Just like your shop front or your business card, your website gives people an impression of your company. The main difference? Your website has the potential to be seen, not just by people in your area, but by millions of visitors from all over the world!
But what should be on a business website? Before you can convert all those visitors into paying-patrons, you’ll need to answer the questions customers will ask before buying:
- Who am I dealing with?
- What can they do for me?
- Why should I choose this company, over the rest?
- Does this brand share my values?
- What will I get for my money?
- How do I make a purchase?
In this post, we’ll cover what to put on your business website and what common mistakes to avoid. Let’s dive in!
Who are my customers dealing with?
Even if you run a small business, your customers will probably know you by a few different names. For example: your company name, brand name, the name of your product, your own name, your domain name, your social media handles… The list goes on.
A common mistake is to use different names in different places. It confuses customers. That’s why we recommend using a consistent brand name everywhere. Even if your site represents one of several brands in the same company, your visitors need one name to deal with.
Example: Fanta is a brand owned by Coca Cola. On the Fanta website, all you see is the name Fanta. Coca Cola is mentioned but only in footer’s legal text.
So, which name should be on your website?
The obvious choice would be either your company name, your brand name or the name of your product. Whichever is most widely recognized by your customers. If you’re working as a freelancer, then it’s important to decide early on whether you’ll trade under your own name or create a company name for your business.
Using one name (and one name only) will bring clarity to your branding and make it easy for customers to pick you out, even in a crowded marketplace. A strong brand gives a clear impression of what you’re about and stops customers getting confused with different names so they can focus on your product or service. And that’s what you want!
How does my business help its customers?
Customers who already know your brand don’t need much introduction. New visitors do. When a potential customer lands on your website via a referral link, you need to give them a good reason to stay and explore your site—and fast!
Website welcome messages might have been cool in the 90’s, but the internet and its users have moved on. Modern websites meet visitors with short, easy to understand pitches when they land on the homepage.
This intro is basically your elevator pitch (you’ve got the time it takes to get to the next floor to pitch your business). In as few words as possible, it should explain what you do and why that’s a win for your customers. Keep your pitch to a max of three lines (in a normal font size) or about 50 words. You can always elaborate on your about page.
Customers mostly care about what your product can do for them. Yes, they’ll probably love hearing about your adventures as an entrepreneur, especially if you win them over with a great product or service first. But at the start, they need to know you’ve got this under control. Remember, this part is less about you, and more about how you can help this new customer.
Why should customers choose my brand over others?
No matter what business you’re in, we’re all part of a wider industry where other companies are offering the same service. There might be lots of photographers, make-up artists, accountants, or yoga instructors out there. But none quite like you!
So when you write about what you do, be specific. Don’t sell yourself short by using generic language. You’re more than a yoga instructor or a makeup artist. You’re that one yoga instructor who is super down to earth and offers courses for mother and child. Or that make-up artist who can make anyone look and feel like a superhero.
See where I’m going with this? If you only mention your brand name or job title, your visitors won’t get to read about all the quirks and qualities that make you special. Those quirks are important because they make you stand out and give visitors a reason to choose your company instead of someone else’s.
Not sure what to write? Time to break out those 5-star reviews! Here are some other ways you can win-over visitors using social proof:
- Share testimonials from previous clients
- Add customer reviews of your product
- Back-up your claims with research, facts, and statistics
There’s an added bonus here, too. Customers who pick you for the things that make you special will understand your values and appreciate what comes naturally to you. They’re more fun to work with and more likely to come back and buy from you again.
What are my company’s values?
Every business has its own identity. The more clearly you can express your identity, the easier it will be to attract the right customers. Take Ben & Jerry’s, for example. They’re more than just an ice cream producer. Their values shine through in everything they do.
The thing about trust is: you need to earn it before customers will feel confident parting with their cash. People want to know who they’re doing business with. If they can relate to your core values, then you’ll have a chance to connect with them on a deeper, emotional level. Customers who’re proud to deal with your company will make confident purchases and are more likely to tell their friends about you.
You’ll always do great because you believe in what you do, and your customers know they’re dealing with someone who cares. It’s a win-win!
A common mistake is to pick a funny name or a pun and build your brand identity around it. Puns are great but your identity needs a more solid foundation. Think of your brand as a person: that person might make a pun, but their identity is much more than that.
Why should customers take my business seriously?
You know you’re good at what you do. You work hard, you deliver great work, and you know customers are making the right choice when they pick your company. But when potential customers arrive on your website, they don’t know all this yet. Your website is their first impression!
Would you be confident using a company if there was a spelling mistake in every second sentence on their website? Most visitors will flag this as unprofessional. It looks like the writer doesn’t care about their reader—and if they don’t bother to correct spelling mistakes, why would they bother delivering great service to their customers?
When it comes to using proper grammar and punctuation, getting the basics right is essential if you want to make a good impression. These details make the difference between a professional company website and one that looks a bit sketchy.
With so many free writing tools out there, you don’t need need to be a word-nerd to perfect your website text. Ask that friend who always wins at Scrabble to help you out or hire a professional proofreader. Whatever you do, stick to the 11 golden rules of writing website content.
What do customers get for their money?
Customers look at two main things when they judge your offer: how much is it and what do I get? Laying out your services is like creating a menu for your company. Whatever business you’re in, a clearly structured pricing page will help your customers out.
Make your offer clear. What’s included? What’s the price? And what extras are available? Even if you usually quote per-project or provide customized services that don’t have a set price, you can still indicate your price range.
This won’t just help your customers, it’ll save you time as well. When you have clear pricing on your website, any customers who contact you will already be aware (and prepared to pay) your rates. You won’t waste time with customers who’re in a different price bracket and, instead, you can invest more effort in the people who’re likely to buy. Your pricing page can also help you avoid any misunderstandings about what is and isn’t included.
For any business owner, doing sales can feel a bit awkward. Especially if you’re just starting out! Because you don’t want to seem pushy, you might end up writing vague product descriptions or an unclear pricing page. But there’s nothing pushy about a description of what you offer and its price. Giving potential customers a clear offer is part of running a business.
How can customers buy from me?
A new visitor lands on your website, they find out more about your products, and they love what you do. Ta-da! So, what happens next? How do they become a customer? How do they make a purchase or get in touch with you?
Your website should explain all of this, clearly and simply, on one page. Because becoming a customer should be the easiest thing someone can do on your site!
This step will vary from business to business. If you own a restaurant, for example, visitors need to be able to make a reservation on your booking page. If you’re a freelancer, you’ll want customers to request a quote using your contact form. Selling online? Each product page in your online store should make it easy for visitors to buy.
Which page does the heavy-lifting on your website?
If you don’t have one yet, now’s the time to create a page that focuses purely on converting visitors into customers. This page is for people who’re already interested in buying your products—and want to do so as quickly and as simply as possible. Once you’ve created your page, make sure to link to it from every other page on your website. That way, when a visitor goes from “just browsing” to “ready to buy” they can go straight to the right page.
Every small business will have slightly different information on their website. And how you present it can be the reason a visitor chooses your company over the competition. But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel! Use these business website content tips as your starting point and you’ll be well on your way to having all of your customers’ questions answered.
Not sure if your website is clear enough? Show these basic questions to a few people. Ask them to look at your website and point to the texts or images that provide the answers. If your testers can find important info quickly and easily, your customers will too!