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    3 Simple Ways To Make Your Website More Effective
    The Vault

    3 Simple Ways To Make Your Website More Effective

    January 2017

    There are, like, a billion websites on the world wide web today.  I’m not trying to be dramatic or cutesy in how I say that.  In 2014, as confirmed by internet research giant NetCraft, the number of active websites officially topped 1,000,000,000.  That’s a lot of websites.  And with numbers like that, you can be sure there are at least a couple hundred (or thousand) in your niche alone.  These numbers should not to scare you, but rather implore you to work to increase the effectiveness of your site and rise above the competition.

    Years ago, if you were introduced to a potential client, you gave them your rehearsed 30-second “elevator pitch” and handed them a business card.  If you’d made a good impression, they’d hopefully call you sometime down the line.  Times have certainly changed.  Today, the Internet is quite often the first point of contact for potential customers.  You still have an elevator pitch, but now you need to deliver it lightening fast and in a visually pleasing way.  Capturing your audience’s attention is far more difficult.    

    Here are 3 simple suggestions for increasing the efficacy of your website:

    1. Remove the clutter.

    Experts say you have about a minute to capture the attention of a new website visitor and get them to contact you, but just five seconds to communicate what your website is about and who it is for.  5 seconds! If your website doesn’t immediately hook your target audience, you’ll lose out on leads -- and money. It’s that simple.

    To ensure you’re being as clear as possible, have somebody who doesn’t know what you do navigate to your homepage, and ask them to describe what your website is about after spending just five seconds on your page. If they can’t do so accurately, you need to be more clear.  There are businesses out there that provide this service, often for free.  Do a search for “internet user testing services” to find out more.

    If you find your website is a bit ambiguous, consider using a tagline to clarify your mission, replacing generic language with specifics, and replacing stock images with images that actually communicate your core mission (as opposed to just taking up space and making things “pretty”). Also use this audit opportunity to evaluate if links are working, plug-ins are loading, and everything is running smoothly.  Nothing drives away a potential customer faster than a slow moving website.

    1.  Keep it simple.

    There are an unlimited number of website enhancements (flash, for example), but a clean, sleek site with fast response times and a simple interactive element is your best bet.  Clutter your page up with too many distractions, and you’ll lose the attention of your visitor.  Opt for simple navigation that allows visitors to quickly access the areas they need to satisfy their questions about your business.  Tabs like About Us, Services, and Contact Us may be all you need.

    Regarding your Contact Us page, make sure it’s up-to-date and contains multiple ways of contact.  The days of putting up an email address and hoping for a lead are long gone.  You must list all contact methods -- phone numbers, email addresses, social media links, and even your physical address with Google map link-- to increase your perceived legitimacy and encourage people to contact you.

    1.  Sing your praises.

    Customers are looking for experienced professionals to handle their business.  It’s not enough to suggest you have a good education and some credentials under your belt.  You have to show it! To that end, put badges from professional organizations, including awards you’ve won, front and center on your website.  Display positive customer or reader testimonials, as well as logos of publications you’ve “featured in”. This allows customers to know immediately that you’re a trusted professional, the exact one to handle their needs.

    Take some time during the remaining post-holiday lull and tackle your website.  Competition is fierce.  Be the one who stands out in the crowd.

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