In the modern business world, your website is an essential marketing asset that can be directly tied to your business’ revenue growth, especially if you’re a local service company. Long gone are the days when a website would have been an optional addition. But, just tossing up any old site on the web isn’t going to cut it.
It’s important to remember that your website is a means of communicating with another human and it’s typically the first impression you give off. We’ve built thousands of landing pages to generate local leads for our clients across North America, so we decided to analyze what has really impacted conversion rates over the years.
In this post, we’d like to take a look at how you can humanize your website to make it more engaging and effective, and ultimately help drive more business.
Before we talk about the steps you can take to make your website more effective, let’s talk quickly about SEO. Yes, despite its tremendous power, the tactics used to improve a website’s SEO performance can be damaging to your conversion rate.
The risk here is turning your website into something that’s designed solely to impress search engines, rather than serving your customers or new potential customers.
Sure, it would be ideal to rank in the number one spot for many of your targeted keywords. But that’s only half the battle. To turn that traffic into customers and then into revenue, you need a website that converts.
And, in the process of trying to tune your site for SEO, you may have lost track of some basic elements that can help your site turn visitors into customers. What’s the point of all of that traffic if you aren’t able to convince those visitors that they should work with you, or make it hard for them to get in touch with you?
As you read the tips below, keep in mind the goal of properly serving your human visitors. You can still work on SEO, of course, but it shouldn’t be your only motivation when making website decisions. A balance between SEO optimization and the human touch is likely to lead to excellent results.
This first tip is a great example of what could happen if you focus only on SEO. If it’s search rankings that you care about above all else, you might not put much thought into the images you select for your site. This kind of thinking would ignore the experience a human visitor is going to have when landing on one of your pages.
According to MDG Advertising, 67% of online shoppers rated high-quality images as being very important. Your images help you build trust, especially if you offer a service where you’re in the home of a customer. It’s important to let them know who you are and put a face and name to your company.
Is the image relevant to what you are trying to sell? Does the image convey professionalism and attention to detail, or is it a poor-quality stock photo? Put some time and effort into sourcing and selecting images for each page.
For a business that wants potential customers to pick up the phone and call, it’s imperative that the phone number is displayed prominently above the fold. This is not the time to be picky about design – just place the number in a bold color and large font at the top of the page. If you force site visitors to search for your number, they might just give up and head over to the competition. Make it as easy as possible for them to call and chances are your phone will ring more often.
Perhaps nothing plays up the human element of your site better than testimonials. Using the actual words of satisfied customers will go a long way toward convincing visitors that they should give you a try. With glowing reviews displayed throughout your site, it will feel as though the visitor is talking with many other people who are singing your praises.
Of course, to display testimonials, you actually have to collect these reviews from your past customers or clients. Be sure to ask for a testimonial after each sale or project, so you can pile up the good ones and have plenty to display on your pages. Also, while you aren’t going to highlight your negative reviews, those comments can be useful behind the scenes for improving your business model. Take criticism seriously and work hard to correct what may have gone wrong.
This point gets back to our earlier discussion on SEO. From an SEO perspective, the quality of your writing doesn’t matter much. As long as you include some important keywords and phrases, you can get away with mediocre writing for search purposes. But that isn’t going to get the job done as you try to turn visitors into buyers.
The writing on your website is going to present your business to the world. What do you want it to say? Are you capable of turning the thoughts in your head into words on the screen? If not, hiring a professional writer may be your best bet. If the words on your site aren’t doing their job, all of your other efforts will be for naught.
These days, one of the key pieces of a human-friendly website is tailoring the design to mobile use. Most of your site’s visitors are going to be using a mobile device, so it only makes sense to present them a version of the site that will render properly on a phone or tablet.
If your site is hard to navigate on a phone, you might as well not have a site in the first place. Fortunately, if you’re starting from scratch, having a mobile-friendly design is basically a requirement for any developer or website design tool.
If you have an existing website, check to make sure that it is meeting the best practices for mobile-friendliness, including page load speed. You can do this easily with free tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and ThinkWithGoogle’s Test My Site Tool. This will ensure that your website is above par, and will also uncover any critical updates that you may need to make your site faster and more effective on mobile.
If your current website is not suitable for mobile traffic, this upgrade is one of the single biggest improvements you can make.
Matt Buchanan is the Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer at Service Direct, a technology company that offers local lead generation solutions for service businesses. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and is also the founder of RestorationEze.com. He has 15+ years of expertise in local lead generation, sales, search engine marketing, and building and executing growth strategies. He is known for his brutal honesty delivered in a way that ultimately motivates people to improve and grow