Author Archives: Marie Allen

An Interesting Fact About Websites…

facts image

by Marie Allen

Website users like facts! Getting people to stay on your website long enough to pick up the key information about your business is hard. Most people stay on a website for less than 3 seconds. The interesting thing is, you can win them over with……interesting facts. Not blah blah marketing messages but hard data.

Recent research by the Nielsen Norman group shows that website users skim past lines of marketing-oriented text, but home in on statistics and hard facts. They give the example of the BMW website which provides thorough information on safety. For instance, it explains exactly how their “Head-Up Display” means that you take your eyes off the road for less time. Website readers really liked this because it is not just a selling point. It is interesting and makes you think.

Eye-tracking studies show that website readers are actually attracted by numbers in content. Why? Because numbers usually represent facts.

So check out your web content in the light of this research.

Is your content mostly promotional? Or do you give people interesting background information and stats about your services and products? Information that makes them want to find out more about you and what you offer.

And if you would like some help to make your website content more interesting get in touch here. 

Get the Basics Right! Using LinkedIn Effectively for Small Businesses

 

Construction worker laying foundations

Construction worker laying foundations

 

By Marie Allen

LinkedIn recently celebrated its 10th birthday!

LinkedIn has long been seen as the foundation of our social media presence. It is the first place people will look online to find out more about you .

It has certainly changed a lot since the early days. For a start it now loves images (oh yes!), and it has lots of cool, new Facebook-like features.

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How to Create an All Action Website!!

GOAL!!

By Marie Allen

There are lots of websites out there that look good and give you lots of great information about the company they represent. But many of them don’t grab their website visitors and get them to do something as a result of visiting the website. If your website doesn’t do this you are losing a lot of potential clients.

Your website visitors will be thinking “Oh yes, I like the look of that company. I’ll come back later.” Then they will go to the next website on their search results list and, after a few minutes, they will probably have forgotten all about you.

So how do you transform your website into a place where visitors want to engage with you? A place where they actually want to take the next step, either to get in touch there and then, or to sign up for more information.

There are two essentials to creating a website that actively engages your visitors:

1. Contact Me!

Display your contact details in a prominent place on your website. Don’t just rely on a Contact Us page. Website visitors are lazy! The easier you make it for people to find your contact details, the more calls and emails you will get.

Ideally include them in the top right of your header so they appear on every web page. As a minimum show your phone number and email address. Twitter and Facebook details can also be included. Different people prefer different methods of communication so, the more ways you offer to get in touch, the more clients you are going to capture.

2. Create an Irresistible Sign-Up offer

A Sign-Up Offer enables you to obtain the email addresses of website visitors by offering them something in return. You provide something of value to them if they fill in a sign-up box with their email details.

Email addresses are precious. People do not give them away lightly. Capturing email addresses gives you direct access to the in-trays of potential clients. Use that access wisely and never abuse it. Use it to raise awareness of what you do and to help people by sharing information that will be of value to them.

Do this and you will build up a list of interested potential clients, who have a connection with you. When the time is right for them to buy the services or products that you offer, you will be top of their list.

How do you create an opt-in offer that your website visitors will love?

Here are a few ideas:

• Free consultation
• An e-book
• An e-course
• A hints and tips sheet
• A video training session

Your product does not have to be difficult to produce. An e-book can be a pdf packaged in a nice cover. Look online for low-cost e-book cover providers. An e-course can be a series of e-mails sent out at specific intervals. A video training session can be filmed using a home video camera or smartphone (tip – buy a microphone to ensure acceptable sound quality.)

Do invest in an email marketing system, such as Aweber, Mailchimp or MadMimi to manage the distribution of your product, and your ongoing email marketing. As well as making your life a lot easier, these will also give your subscribers that all-important sense of security regarding spam and privacy protection. Some email marketing services offer a free plan to start with.

And do package your product nicely. However useful it is, it also needs to be attractive. Give it a catchy name and a nicely designed logo to grab the attention and maximise your signups.

Lots of lovely-looking websites out there don’t do these things! They don’t have clear contact details displayed and they don’t feature an email sign-up. Or if they do it’s a feeble “Sign up for our newsletter,” rather than an irresistible offer!

See your website as an active marketing tool, not a passive “brochure site,” and you will have taken one big step ahead of the competition.

The Seven C-crets of a Successful Website

By Marie Allen

Everyone wants to know the secrets of a successful website! Here we go……..

1. Compelling Copy

It’s not the look and feel of your website that converts visitors to clients. It’s what you say and how you say it. Compelling copy that grabs the attention and persuades your readers to find out more is the sine qua non of a successful website.

