I’ve taken a lot of road trips over the years, and by now I know better than to stop at exits that have only one gas station. That’s because those gas stations have little or no competition, no motivation to keep things nice in order to draw in customers.
We’ve all been there: dim lighting, dusty shelves with expired goods, and a dirty bathroom located outside the building (which, of course, you have to request a key for).
I don’t know about you, but it only takes me a few seconds before I decide I’m not buying anything and walk out.
Just like millions of website visitors do every day when they land on poorly planned websites. In fact, research shows it takes us less than 10 seconds to decide whether to stay on a website or leave. Here’s a 4-point checklist to give you a better chance at getting visitors to stay.
1. Be clear about your positioning. Step one in showing visitors they’re in the right place is being clear about what your business does. Cut out meandering mission statements and long, fuzzy descriptions of customer problems or industry trends. These things may seem important, but remember—you’ve only got 10 seconds.
Get to the point about what you do, the types of clients you work with, what makes you different and how that difference solves a pressing problem for your clients. All in less than 200 words.
2. Organize information for the reader. Once you’ve bought your first 10 seconds, use the rest of your website content to add depth to your value proposition. But don’t get lazy about eliminating marketing puffery—you should be able to map each page to a specific stage of your prospect’s buying process.
Page titles should clearly show what visitors will find there, making it easy to get their questions answered. Questions like:
- Who’s behind the company? What’s their story? (About page)
- How does the product or service work? (Product or service pages)
- Do people in my industry use it? (Separate pages for verticals or target markets, if appropriate)
- Can I trust this company? (Resources page with case studies, white papers, blog and/or newsroom)
3. Make your website easy to read. Obviously, white text on a black background is a big no-no. It’s difficult to read, and it looks outdated. You should also avoid non-traditional fonts, which distract readers from your message.
Finally, make sure pages aren’t too text-heavy—again, 300 words or less is a good goal, since most visitors won’t read beyond the fold.
4. Put fresh content front-and-center. Informational content pieces are the juicy, eye-catching items that tell customers right away they’ve come to the right place. Fresh content gives readers information of substance and value, whether it’s a case study highlighting a client’s results, a white paper addressing a common industry problem, or a blog post with practical how-to tips for using your product.
Remember, freshness is key. While professionally written white papers and case studies have a longer shelf life, a poorly maintained blog or newsroom make your site—and your company—lose relevance.
You know you’ve got lots to offer. The trick is getting customers to realize it, and fast. Don’t miss your chance with a site that isn’t written with prospects in mind. Make it easy for them to see the value you bring, and you’ve won half the battle.
Want some tips on how to get better results from your website? Email me at racheltracy [at] oncallcopywriter.com