Read-this-BEFORE-you-redesign-your-websiteYour website is arguably the most powerful marketing tool you have at your disposal. It’s a link to a vast number of people who may be looking for exactly what it is that you do. There’s no limit to the amount of content you can publish on your website. And the incremental cost to add new material is ridiculously low.

Of course, none of this matters one bit if your site is (how shall I say this?) “challenged.” Unless you have a well-designed, well-planned site, it’s not going to matter.

Redesigning your site, however, is about a lot more than choosing a pleasing pallet of colors and adding pretty pictures. Sure, you want your website to look good (an ugly website is a non-starter for visitors). So before you start spending any money on making your site look good, ask yourself these questions.

Who exactly is my audience? That word “exactly” is in that sentence for a reason. You need to be specific about who you’re trying to reach. Not everyone who has a computer is a potential client. Some people couldn’t care less about what you’re selling. It simply doesn’t meet their needs. Don’t waste their time—or yours—trying to reach them. And think beyond things like age, income, gender, and education. Think about the problems they are trying to solve. Think about what it is that your products or services can do that will help them succeed. That’s what will get them to sit up and take notice of you.

Does my website make it clear what I do? Not everybody has heard of you. Your name may not be synonymous with the solution you provide. Let’s say you’re in the lighting and energy control business and your name is Acme Solutions. That name doesn’t tell anyone what you do. You need a tagline that spells it out clearly. It could be something like: “Southern California’s Lighting and Energy Control Specialists.” Or maybe you’d want to go with something like: “Southern California’s Leader in Lighting and Energy Control Products and Solutions.” Don’t make visitors guess. Spell it out for them. And, by the way, that will also help you get found on the Web.

Does my site have a compelling offer? You want visitors to do something when they visit your site. You need to engage them. But you need to give them a good reason to do it. You want people to reach out to you and tell you that they are interested in what you have to offer. Here’s an example. If you want to learn more about how to use your website to generate quality business leads, click here for our free eBook! This offer not only presents readers with something they may want—it also gives them the ability to access it right now (that’s why the link is there).

Does my copy describe the benefits of what I sell—or is it just a list of features? It may be important that your product is made of stainless steel, or that it has a 10-year warranty, or that it’s a sleek new design. But what’s more important is: what will it do for your audience? What problem will it solve? How will it help them achieve a goal? It’s OK to talk about the features. Sometimes they are important. But do it in terms of how your product or service will deliver benefit.

Do I have a system for collecting the information? It’s great to get people interested in what you have to offer. But you need to have some kind of system for collecting and sorting the information so that you can get back to these people. Remember: People who visit your site aren’t leads, they’re visitors. When they engage with you they become leads. But leads aren’t customers. You still have to convert them from interested leads to paying customers.

A well-designed website can be a powerful marketing tool. But remember that design is about more than looking good. Let’s talk about how to create a site that will bring you the leads and customers your want!

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