2. Credibility

The number one turnoff for a website is a lack of credibility. Can your website visitors believe what you say, and trust you? Testimonials are vital here. Include full name, date and ideally a photo. Also make your contact details credible, including a landline phone number (mobile numbers look dodgy) and full postal address.

3. Calls to Action

There is no point in someone liking your website if they DO NOTHING as a result. Have calls to action on every page. “Call me now on …” or “Sign Up Here” for a free product or service to entice  them to part with their precious e-mail address.

4. Camera Time

Include photos, or even better video, to give personality and credibility to your business. People buy people. The more they feel that they know you and can trust you, the more likely they are to do business with you.

5. Competition – Check It Out

Make clear to your website visitors what you offer that the competition don’t. Make your website different from your competitors, in a good way! Personal service, fast turnaround, expert knowledge, your business values, your offers and promotions – whatever it is, make a big deal of it on your website. Don’t be shy. Remember you are just one of many on their search results list.

6. Content Updates

Forgotten by so many in the rush of everyday business life, but soooo important. Nothing will turn people away quicker than out-of-date information on your website. It looks seriously unprofessional to have last year’s training courses still listed on a web page. And as your business changes keep your website updated, so that it always presents a fresh and interesting image.

7. Crystal Clear Contact Details

The purpose of your website is to get people to make contact with you – right? So make it easy for them!  As a bare minimum have your phone number and e-mail address on every page, ideally top right of your header. If you’re on social media networks publicise those too – Facebook, Twitter. LinkedIn. Different people like to get in touch in different ways so make it easy for them, whatever their preferred method is. That way you will reach the widest possible audience.

Put these seven “C-crets” into practice on your website and see the difference they will make to your web sales. Even just one or two will have an effect!

Need help? How about a free Top Three Turnarounds website review to get you started?

Or just get in touch for a free 10-minute chat about how your website can make you more sales.

 

 

Give Your Website a Little Lurrve this Valentine’s Day

Heart-shaped box

 

By Marie Allen

Have you given your website any love and attention recently? If not, it could be in need of a little TLC. Here’s my 6-point checklist for a loved and cared-for, super-successful website.

1.  Have there been some changes to your business since your last website update?

If your answer is “Yes” make those updates now, so that your website truly reflects your business as it is today. 

2.  Are your contact details clear and easy to access – visible on every page? 

You never know at what point in their web journey your prospects will want to contact you. Don’t risk losing them at that critical point, just because your contact details are hard to find.

3.  Have you got photos of you on your site? 

Photos (and even better video!) make your business human and encourage your prospects to make contact with you. Use them on your home page especially. Don’t limit it to a little photo on your About Us page.

4.   Check that your website’s text is written in clear and simple English

The average reading age in the UK is 12. Make sure that your website text is written in short sentences and paragraphs using simple language. Avoid acronyms and industry jargon.

5.  Is there a Call to Action on your website?

“SIgn up here” for something or “Call Me Now.”  Ideally have a signup box on every page and offer something of value in return for their email address – an e-book, a free consultation etc. Once you have their email address they can be on your mailing list for ever! 

6.  Finally, check your links

Check that the links on your website still work. Also it is worth checking that any links to your website from other websites, blogs and social media are still valid too. Especially if your website has new pages or the layout has changed recently. You could be losing a lot of traffic!

Giving your website a little love and attention in this way will pay big dividends in attracting website visitors and converting them into clients.

And don’t leave it too long before you pay your website some attention again! Put a Love My Website Check  as a once-a-month fixture in your diary. You will definitely reap the rewards. 

If you need some help with your website updates check out my FREE Top Three Turnarounds website review and my website makeover packages.

Totally Trustworthy Websites

By Marie Allen

What makes website visitors who like your website, and like what you have to offer, close the webpage and go elsewhere?

Often it will be because they are just not sure that they can trust you. After all anyone can set up a website and tell the world how great they are at what they do.

So how do you make sure that your website is credible, professional and totally trustworthy?

Who Are You?

Your potential customers want to know about you – People Buy People.

Include a photo on your website and in your About page give them an impression of you as a real person, as well as giving them all the details about your expertise and your professional background.

What Do People Say About You?

Testimonials are SO important on your website. Some experts say that, if all a website had on it was a bunch of strong testimonials, it would still be a very effective website! Keep them short and relevant and include full names and company names, and if possible a photo. Or even better have video testimonials!

Where Are You?

