Most likely, your website is the hub of your marketing.
Here’s the thing: if you have a bad home page or landing page, you’re not making a good impression. When your home page sucks, you make it easy for customers to click over to your competitor’s website and throw marketing dollars down the toilet.
A good website is more than a standing brochure: it provides information, collects sales leads, and (hopefully) converts prospects into clients. How can you tell if your website stinks? Below, I’ve listed four common content problems.
Problem #1: Over-saturated with keywords (keyword stuffing).
Yes, we want to rank high on Google and we want our website to be search engine optimized. Too bad many of us have forgotten the definition of moderation. Stuffing your content with keywords does two things:
- Turns off human site visitors and does absolutely nothing to convert them into customers.
- Makes your site look spammy. The search engine spiders will pick this up, and it may hurt your TrustRank (your credibility with automated bots).
Fix #1: Write like you talk, and (try to) be natural.
Yes, by all means use your keywords. Just don’t go overboard--keep your writing natural. If you find that you have too many keywords and are frustrated because you can’t get them all into one space, relax. Google ranks pages, not sites: create different pages to focus on specific keyword categories instead of jamming them all onto your home page.
Problem #2: Too much info (or not enough info and too many words).
It’s a hot debate: long vs. short home page content. While there doesn’t seem to be a clear winner, I feel comfortable reading less content on the home page. Maybe it’s just me, but for some reason I just don’t trust web pages with sales copy that scrolls down for eons. (Why are they trying so hard to convince me?)
Fix #2: Less is more.
When too much information comes to me at one time, I feel overwhelmed. I don’t know about you, but I visit websites because I want specific information. If I have to scroll down a page and sift through tons of content, I become frustrated and get annoyed; when I don’t get answers easily, I go somewhere else. When you keep your *quality* content short and sweet, visitors get what they want: answers. Because you helped them, they’re happy and more likely to stick around for a while.
Problem #3: Generic, “play it safe” content.
Too often, small business owners try to appeal to everyone--they put on a marketing hat and start writing content the way they think they’re supposed to. In their attempt to sound “official” and “professional” they end up sounding boring and generic. They lose what appeals to their target audience: their voice.
Fix #3: Shock and awe.
Ok, ok. So shock and awe is a little extreme. But, you do want your home page content to stand out and get visitors to sit up and take notice. (Trust me, the same old just won’t do it for you.) It’s common knowledge that people do business with people they like and trust, but I’ll take it one step further: people do business with people like themselves. Website visitors want to relate to what you’re saying and they want to relate to you. The people you want to work with (your target audience) sound like you. So quit trying so hard to write “right.” Take the monkey off your back: write like you talk. Your website customers will thank you.
Problem #4: Hiding your USP.
In journalism, this problem is called “burying the lead.” Your USP (unique selling proposition) is what distinguishes you from your competition and is why customers buy from you in lieu of a competitor. If your customers can’t tell you apart from your competition, you’re making things hard for yourself. Too often, we hide what makes us THE choice. We bury our USP down the page or leave it off the home page entirely.
Fix #4: Display your USP prominently.
Recently, I needed a dry cleaner (oh joy) and had a choice to make: there are around 15 cleaners in my small city. Fortunately, I was looking for an eco-friendly cleaner and only one of my 15 options offered this service. Had they not explained this on their home page, I might have gone elsewhere (left with no other green options, of course). Other ways cleaners differ: specializing in wedding gowns, restoration, laundry delivery, or having an in-store laundromat. Find out how you differ from your competition and feature it prominently on your home page. Your point of difference is why people purchase from you.
Long story short:
While this is by no means an exhaustive list for making your home page content the best-ever, it’s a start to improve what you have. When it comes down to it, your home page is your first introduction to new clients and a large component of your marketing: use it to put your best foot forward.