Dead to the audience you’re trying to reach. Lifeless and bland. Dull and boring. All about you and your company. A lifeless online brochure that squeaks “we we we we.” And impossible to find in the graveyard of hundreds of thousands of websites.
It’s time to bury the dead
These days people expect more from the organizations they want to work with. And before they engage with you, they’re going to look at your website. They want to know if you’re credible, if you offer value and how you have resolved the kind of problems or issues they’re facing.
Examine your content, your message, your images, the layout and navigation. Put yourself in your audiences’ shoes. If you were looking for the services you offer, what would you see? What is “the thing” you would understand about your company from the website? What would compel you to look further? What content or valuable information could you view or download? What content shows knowledge, expertise, credibility?
A website is a vital point of choice for any business, whether you’re reaching homeowners and individuals, or the VP of Sales for a major organization. Studies have shown that it takes many “touches” and interactions before someone is willing to raise their hand and say “I’m ready to talk about what I want.” Many of those interactions are online, nearly invisible to the website owner.
Create life instead
A new movement is afoot to bring life to websites that are dead and dying. To create engaging interactions with potential customers or clients. To generate interest and keep interest by delivering information of value, not by selling. It’s dubbed inbound marketing. It integrates essential strategies to:
- have your website be found by those seeking what you offer
- offer audience-focused information and content for the visitor
- track those who have found your site and connected
- create a continuum of contact with those who have expressed interest
Tying into the tactics, technology and analysis that create an inbound marketing program are the essentials of an optimized brand. By integrating the core elements of your brand into your website, you are fulfilling on your brand promise and creating more power in your brand, at the point when people are choosing who to engage with.
A website that is alive, growing and blooming offers:
- An engaging message and persona that people will notice and remember
- A visual layout and navigation that make it easy to find what they’re looking for
- Content that will help the visitor understand the value provided by the organization
- Valuable information that can be downloaded and shared
- A tone and persona that is tuned for the audience, free of acronyms or stuffy language
- A clear call to action to take the next step in engagement
When your website is dead, it doesn’t communicate. The website must be an expression of your brand, who you are and the value and context in which you work. But it also must be created for ongoing interaction with the audiences you seek to reach. Not a summary of your goods and services, or a description of what you do. Not a passive, online brochure.
When your website is dead, it’s an online, static brochure. Most websites created three or more years ago are likely still boring, lifeless, possibly hard-to-read online brochures. Now it’s time to create a website that draws people in, keeps then interested and informed, provides value and inspires them to return again and again. If you’re not doing that, your competition is. They will be drawing in the customers and clients you didn’t even know were out there.
It’s not flash and bling
That doesn’t mean you have to incorporate all the latest bells and whistles … lots of movement, crazy graphics, pop up views or spinning photos. Your purpose is not to overwhelm people. Be clear and straightforward, presenting your value so it’s interesting, informative and easy to follow.
Test your credibility first
Learn more about how to bring your website — an essential point of choice for your brand — to life. First, download our website guidelines for credibility, compiled from a study by Stanford University. This will give you a quick snapshot of where you are now.
- Do you have analytics installed to track who is coming to your site and what keywords they’re using? (Google Analytics is free) A dead website provides no information to the owner.
- What do people see when they land on your home page? If someone didn’t know about who your organization is and what you offer, would it be clear to them when they see your home page? If it’s confusing at first glance, your website is dead.
- Review the content and language on your site. Are you providing information of value to the web visitor? In their terms? Or are you just describing your products and services with lots of “we”? A website that’s dead is one that doesn’t talk to the viewer, in their language, to answer their questions or concerns.
- Is information broken up so it’s easy to scan? People scan websites and read brochures. Your website should have short sections of text, subheads, lists and bullets, links to further information to break up long copy. A dead website is long sections of small text, with no breaks. A dead and buried website is long sections of text in small fonts with a black or dark background.
- Is there a clear next step in your navigation or page layout, or a call to action on each page? If your website is dead, it doesn’t invite interaction or response, but expects the viewer to figure out what to do next.
How did you do? Has your website gasped its last breath? Is it going pale? Or is it already in rigor?
Breathe life into your website
Engage your viewers. Track your traffic. Understand how people are searching. Provide value. Give us a call toll-free at 866.363.4433 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk further about a website that invites engagement and response. One that is alive and growing. A breath of fresh air.
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