Written by: Kaitlyn Smith
Drop your bad web habits in 2017 – use the new year as a way to update your online presence with these five resolutions:
1. Remove and Replace Stock Photos on Pages
Does that photo of a field full of daisies capture your brand’s identity? Unless you’re selling air freshener, probably not. Stock images often miss the mark in terms of accurate brand portrayal. You can’t build a unique and memorable brand with images that could have been used for competitors or a completely different service. Photos that have nothing to do with your services or image might improve a page that is otherwise visually unappealing, but they aren’t doing your brand any favors.
Reevaluate your website and ask yourself what message each photo on your website is sending. If the photo isn’t contributing anything of value, remove it. Stock photos might seem like a good idea because they are often the most affordable option, but if you want to build a more attractive website and brand identity, you need to invest in more creative visual components. Custom images are a great way to personalize your website and capture your brand’s identity. Having your own custom images doesn’t have to break the bank, either – depending on the level of expertise, you can find a photographer who fits your needs and budget. Similarly, you can create your own custom graphics or hire a graphic designer to make your website more visually appealing without the help of irrelevant stock photos.
2. Add One or More Lead Generating Element
Chances are, people visited your website because they were looking for specific information. Whether it’s your business hours or information on services offered, if a consumer can’t find what they are looking for, they will probably go somewhere else to get it. Make sure that your website is easy to navigate by conducting usability tests or reviewing analytics and highlight the information that is likely to be most important to your website’s visitors. Adding educational content to your website is a great way to build credibility and generate new leads.
You’ll generate the most leads by creating high-quality content and updating or adding to it frequently. You can post your content and diversify your leads by frequently updating your social media accounts, blog, as well as any other mediums you use. If you’re relying solely on email marketing to generate leads, though, it’s time to diversify your approach. Email campaigns are common – and commonly ineffective – lead generators. Almost 80% of marketers say that their email open rate is below 20%.
Consider your consumers when creating content—some people prefer to seek out information by watching videos, while others like to read informative articles.
3. Create and Commit to a Blog Schedule
Creating a blog that is rarely updated almost defeats its purpose. Old blog posts might still generate leads and build some credibility, but that credibility can be easily lost if someone realizes that your last blog post was from 2014.
Posting to your blog sporadically throughout the year is better than not doing it at all, but it is not going to impress anyone. If your blog is popular enough, its readers will expect it to be updated regularly—perhaps even on a specific day. Following a schedule will give you more credibility because it shows that you take your blog (and, by extension of that, your brand) seriously.
4. Spice Up Your Call to Action
A website without a call to action is like a joke with no punchline. Regardless of your industry or brand, your website should achieve some goal, whether it’s acquiring new clients, selling products or signing people up for your newsletter. Your call to action needs to convince customers to do something, which means that making it effective isn’t going to be easy. Your call to action should be associated with a clear benefit or solution to the consumer. In some cases, describing a problem could be useful, because it allows you to present your call to action as a solution. Most of the time, though, all you need is a selling point.
Your website will most likely have more than one call to action, so make sure they are all clear, distinct and easy to find. Multiple calls to action or calls to action that are too similar to one another could make consumers overwhelmed or confused.
5. Include What You Are and Why You Do It
Let’s start with the first part – the what. I’m always amazed by how many SMBs fail to clearly and visibly define what they are on their homepages. For example, a wealth management firm might highlight all the services they provide – estate planning, investment management, retirement planning, etc. – but nowhere will they define themselves as a wealth management firm. While it might seem obvious to you what you are, a first-time visitor is unlikely to spend much time on your site if they can’t easily label your business.
As for the why, listing your products or services will only have so much impact on a potential customer. To really inspire action and differentiate yourself from the competition, you need to find a way to communicate why you do what you do. In doing so, you can reveal the passion and commitment that goes into your products or services. You can add this in the form of a written blurb on the about page, but you can also add this element through taglines, videos, marketing campaigns or a number of other methods.
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