When you originally set up your small business website, you probably had high hopes for it. Your own little piece of cyberspace was going to help you make money, refine your brand, and research what customers (and potential customers) really wanted from your goods or services. Skip forward a few months and your perception of having a website may have changed a little. Those witty and wise articles may not be getting many hits, and the cutting edge landing pages designed to drive sales to your door may be languishing in the trash bin of online searches.
Landing Page Problems and How to Fix Them
It’s useful to think of the first few months of a website as: Web Design 101. After that, the project title is more likely to become: Remedial Web Design 101. In other words, nobody gets everything right the first time. Some of the biggest potential blunders in web design involve landing pages, though, and landing pages can be the most important real estate on your website:
Exercise good traffic control – Visitors to your homepage should be able to navigate to more specific content easily via links that appear high on the page, eliminating the need for scrolling. This one’s important. The harder it is to find secondary content, the more visitors you’ll lose in the first few seconds of a visit.
Don’t fixate on your homepage – When setting up and cultivating links to your site, don’t funnel everything through your homepage. Product, policy and customer service specific queries should take visitors exactly where they want to go without a lot of hunting. You want to keep visitors on your site, but don’t risk losing them in the first five seconds by routing them to a generic introductory page. This is particularly true of product specific searches that should be directed to sales oriented pages that get down to business in the first sentence.
Make it perfect – Few things lose visitor confidence faster than poor grammar and typos. Sloppy execution may seem like a tiny detail, but to a potential customer it can represent a lack of professionalism that speaks volumes about the way you run your business. Make your homepage and major landing pages as pristine as you can manage.
Choose keywords carefully – Search engine algorithms are changing all the time, and so should your approach to title selection, targeted keywords (and phrases) and other search engine optimized strategies. Avoid black hat tactics that try to cheat, but use the system to your advantage.
Keep it classy – Avoid bright background colors, red print, and annoying blinking graphics that are the 21st century version of the “vacuum cleaner salesman” approach to selling. They will entice a few visitors and alienate the rest. Keep your pages classy. That means a white background (or at least light in color), with an easy to read font, and stylish but subdued graphics. If you think your site may be overdoing it with the eye catching extras, you’re probably right.
Improve your content – Where the internet is concerned, text is still king. Having good content drives traffic to your site and helps keep visitors around to check out the other things you have on offer. You may not be able to define great writing, but it’s a sure bet that you recognize lousy writing when you read it– and in that you’re not alone. When you add content to your site, make it as on-point, professional, and engaging as possible.
Keep your landing pages current – Broken links and a blog that hasn’t been updated in a couple of weeks is the equivalent of having a dusty window display with dead bugs in it. Keep your material current, and if you can’t maintain your site as regularly as you would like, make the content as evergreen as possible by removing date references. If you do have links, make them to content you control (and hopefully monitor), or to large, established sites that are stable. Don’t stop there. Check the links you do have periodically, and visit your site regularly to get a feel for the flow.