A website’s success can be easily determined by how well you can answer the question of what is the purpose of this website?
Maybe the goal is to have an official online presence – like a brochure or more informative business card. Maybe the website is to generate quality leads for your business. Or maybe it’s simply to drive sales via e-commerce. Whatever the case may be, the website messaging should be strictly aligned with what the answer to that purpose is.
Six Things to Consider When Developing Website Messaging
Get To The Point
Nothing will drive users away from content more than a wall of text. Your average user will spend 6-20 seconds on the homepage before clicking off to another page (if your navigation is on point) or bouncing altogether. There’s a reason that TL;DR is becoming a commonplace in online vocabulary. Good headlines, tight organization, and concise, well-written copy is essential for your readers and even SEO. Be sure you’re using an appropriate amount of sections with varying structure to make sure the sections are broken apart and the users can read comfortably. This includes:
- Short paragraphs
- White space
- Subheadings (H3 under H2 and so on)
- Numbered or bulleted lists
- Related images and graphics
Focus on the Visitor
When a visitor goes to your site to read, research, or shop, your site should anticipate those purposes and be able to immediately address them. The visitor is the center of your website messaging, not you or your company’s product or service. The site has to efficiently spell out the benefit to the visitor if they become a customer and guide them through the process to making that decision.
Define A Path
Just like navigation, hierarchy also applies to calls to actions and hierarchies. You need to guide visitors through the site with a clear path. Once a visitor arrives at the site, where do you want them to go? What should they do? How should they engage? The goal is to limit the opportunity for them to get distracted, lost, or worse – bounce out – by making the next step clear with obvious buttons and navigation. This is also why google analytics features neat reports like user flow.
No one likes online ads, but in this day in age has become a necessary evil for many brands. From a consumer perspective, they’re obtrusive, distract from their browsing, and overall provide a poor user experience. Google, Facebook, and even Apple are offering mobile-accelerated pages that will feature ad (and everything else)-free articles and ad-blocking browser extensions are consistently the top downloads in app stores. From a brand perspective, particularly news, journals, and content hubs, they pay the bills. The less ads they shove in your face or hide their content behind, the less people will visit them and the value of the ad space (or the site) will diminish. Writers, content producers, and server space cost money and have to be paid for somehow.
If you are considering offsetting some of your overhead with online ads, be careful and make sure it aligns with the goals of the site. Web users are exposed to thousands of ads every day and are starting to become less passive about their intrusion on their online experience. If you are going this route and don’t feel it will drive away potential customers, consider placing them on lower levels of pages, in newsletters, or in promotional emails instead.
Blogs are extremely powerful tools when it comes to engagement and search engine optimization. If you’re writing quality content often, you will drive more traffic to your site and have the opportunity to build relationships with your visitors. Just like anywhere else on your site, be sure to include a clear call to action on each blog post. It’s also good to keep visitors engaged by offering related posts, newsletter signups, event registration, or even free ebook/whitepage downloads. However you want to keep them on your site and further interacting with your brand, make sure the blog supports the goals you defined at the beginning of this article.
And speaking of engagement…
Social media sites are fantastic platforms for strengthening and growing new relationships with your site’s visitors. Offer visitors a chance to engage with you on whatever social sites you’re active on and offer them an incentive to do so. Do you have special promotions just for your followers? Do you run contests on your social media sites? This is an easy way for a brand to stay top of mind and even reach new people if the content you’re sharing on your social media sites are interesting and helpful.