Elephant in the room alert.
My home page design stinks.
It stinks because I’m not a graphic designer.
Thankfully my first year plus in business has kept me so busy the project I had worked on to redo my website with a designer fell by the wayside. But a lot of my business comes through word-of-mouth referrals and repeat business so my website stinking is not my main concern.
But if you’re a small business who wants more customers, or an association or chamber looking for new members, your homepage can’t stink.
Does My Homepage Content Stink?
I’m going to stick to what I know best: content. So here’s how you know your homepage stinks from a content perspective. Ask yourself:
Does my copy read like a college entrance essay?
Don’t use highfalutin’ words, even if you know what they mean. Keep it simple. Tell your potential customers’, or prospective members’, how you can solve their problems in the simplest of terms.
Otherwise, you’ll only confuse them and let’s face it, no one wants to feel confused.
Does my copy read like my 5 year-old nephew wrote it?
Casual is good. A distinct tone is wonderful.
Adherence to basic grammar rules, if you want people to give you money, is still absolutely necessary.
Is it obvious I am a disenchanted English major who always wanted to write the great American novel?
Wordiness is just as bad as words that are unintelligible or words that can only be decoded by NASA engineers.
Do I mention clearly what I do and where I am?
You’d be surprised how many people use pat (aka meaningless) industry words to describe what they do.
Also, while many of us do business on the Interwebs, letting people know where you are means you’re less likely to get a call in the middle of the night wondering if you’re open.
And please…don’t advertise events without telling us where you are. You may assume your audience knows “Columbus” but there are something like 22 “Columbusses”, “Columbi,” “Columbus” (whatever) in the nation and who knows how many others in the world.
If my lack of fact checking is bothering you, Google it and leave the number in the comments.
Does my tone fit my brand?
This post is lip-smacking sarcastic for me, but it’s not a complete departure from my blog’s tone. I’m casual in my own business writing. That’s how I prefer it but I was an Econ/Poli Sci major so if you want dry and erudite drivel, I can do that too, but it’s not me. So I don’t.
If someone hires me, I write in their tone, not mine.
You have to think the same way on your website. Don’t choose a tone for your site that’s different from who your business is. It will only confuse people when they go from reading your social media and content marketing posts to doing business with you.
If your homepage design stinks get a graphic designer (and then get me one too) but if your content’s not up to snuff – if it’s not attracting your ideal audience, or getting them interested in what you have to offer, if it doesn’t convey why they need you and convince them they should’ve called yesterday, your content isn’t working hard enough.
Think of me as a personal trainer for your words.
That’s where I come in.<Queue my dramatic theme song. Something akin to Wonder Woman but without the 70’s disco beat.>
I’ll whip them into shape and make sure they’re doing their jobs. No cutting corners, just getting you more business and more interest.