We know that every Jane and Joe is going to pop our name into Google before they swing into our shop for a visit, buy our product, hire us for a service, invest in our venture, or convert in any way as our customer. We know because we ARE Jane and Joe! Think about it. What is the first thing you do when you come across a problem or question. Ten bucks says you’re whipping out your phone to consult Dr. Google.
With 70-80% of people researching online BEFORE visiting a small business or making a purchase with them (Blue Corona), it should be no surprise that the new “business card” is digital brand presence. When someone hits that precious search bar to look you up, you bet you want to offer the best first impression possible. So, what is the NUMBER ONE thing you need to show that you have a viable and legitimate small business? To start, it’s a website.
Your website is the central hub from which you build the branches of your digital brand presence. As such a critical foundation, it is indeed your brand’s most important platform. Let’s dive into the top qualities your website needs to build street cred with customers. After, I’ll pull back the curtain to share how I implement these must haves not only for clients, but in my own business as well.
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TOP 7 QUALITIES WEBSITES NEED TO BUILD CREDIBILITY
Your URL is a huge credibility touch point. Straight up no one is going to take you, your business or your brand seriously if you do not own your domain. Your URL should also be included wherever possible across your brand identity design. It needs to be clean and professional. If you’re plastering a super long "yattayatta.siteprovidername.com/mysite" all over everything, not only does it look silly, but it tells anyone seeing it that you’re not 100% in the game.
No matter how striking or beautiful your website design is, if your visitor doesn’t understand who you are or what you’re offering within about 3 seconds of hitting your page, chances are they will bounce. Designing your website around your identity is key, so tune in to the top portion of your home page. In this slice of premium “above the fold” real estate, you have the power to communicate exactly who you are AND build your business.
First, use a clear, succinct headline to communicate who you are or what you do. Next, support your main headline with a subheader, positioning promise or short description that clearly communicates what you do, what you offer or what problem you solve.
If you missed coining that amazing positioning promise for your business in three words with us back in blog 02, grab this freebie worksheet:
3. Call-to-Action (CTA)
Next, want those genius business building brownie points? Be sure to coin your headline/subhead so that you can pop a CTA button below it. If you have a customer land on your site for the first time, what is the #1 thing you want them to do!? Maybe you’d like them to join a mailing list, join a membership, sign up for a free consult, make a purchase with a killer coupon code, schedule an appointment, donate to a cause… Whatever your answer, go for gold. This is your primary CTA, my friend.
One of the top mistakes I see a lot of small businesses make is using a “learn more” or “about us” primary CTA. While these informational CTAs are sufficient for building brand awareness or leading your visitor to the next step in your funnel, it kills me to not see this primary conversion opportunity used to its potential. It’s like saying to someone who walks through your door for the first time, “Hi! Nice to meet you. This is me. This is my place.” [end of conversation]. It's a one sided conversation just about you and a completely LOST opportunity for immediate engagement. Instead, use an action oriented CTA that can build your business in one click.
Now, secondary CTA’s can also be used within your homepage and throughout your site. These lower profile CTA’s are more ideal for sharing information and inviting visitors to learn more. Secondary CTA’s could also be point of entry buttons to access specific areas of your site or for specific members of your audience to access certain information.
Now, depending on your industry and niche, offering free content pieces and lead magnets like checklists, free worksheets, workbooks, case studies, etc. is an awesome strategy for increasing your conversion clicks across CTA’s. For example, in your primary CTA you could offer a free workbook to entice visitors to subscribe. Whatever the piece, ensure it is relevant to your general audience and solves a direct need or problem they have.
Laying out the yellow brick road for your visitors is all about creating intuitive, visible navigation. It is also a huge indicator for bounce rates. If users are confused and don’t know where to go, they'll give up and bounce. Take the extra mile in making sure you have a clear, efficient navigation menu. That goes for menu content as well. If you’re a product-centric business, having a search bar at the top is a great tool for your visitors too.
Showing proof is essential as we work to establish credibility, trust and street credit with our audience and customers. Be sure to incorporate compelling customer testimonies, any awards, “as featured on” publicity highlights, etc. in your site. Likewise, be sure to complete your Google business profile. Not only does this help your site’s SEO health, it sets up the opportunity for others to post reviews. Good business leads to good reviews. Good reviews lead to building more business.
