Earlier this week I had the pleasure of sharing some comms tips with a local networking group. My session was titled '5 ways to improve your customer communications'. I asked my audience to take away the tips that applied to them and spend 30 minutes making small changes to make a big impact.
Making small changes to your website is one of the five areas I talked about.
If you walked into a shop and were faced with stacks of untidy clothes from last season or piles of junk that you had to sift through to find what you wanted, what would you do? It’s highly likely you’d walk straight out of the shop and into one with a more pleasant and straightforward experience - right? The same applies to your website.
For most service-based businesses your website is the equivalent of a shop window. It could be the first touchpoint a customer has with you. It’s crucial to make it easy for people to find information and create a positive and professional first impression.
Green lights are good!
Adding keywords and tags to your pages is one way customers will find your site and decide if they’re in the right place. I meet a lot of people who add content to their website and don’t bother adding keywords to their pages (their excuse is usually that they don’t understand what the red, amber and green lights in WordPress mean). If you’re guilty of this, you’re instantly falling behind your competition. Green lights are good. Do some research or ask for help on how to go green and start filling in the keyword fields. It really is as simple as that!
Google search uses keywords to direct people to the most relevant content. Once the reader has reached your site, they may then use the search function on your site (if you have one). If you don’t add keywords to your pages, your internal search function will return no results. What would you do as a customer if this happened? You'd go and find a site that can provide the information you’re looking for.
Having captured your customer on your website, another way to make them stay there is to provide…
Menus that make sense
Short and sweet is the key here. Use one simple word to describe each of your high level menus, e.g. About, Contact, Team, Services. There’s no need to add extra words like About Us, Contact Me, Our Team etc. Your aim is to keep the design clean and direct your customer to the section of your site quickly and efficiently. Additional words will just hinder the process and make your menus look unwieldy.
Once they have found the relevant menu…
Keep clicks to a minimum
Time is precious. Nobody wants to spend ages digging down menus and hidden pages and to get to useful content. Someone browsing your site should be able to get to information within 3 clicks of landing on your homepage (if not less). More than that and they’ll get bored and leave.
Try this little exercise
Imagine you’re a customer. Set yourself a couple of tasks to find information on your website and count how many clicks it takes you to get there. Finding an email address, a price list or terms and conditions are good tasks to start with. How could you simplify the journey?
Create links between pages
Providing hyperlinks between pages is good practice. It not only keeps the customer on your website, it’s also beneficial for SEO e.g. if you find this blog useful, I would highly recommend reading Spring Cleaning your Communications for some more useful hints and tips. See what I did there?!
Keep it current
Take some time to review the information on your site and get rid of anything that’s old or out of date. Check all contact information is up-to-date. Do you list old employees and their contact details? Have you added any new recruits? Make it really easy for people to get in touch.
Look for old news articles or blogs where the content is out of date or has been superseded by another article. Your aim is to make the user experience as simple as possible. Old and incorrect information will only confuse.
The complexity of analytics platforms can be overwhelming, but once you understand the dashboard your website analytics can provide insight to help you improve the way you communicate with customers. If you’re stuck with Google Analytics, I can highly recommend Google Digital Garage for free training.
Take a look where your traffic comes from. If organic search traffic is low, you need to do some work on those keywords and add some fresh content to your site to make Google happier! Your analytics will indicate what pages people are looking at and how they move around and eventually leave your site. If a particular page crops up frequently under your Exit pages, take a look at the content and ask yourself why. Could you improve the content to make people stay longer on your site?
Those are just a few of the many comms tips I have whirring around in my brain! I hope you're able to take at least one thing away and spend some time making a small change to create big impact. If you'd like to receive more of the same hints and tips direct to your inbox, sign up to my monthly newsletter here.