Websites are containers for content. They’re a magic combination of design and programming that deliver words and images to visitors. That’s the whole idea. So here’s the question…
What should you put on your website?
What content works best? What’s the worst? This post covers a bit of both. Here are four things to put on your site and a few things to remove ASAP.
Right now as you read this, someone, somewhere is researching your services. They’re looking for answers, deciding who to contact. 57% of buying decisions are made before the prospect contacts a salesperson.
If your site doesn’t answer their top questions quickly, they will look for the answers somewhere else.
Your website must answer their questions. Marcus Sheridan is the champion of this approach, encouraging all of us to live by these words:
They ask. You Answer
It sounds simple, but it takes guts. Ask yourself, how many of these five questions are answered on your website?
Marcus answered these questions on his site, and he’s attributed millions of dollars in sales to these pages. He has the analytics to prove it.
Those are the five most common questions, but what Marcus really wants is for us to listen to our audiences and answer their specific questions.
Honest and transparent content is the greatest sales tool in the world – Marcus Sheridan
If you have a search box on your site, then you have a tool for listening. As long as Site Search is setup in Analytics, you can see what visitors are looking for. You can also see what visitors aren’t finding.
We call this the “Report of Broken Dreams” because it shows the ways in which your site is unsatisfying to your visitors. Here’s how to check it.
If the exit page was the search results page, then the visitor did not find what they were looking for. Either your search tool is broken or your visitors are telling you something: put more of that information on your website.
Here is the “Report of Broken Dreams” for a travel website, showing that visitors searching for “discoverer” are not finding what they’re looking for.
Real photos. Not stock photos. The faces of the people that work there. Your people are unique to your company, so they’re a differentiator. Show them off by building up the team bios in the about section. There are benefits to both traffic and conversion.
If you’re a small business, here’s where you have an advantage. You can be more personal, more human.
Big companies are always trying to look small, and small businesses are always trying to look bigger. Really, all businesses should just be more human.
Your site shouldn’t look abandoned. Put a face on it. Be a person.
Why is your company in business? What is your purpose? What do you believe? What are you opposed to? What got you started? Why does this stuff matter?
This is your story.
No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. – Theodore Roosevelt
Your story lets people connect with you on a deeper level. It’s why they clicked “About.” So put your passion story on your website. Put it on the about page and if possible, use video.
Now that you’ve put the good stuff on your site, time to get rid of the bad. Here are three things to NOT put on your site.
It’s a container, but watch what you put in it. Fill it with things your audience wants and your visitors will reward you with low bounce rates and high time on site.
Andy, are you saying that my company’s website should tell people what the issues are with our services?
Any thoughts on pop-ups? The mantra has been, “people hate them, but they work.” Just read a post from one of the worst offenders who now says don’t use them. Though, he’s flip-flopped in the past.
Andy, you are the master! Love all your knowledge and truths!
I like Tip 3.2 “get rid of testimonial page” and sprinkle them throughout the site. I’ve peppered my GMB 5 star reviews on my pages and that seems to work out well.
Glad to hear it, Neil. That’s how it’s done! Get that good stuff out of the pages that people rarely visit and into the pages where they can help the most. We’re doing this for our site now.
Ideally, every single page has a testimonial!
Great advice we will surely follow it.
Excellent post! This can actually be used as a site audit tool – it’s that concise and specific. I understand what you’re saying about team member pictures but it scares me when I look in the mirror – I don’t want that to happen to potential customers!
Very interesting topic and indeed good points to explore. #1 point is really important but I love the #2 point most. I am now thinking of adding a search section on one of our website and will see what our targeted customers are searching for so that we can create more useful contents on those topics. And adding team picture is an awesome idea and being a startup company, I am going to implement this tip ASAP on my business website.
Thanks for sharing such helpful and unique tips.
Nice list. A honest user focused right to the point is always approach is always best. You have a limited time to make a first impression and sell yourself to a visitor.
Just thank you, thank you, thank you. We are about to revamp CWC’s website, and our Creative Director came to me the other day and quoted this article directly. We’ll be sprinkling the testimonials throughout!
I’m glad this one was useful! Yes, put your testimonials everywhere. I’m sure you have a ton of them, Mare!
You hooked me with your title and I was not disappointed! Thank you for sharing great practical tips that my company can use right away!
Yes, it’s kind of a click-baity headline, but I’m glad to hear that we lived up to it… Thanks for stopping by, Maria!
good info but what is wrong with tesimontials?
Nothing is wrong with testimonials. They’re excellent “social proof” and they’re great for your marketing! But people won’t see them if you put them all together on one page. It’s much better to get rid of that page and put testimonials throughout your site.
Make every page a testimonials page, Damar!
I always love your newsletters. Thanks, Andy.
Thanks for dropping by and for the kind words, Pamela!
Yeah, by adding pictures of You and Your Team also helps to build trust and credibility. best example is mashable.com and moz.com about page. Thanks for writing it up. awesome.
Moz does a great job with this, I agree. They also do something interesting with the mascot, Roger the robot. A drawing can’t create the same emotional bond as a person’s face, but I still love that little guy…
Great post, Andy. One of the first questions I ask when reviewing a website: “Is it IMMEDIATELY clear what this company does?” As obvious as this sounds, it’s amazing how often the answer is No! The next two questions I like answered right away are “What’s in it for me?” and “What should I do next?”
This is a great point, Zack. As a general rule, the most visually prominent thing on the home page should be the shortest version of the value proposition possible.
It should be obvious what the company does in a split second! If there’s any question, give the home page the “squint test” Just stand back, squint your eyes a bit and see what you see…
Seems so obvious when you say it, but I haven’t regularly checked what people are searching on-site, and then built pages for those searches. Thank you Andy. This is on my to-do list now. 🙂
Absolutely, Matt. Check the Report of Broken Dreams!
Great advice, Andy. And a great post title that sucked me in! Thanks for sharing!
Yes, that title includes all four of the four U’s: unique, useful, urgent and ultraspecific. It might be the first time I worked them all into one headline. It’s hard to do!
I know it’s basic, but I used this tip to illustrate how much ineffective traffic our paid search provider is driving to our site. And also discovered there’s something offputting about how we communicate a product ID has changed because customers searching for those products exit the site at a much higher rate.
If you’re paying for traffic, these lessons are even more important. If at all possible, don’t buy any traffic until you get these things on your site!
What are your thoughts?