Your contact details are absolutely key in establishing trust:

 

  • Publish your full office address on your website
  • If you are a limited company publish your Company registration number
  • Publish a landline telephone number (a mobile number gives the impression of a fly-by-night operator)
  • Publish an email address that matches your website name e.g. marieallen@webclarity.co.uk not an internet email address such as @googlemail or @btinternet. This shows that you have an established web presence.
  • Make sure that your phone number and email address are in a prominent place, ideally on every page, giving the impression of a well-established business, and making it easy for website visitors to get in touch

What Are You Saying?

Make sure that the content of your website is up-to-date and relevant to your target audience.

Nothing will turn people away quicker than out-of-date information on your website e.g. courses and events that are now history! Spelling mistakes are another huge turn-off. Both these things make you look unprofessional and will send website visitors away.

As well as these basic content faux-pas, think about how your target audience will read your content. Is it relevant to them? Does it answer their questions? Well-written content that shows that you understand your clients’ needs, and that you want to help them, will go a long way towards gaining the trust of your audience.

So for a totally trustworthy website follow these guidelines, and watch your bounce rate plummet!

New Year, New Website?

By Marie Allen

As you gear up for 2013, a year of brand new business opportunities and exciting new projects, is your website up to scratch? Or could it do with a bit of a spring clean?

No, I am not suggesting for one minute that you need a brand new website every year! But a little bit of sweeping away the cobwebs and rearranging the furniture could well be in order. Three things to think about:

  1. Has your target market changed since you wrote your web content. Does it need a little updating to reflect your current business model and to attract the right clients?
  2. Are you offering any new services or have some of your older service offerings changed? Update your website’s text to reflect that.
  3. Could your website be doing more to bring in new business? Perhaps this is a good time to introduce a blog or an email newsletter:
            • Blog – great if one of your New Year Ressies is to make more use of social media (as you can use it to drive traffic from Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to your website) or if you need to improve your website’s search engine ranking
            • E-mail Newsletter – great for keeping in touch with current clients and for getting the word out to potential clients. Then, when the time is right for them to buy, your business is stuck in their minds because you have taken the trouble to keep in touch with them on a regular basis

Let me know what you are doing to breathe new life into your website this January!

Is Your Website Friendly?

By Marie Allen

The style and tone of your web copy is so important in getting across your business brand and values. For most small business websites that means writing in a professional way, but in a friendly, conversational tone, avoiding “corporate-speak.”

Writing in a conversational way means writing as if you were talking to a friend. When this is done correctly it is much more effective than formal writing, because it is more accessible and easy to follow.

And it puts across an impression of YOU, the real-life business person, not some faceless corporation. If you are running a small business this is crucial – people buy people.
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Don’t Make Me Think!

GET YOUR WEBSITE ORGANISED IN A WAY THAT MAKES SENSE TO YOUR POTENTIAL CLIENTS (SO THEY DON’T HAVE TO THINK!)

By Marie Allen

“Don’t Make Me Think” is the title of one of the classic books on web design, written by Steve Krug in 2006. Its premise is that website visitors are in a hurry and don’t want to have to spend time making choices and decisions.

Human beings are inherently lazy and if something seems difficult we are more than likely to ditch it and move on. Website visitors want to be taken by the hand and guided through a website to reach their desired outcome. They don’t want to be left stranded, unable to figure out what they should do next.

How do you feel when you hit upon a website that’s a bit of a muddle, where you can’t work out where to go for the information you are looking for? Where you get stuck in a dead-end and can’t find a way back to where you started? Annoyed? Frustrated? Websites like this are one reason why the Back key is the most used key on the keyboard!
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Six Secrets of Web Copy That Sells

By Marie Allen

When you are writing a web page the first thing you need to know is that no-one will read it!

Yes, contrary to what you might think, people do not read web pages. They scan them. Nobody (well, hardly anybody!) reads a web page from start to finish. When a website visitor lands on a web page they will be scanning that page for whatever word or phrase they are looking for. And if they don’t find it quickly they will be off to look at the next website on their Google search results list.

Web pages tend to be viewed in an F-shaped pattern. The website visitor will read the top few lines and the beginning of the lines on the left hand side of the page in detail, down to about the middle of the page, just scanning the text on the right hand side of the page. As they get to the middle of the page their eye starts to move even more swiftly across the text, skimming over it quickly. They will take a cursory glance at the text towards the bottom of the page, maybe focusing on the beginning of one or two lines on the left hand side. Typically anything towards the bottom of the page, especially on the bottom right, will not be looked at.
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