"Working on your website" can be overwhelming. It is something most of us, small business owners, do continuously. This work never stops as there is always more to do. And so you try to do everything you can until you just can't anymore. Then you give up and do not touch your website for a long time.
Website overwhelm happens to both, web professionals and proud armatures alike. No one is safe. A simple google search produces way too much information for one person to comprehend, let alone to implement. Unlimited marketing advice, tips and tricks, guidelines and strategies regarding website profitability and effectiveness. Lots of opinions, and no consensus.
The key to avoiding overwhelm is in keeping an eye on what's really important. On your website, everything has an effect, but some things are more effective than others.
So what should you focus on when it comes to your website?
Start with written content.
If you have done any online research looking to boost marketability of your website, you most definitely can across statements like "building trust with authentic images", "comprehensive branding and messaging", "attracting attention with stellar design". As a web professional, I have to admit that while all those things definitely make a difference when it comes to increasing a website's conversion rate (that is number of clicks on your "book now" button), the content must be there first.
Your website content is your base.
Your website content is your base. It's the foundation of your company's web presence. It must be solid. Which means providing necessary information your website visitors want to find. Only once the content is there, you should focus on images, colors or branding. Without the right content in place, your website is just a pretty web page. Nice to look at. But it won't bring clients in through the door.
Is content really important? Let me tell you a story.
A few years back, I made a website for a friend of mine who had a doggy daycare. I used to visit her business quite often. One day a woman came in. Turned out she was an out of towner, in need of a daycare for her pooch while she is occupied with work related engagements.
She found my friend's website on Google and called right away. The woman did not know I was the one to design that website. To her, I was just another dog mom, picking up my fur child. Her words literally changed how I do my work now. She said, my friend's website was not the first one she visited, but it was the only one to give her all the information she needed. It gave her confidence to hire that pet company.
Become your own potential client for a day.
So what information your visitors need before they pick up a phone and call you? The best way to find out is to get in your client's shoes. If you were dropping your dog off at a daycare for the first time, or hiring a dog walker, what would you want to know?
Having dedicated our lives to our businesses, we often lose touch with what the other side (our clients) feels like. You might have done hundreds of Meet & Greets. And so to you it's obvious that a client needs to have a proof of vaccines and a copy of their house key ready when you come. But they have no idea. It is your job to tell them.
The more people know about your service, the more likely they are to hire you.
Eliminate the unknown, as much as possible, and you are guaranteed to increase new client signups. Answer questions before they are asked, and your visitors will feel like they "know" you.And the more they know you and your business, the easier it is for them to trust you and hire you.
I often see websites that have lots of 'superficial' content, but a severe lack of basic one. Like paragraphs and paragraphs of text describing a wonderful atmosphere of a daycare, but not what's actually included. Do you provide food? Treats? Do dogs get to go outside? How many times? How many handlers are present? Do you send message updates?
The 'superficial' content is great and has its place but only once the base is covered. You can't 'sell' your service until you explain what you actually are selling.
Make a list of questions you hear the most. Then make sure your website answers them.
Look over your website through the eyes of a potential customer. For example, you are looking for a new dog walker. Which page would you go to? What informations would you need to see? What questions do you have? Is anything unclear?
Make sure that crucial information is easily located.
Don't hesitate if you have to list something several times on different pages.
Our company once made a website for a martial arts school. The owner received a number of phone calls from people wanting to enroll their kids. However, they all kept asking what time the class started. That information was indeed mentioned on the website, but apparently a lot of people kept missing it. Only after we listed class times on 3 different pages, people stopped asking that question.
We all think differently. When something makes sense to you, it might still confuse others.
Ask others for help.
Ask a friend for help. Make them go over your website as if they were a potential client. Ask them to point out what content is missing, what questions they have and what information they would need to see before they are ready to hire you or book a service. The answer might likely be not what you expecting.
Once your website has all the important information your clients want to see regarding your services and your operations, you should move on to improving your design and branding.