7 Essential questions to ask yourself
Nicola Dibb Associates have been working with several clients recently helping them to either update and refresh their existing website or designing for Organisations that have not had a website before.There have been lots of interesting discussions with our clients along the way in our role as content writer and designer that I want to share if you are thinking of updating your website, completely redesigning it or even developing a site for the first time.
1. Does your home page convey in a few seconds what your business is about?
Your website needs to Clearly answer “Who we are ” and “What we do.”
With so many Organisations working in Construction, your home page needs to describe what you are all about so that each visitor knows immediately they are in the “right place.”
Steven Krugg sums it up in his best best-selling book, Don’t Make Me Think. If visitors can’t identify what it is you do within seconds, they won’t stick around long.
Your homepage description needs to be snappy and focused on your audience, specifically speaking to them in their language. Make sure it is not too ‘corporate’ but also not too flippant or informal.
Make sure you clearly outline your ‘value proposition’ so that clients stay on your website and are not tempted to navigate away to your competitors.
A recent Architect client of ours had a slider of images on their website together with a lengthy description of their services. We have re-written the content into a more logical flow and updated the homepage with a brief but engaging description of what they are all about.
Think about creating a ‘says what it does on the tin’ strapline which will go on to enhance your brand across all your PR and marketing collateral. Think: Simple but effective.
2. Does your website reflect you or your Organisations personality?
Ask yourself what are the three words that reflect your business or what words you would like people to use when they are describing you. Do the images and content on your website reflect these words and, therefore, your ‘brand’?
The ‘voice’ (or tone) of your website needs to reflect your brand values and principles.
On a website redesign we have carried out for a Project Management, QS and CDM consultancy, we used their recent staff and client surveys to extract genuine feedback for content on the ‘About us pages’. By using this unique raw material we were able to really reflect their best attributes as noted by their very own customers.
3. Do the images and photographs on your website do your business justice?
Pictures of real people are automatically categorized as important by our brains and are studied in detail. If you have a blog, Linkedin profile, Twitter account or website, people want to see the face of the person communicating with them. In this way you can build trust and engagement far more easily.
With all the websites we have worked on we encourage the business owners to spend time talking about their people, giving a personal touch, using decent photographs. This gives a personal touch to an otherwise faceless organisation. People naturally want to see the individuals behind a company. We always recommend that our clients invest in a good photographer and get some great authentic photos of their staff in action.
A good example of this in practice I saw recently (not one of ours!) is Architects www.broadwaymalyan.com
Some other interesting facts on images I have seen recently include:
a) 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco) [Tweet this stat!]
b) 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco) [Tweet this stat!]
c) 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company. (Source: Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab) [Tweet This Stat!]
4. Is the content engaging yet professional?
You’re a business working in construction but that doesn’t mean boring content! You need to strike a balance between being chatty and engaging and being professional.
Remember this is a website not a sales brochure or bid document. The tone of the writing needs to be concise and conversational and always remember – less is more when creating website content!
You need to recognise and solve your visitors problems. Ask them questions and make compelling statements about your value proposition.
We worked on a recent website for Sayers Commercial who offer dispute management solutions for the construction sector. Although a potentially ‘dry’ subject, we drilled down to their client proposition and the key messages. Hence the ‘hook’ on the home page is “Got a potential contractual dispute on your hands? Speak to us first to save yourself time and costly legal fees” and empathy is created in the subsequent description of the offering.
5. Have you worked out what you want visitors to your website to do?
Make sure your home page will entice visitors to dig deeper and engage further with your Organisation.
What is your website’s ‘Call to Action’? Do you want visitors to ‘read more’ or ‘send an enquiry’?
Think about this when discussing with your website designers.
One of our clients, a fire protection company, wanted the ability for Main Contractors to send tender enquiries through the website so we set up an enquiry section enabling large documents and drawings to be sent.
Our Architect client wanted to promote their land offering and free viability studies so we designed the content with opportunities on every page to ‘click here’ to contact us.
Don’t forget to make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch with you and your team. Be visible, accessible and friendly.
6. How will you keep the content up to date?
If you are technical enough and have the time then you can update your website yourself by ensuring your designers build in an accessible Content Management System.
However, if you would rather concentrate on the operational side of your business, you could appoint your website designers to update your site for you. After all – they are the ones that built it and know it inside out!
We are apointed by one of our clients, to ask them every month for news articles, write up content and post on the website, ensuring it is always as up to date as possible. We will also give them blog ideas and scopeout the content of those for approval.
7. Don’t forget your testimonials!
If you are thinking of a holiday and someone recommends a Hotel, what is the first thing you do?
If you said you check Trip Advisor, you are within the 80% of consumers that are more likely to believe other peoples view on things than the marketing ‘blurb’ of the Company that is selling you something.
Testimonials on your website are really important. Your customers saying how good you are is worth so much – don’t underestimate this. Get good quality ones and always attribute.
Take a look at NDA’s testimonials here. Please get in touch if you’d like a chat about how we can help you with your website.