of seizing opportunities. If you have a captive audience on your website, instructing them on what to do next is vital or you risk them wandering off your page and onto your competitor’s site.”
CTAs shouldn’t be looked at a sleezy or salesy. They should be looked at as giving a viewer who is already interested a reason to act. The only reason you have a website is to sell something, right? It’s not just to look pretty or take up space. So use your website in the way it was intended.
Have a good reason. This may be obvious, but your audience needs a good reason for why they need to take action. This is where your content and building trust and credibility comes into play. If you don’t give them that call to action, you are leaving them wasting their time on your site and you are missing an opportunity to make their life better with your product or service.
Put your CTAs in the right place. You’ll find most CTAs on the bottom of a web page or after some sales text, but why not think about having links within your text so that while people are reading, you can point to the next place they can go. This can be especially helpful in blogposts and blocks of text.
Frequency of CTAs. My ideas is that you can never have too many, but you have to think back to the flow you are trying to create with your site. After your viewer reads something, views something or finishes a page, what’s next? Where would you like them to go?
Your About Page
Your about page can be a little tricky. There aren’t many people out there who just love talking about themselves, and in a way that invites people to interact or buy in. The purpose of your about page is to establish a relationship and interest, and let your viewer know how you can serve or help them.
Include a Professional Image. This doesn’t mean it has to be a stuffy linkedin headshot, but it does mean that it should be professionally done and not just an iphone photo. If you own a business your photography needs to show it. People are on your about page to get to know you, so show the smiling face behind the business and stay away from those abstract, overly creative shots. People want to put a face with a name.
Establish that you are the right guide. Obviously your viewer is coming onto your website to see what you can do for them, so always keep that in mind when you write your content. You are NOT the hero here, you are the guide/helper in your viewer’s story. So talking on and on about how great you are in your bio is going to get you nowhere...and most likely it’s going to get you a click away from your site. So it’s best if you marry the two. Talk about who you are, what you do, and why it helps your viewer solve their problem.
Include some personal details. Your about page is the perfect place to establish credibility and commonality. So this is the place to show your viewer a peek behind the curtain. Talk about your why behind starting your business. And then you can add some fun personal details that you think would connect with your audience.
Talk straight to your target market. This is not a must, but a suggestion, and you can determine if it works best for your business. When you include things like your business core values or what you look for in a prospective client on your about page, it connects straight to those people you want to work with and turns people who already aren't a good fit away.
A testimonial or next step. I like to suggest to each of my clients to not just end your about page with your story. Give your viewers more information. Either that can be a testimonial that establishes even more credibility for you, or a section that shares your best content, whether that be your most popular blogpost, etc. Delight your viewer by giving them something they don't expect. They expect for your to talk about yourself, but if you share your favorite blogpost, or if you have several pieces to your business, having a hub of "here's everything you can interact with" on your about page goes the extra mile and might just create a paying customer.
Now, I’m not a lawyer OR certified to give legal advice. But I’m sharing three things that I’ve learned through personal experience and working with my own attorney to make sure my website is legitimate.
Since we established earlier that our website’s purpose it to sell or convert customers and not just sit on the internet looking pretty, there are responsibilities that you have to make sure your website and viewers are protected.
Copyright. One of the first things I look at when I begin a website audit is the website footer. I know, it’s the most overlooked and under appreciated part of a website, but it should be packed with important info for your viewer and yourself. I always look for a copyright symbol or copyright spelled out. The majority of the time I don’t find it, or I find that it is out of date. You need to include the copyright symbol or it spelled out, followed by your legal business name and the current year. You can also do your start year - the current year (ex: 2012 - 2019). Why this is important is because it’s your “flag in the ground” saying that this is your website and you own the content on it. It’s basically claiming your little piece of the internet as your own.
Terms and Conditions. There are two legal documents that are very important for your website. One is your terms and conditions. Your terms and conditions determines that the content, images, videos, graphics, etc that you use on your website are your property and no one can steal or use them without your permission. Now it’s not a law to have to have a terms and conditions, but it would be very helpful if something unfortunate were to happen to your website in which legal action was required.
**Both of these legal documents need to be drafted by a lawyer so that they stand up in court if an unfortunate situation happens. So please don’t go googling a free version.There are several reputable places that you can purchase both of these documents from an acting lawyer or attorney, or just ask your personal attorney about getting these created for you.**
I’m hoping that these 5 Must Haves for your website help you think about your site in a fresh way, and help you convert more customers through making your site more attractive, appealing, functional and legit!