Connect, connect, connect! Your businesses website – whether you have a brick and mortar or are strictly an online venture – is your home base. You would never build a house without a door. Likewise, a visitor should never have to hunt around to find out how to connect with or contact you. Be sure to incorporate a “Contact” menu in your top nav bar. Present your social icon bar in premium locations within the headers and footers of your site. Take it a step further and offer an easy contact form within your page(s) for customers to reach out right then and there.
7. Professional & Responsive
With your key website anatomy strategies in place, your site’s design must also be polished and professional. Image quality, use of colors/fonts/styles consistent with your brand design are critical. Hit up blog 05 if you’d like a little help with flushing out a DIY logo and brand identity design.
Likewise, content is king. Your web content needs to be readable, to-the-point and visually engaging. Typos will not do you any good so if you haven’t already, be sure to invite Grammarly.com into your life!
Last but not least, did you know that 52.2% of all worldwide web traffic for 2018 was generated through mobile devices (statista)? This is up over 50% from 2017 and you bet it’s not slowing down. Hands down, mobile-responsive web design is a must for your business if you want to be taken seriously.
PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN
If you are in the throes of planning a new website for your business, and you are not a web designer or programmer, there are plenty of amazing platforms to choose from… enter the overwhelm. Friend, I have SO been there. Now, I promised to pull back the curtains before wrapping this article, so here we go.
Before I set out as a newbie freelancer back in 2011, I worked in corporate positions managing, maintaining and copywriting for multiple big brand, global websites. I knew the strategies, could find my way around code, but mind you, I was not a web programmer. When I dove in to DIY a website for my own business, all signs pointed to Wordpress as one of the BEST platforms for building a website (and it still is!). At the time though, most Wordpress templates were basic blog frames. So even though my business model was not centered around blogging, I started with a Wordpress site anyway. What I ended up with though was not pretty. I just didn’t have the time to research, fiddle, test and figure out which plug-ins to add or how to even make them work. I was also a new mom and my work hours needed to be dedicated to fulfilling billable client work. I found myself not building or using the Wordpress site to it’s potential. A year into my new business, the site I started with was not for me, was not serving my business and certainly didn’t build any street credit! Lucky, this was also around the time when “drag and drop” website builders hit the market… and I found Wix.
Cue infomercial music, right? Oy vey, I promise I’m not here to sales you! At the end of the day, the Morgatize mission is to lead small businesses in creating remarkable brands. In order to be remarkable, we have to work smart. Working smart, means using tools that can help us work more efficiently, not harder. For me, Morgatize, and many of my clients, having a Wix Premium site has revolutionized our business, work model, website overhead and overall efficiency. What do we have in common? We are all driven entrepreneurs, not web programmers and Wix is our secret weapon. I’m sharing this story today out of sincere hope that it can help you up your business game or find the confidence to launch your business dream.
With our Wix Premium websites, my clients and I are able to:
Own our domain with email, hosting, technical support and invoicing tools built into our cost without additional plugins or subscriptions
Design and maintain our sites without touching a line of code, unless we want to
Create mobile responsive sites with the help of 100’s of templates and custom plug and play design elements
Run a blog, art store, e-commerce store, video courses, online business scheduling, member only pages, video or music streaming (and so much more) all with built-in tools
Design, send and manage digital campaigns and CTAs with built in CRM, email builders and form managers
Collaborate together on building our businesses with this jammin’ platform
This is just our short list. So, if you related to any of the painpoints in my story today, I truly couldn’t recommend a better website platform for your business. Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it. Dr. Google will tell you all you need to know 😊
Get excited. Take the leap to launch your small business website with Wix. I can’t wait to see your brand soar!
SNEAK PEEK: I believe in you and how much this platform can help your business SO MUCH that this February, I’m launching a new, FREE video course called The Morgatize Brand Academy! This course will walk you through defining, building and launching a brilliant brand strategy and stunning Wix Website for your small business. Needless to say, there will be oodles of support (just like the first half of this article) coming your way… but we’ll be getting more specific with how-to tutorials and step-by-step strategy implementations. I promise there is so.much.more in store!
Next up in the DIY Brand Discovery Blog series, we’ll dive into understanding the keys to building customer loyalty and recognition. Keep with me. I will see you there.
Brand Discovery Blog Series:
[You're Here!] 7. How to DIY Brand Design: Your Most Important Platform
9. How to DIY Brand Design: Top Titles Roundup
10. Exclusive Brand Showcase: Stay Tuned!